How to Install an Electric Fence




Introduction: How to Install an Electric Fence

For gardeners everywhere, the race to gather the harvest before animals do can be frustrating. Luckily, there is hope. Electric fences help provide a barrier around your garden that deter animals from being where they are unwanted and taking what is not theirs. Growing up on a farm, my family and I have always battled with the animals to gather as much of the garden harvest as soon as it is ready. Since we started using an electric fence over 7 years ago, we are able to protect our crops from animals, and gather much more of our crop than before.

Depending on the area of your garden, putting up an electric fence can be a breeze and can be completed within a few hours. I highly recommend have two or three people working on the electric fence because this will cut down the total amount of time it takes. Putting up an electric fence should only be done by individuals who have a solid understanding on how to use hand tools and a basic understanding of electrical wiring. With a few simple steps, you can protect your garden with an electrical fence.

Step 1: Gather the Materials

Before you can put up your electric fence, there are a few preparations you must do.

1. The very first thing you must do is measure the parameter of the garden. It is important to plan to have a foot space between the edge of the garden and any plants that are close to the edge. You will use this measurement to determine how much electrical wire you will need and approximately how many metal stakes you should get. 

2. Gather the necessary parts for the electric fence. They are listed below.

Materials Needed:
~Electric Fence Wire
~Electric Power Box (Select the best one that suits your gardening needs)
~Metal Stakes 
~Grounding Post
~Plastic Hooks (2 per metal stake)
~8 Round Plastic Rings and 8 pieces of wire approximately 24 inches long (Corner connectors)
~Sledge Hammer/Pile Driver
~Wire Cutter
~Gloves (Optional; not pictured)

          TIP : It is always a good idea to consult with an expert before setting up an electric fence for the first time. You can
                   find such experts at your local hardware store. 

Step 2: Install the Metal Stakes

The second step includes the metal stakes.

1) Lay out the metal stakes around the parameter of the garden. They should be spaced about three to five feet apart. Adjust to best fit your garden. 
      a) While laying out the metal stakes, you should also put two plastic hooks on them. These should be 4 and 6 inches away from the ground.

          TIP : The corner metal stakes will use the round plastic pieces instead of the plastic hooks. 

2) Once the stakes are laid out, use the sledge hammer and/or pile driver to drive the metal stakes into the ground. The type of tool you use will depend on the size of the metal stake and personal preference. 

          TIP : A pile driver is best for taller stakes and a sledge hammer is best for shorter stakes. 

Caution: Be careful when using a sledge hammer and a pile driver. They can cause injury if used carelessly. 

Step 3: Thread the Wire

Step three is all about the wire.

1) To begin, you will need to wind the wire around a post as illustrated in the first photograph below. 

          TIP : It is easiest to start on a corner post. 

2) Carefully unwind the electrical wire until the next post.

3) Thread the wire between the two prongs of the plastic hook. (See the second photograph below) Repeat this step until you are back at your beginning post. 

4) Once you are back at the starting post, use a round plastic piece and thread a scrap piece of wire through the round plastic piece. Next, thread the electrical fence wire around the round plastic piece (See the third photograph below.)  

          TIP:  If desired, regular plastic hooks may be used on the corner metal stakes but they need to be placed so the
          wire cannot come loose. 

5) Wrap the two ends of the fence wire together. You should have one single piece of electrical wire running along the parameter of your garden. 

3) Repeat this process for the second round of wiring. 

          TIP : It is easiest to start with the bottom layer of wiring and then the top layer. 

Step 4: Set Up Connection

Setting up the connection

          TIP : Most electrical boxes require an electricity outlet. Depending on your situation, the following step can be altered to
          your personal needs. 

1) Depending on where you decide to put your electrical box, hammer the grounding post somewhere nearby.

WARNING: DO NOT PLUG IN THE ELECTRICAL BOX! Plugging in the electrical box CANNOT happen until all of the steps are completed. There is a high risk of being shocked. 

2) With a piece of the electrical wire, connect the grounding post to the knob on the electrical box that says "Ground." (See the photograph below)

          TIP : Without the grounding post, the electricity does not have anywhere to flow. This helps complete the
          electrical circuit.

3) With a separate piece of wire, connect the knob on the electrical box that says "Fence" to the electrical fence. (See the photograph below)

Step 5: Inspect the Fence

Final check

WARNING: Make sure the electrical box is NOT plugged in. There is potential for electrical shocks. 

1) Walk around your garden and inspect for anything that might disrupt the current. This can include grass that is too tall or a stick that fell onto the wire. These items need to be removed from the electrical wire. 

Step 6: Plug in the Electrical Box


1) Plug in the electrical box. Once you plug in the electrical box, you will hear a small clicking sound. This means that it is sending electricity to the fence. 

TIP : Make sure you never touch the fence while the electrical box is plugged in. Always unplug the electrical box before
          removing items from the fence to avoid shocks.

Step 7: Summery

Congratulations on installing your electric fence! To ensure it is working, it is a good idea to check the fence daily for anything that can disrupt the current.  

Caution: Children should not be allowed around the fence without adult supervision. 

Now it's time to sit back and relax, because your crops are protected from unwanted animals. 

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    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    can the electric fence ground wire be connected to an existing ground rod. thank you joe


    11 years ago on Introduction

    One method of wiring is to make every other wire a ground. When the animal touches 2 wires it gets a shock. This does not rely so much on grounding thru the ground which can fail with some hoofs and frozen ground. It is simpler to wire and set up as the ground does not need to be insulated.


    Reply 8 years ago

    The ground rod should still be properly installed to get the full power of the charger,no matter what the grounding is around the Pasteur.


    8 years ago

    Everything was great in this description except it would have been better to describe the importance of a good ground rod. In order to harness the full potential of your charger you should install atleast three 8ft rods with the correct clamps. Also, you shouldn't mix the types of metals (copper grounding rod and steel wire) because this will cause electrolysis which will greatly lessen the shock and life of the wire due to
    corrosion :)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    well thanks for the instructions, but I just bought the charger and hooked one end to a neutral zone and the live wire to the entire fence...let me see how many of Bessemers drug dealers get onto my property now


    10 years ago on Introduction

    When I built my electric fence, I didn't know where to start. I had a friend help me.
    Its wasn't very complicated to build but it needs to be installed correctly, otherwise you'll run into problems.
    I found step by step site on 'how to install an electric fence' very useful and it provides good advise on the tools you need to build an eelctric fence that will last.



    11 years ago on Introduction

    oh! how interesting! you can see more about it here


    11 years ago on Introduction

    placing some of that bright florescent engineering tape on the hot wires will help to warn others of your fence.
    I cant count how many times i been shocked by an electric fence when i was a boy.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    There is a kind of "wire" called horse tape which is very visible, may
    warn off the animals. Just use one strand of this. See it at: or google for more.