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Using Built In-Place or Pre-Built Fence Panels

There are three basic types of fence panel. Which you choose depends on your preferences, skill level, and available time.

Traditionally, fences are built in place. The posts are set, stringers are installed, and then boards are attached to the stringers. This method is by far the most versatile because it allows you to design your own fence and adjustments are easily made during construction. With a built in place fence, it is easier to adjust for posts that need to be shifted slightly or uneven section sizes dictated by changes in elevation or the presence of other landscape features. Board spacing can be varied and features such as flower planters planned into the fence. Building a fence in place is also the easiest method if you are working alone.

Fence Panel

Building your own modular panels is also an alternative. This is a great option for areas that are difficult to work in, such as steep slopes or where there a lot of bushes. It is also a time-saver since you can build panels while the posts are being set or the concrete is curing. Much of the versatility of a built in place fence is retained but because the panels are built, then put into place, you also gain many of the advantages of pre-assembled panels purchased from a home store or lumber yard.

Pre-built panels are a great time saver and can save you money if you are paying for labor. They are also a good choice if your access to tools is limited or you are unsure of your carpentry skills. On the down-side they are more expensive than the other choices and they limit the design versatility. Pre-built panels require precisely spaced posts, do not allow for variation in the fence layout and when used on a slope can only be installed in a stepped fashion.

No matter whether you choose to build your fence panels in place, assemble them yourself and install them as units, or purchase pre-assembled panels, each has advantages and drawbacks. These should be considered from the beginning of the planning process.

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