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post and rail fencing guide

Post and rail fencing is ubiquitous with the countryside, but its uses far surpass the marking of agricultural borders – and what’s more, you don’t need a rural property to enjoy its countless benefits. So whether you’re a homeowner looking to enhance the aesthetic value of your property or a hobby farmer, we hope you learn a thing or two from this post and rail fencing guide.

What do we mean by post and rail fencing?

Post and rail fencing is usually the type of agricultural fencing we picture when thinking about fenced pastures or paddocks, but as we hinted, they don’t just belong to the farmyard – they blend in just as seamlessly in residential settings – not just acreage!

To define post and rail fencing, it’s a traditional form of fence made up of horizontal rails supported by vertical fence posts set into the ground at regular intervals. The most popular options are three or four railed, but you can also modify them to suit your needs, so two or five-railed fences are other alternatives. Having been around since the eighteenth century, it’s stood the test of time.

Subcategories of post and rail fence

Post and rail fencing is a general term that can cover several subcategories of fence, which are as follows:

Square cut post and rail fencing

Square cut post and rail fencing

It’s in the name – square cut post and rail fencing refers to any type of post and rail fence with rectangular timbers. Often they are valued for their clean and tidy appearance.

half round post and rail fencing

Half round post and rail fencing

Very similar to square cut post and rail, half round post and rail fencing features half-round rails and posts that are either round or half round. Rails are typically nailed into place and with the smooth curves, creates a comforting feel.

Knee rail or birdsmouth fencing

Knee rail or birdsmouth fencing

You’ll often see this type of fence demarcating public places and typically footpaths or car parks. Generally unobtrusive, knee rail fences are made up of short square posts cut with a V-shaped notch or “birdsmouth” to allow the square top rail to sit at an angle. Standard UC4 timber is often used.

Uses for post and rail fencing

A post and rail fence is the ideal choice for demarcating boundaries, whether fields, public footpaths, driveways or gardens, and this is due to their easy installation. Once erected, there is little to no maintenance, with all the rails slotting neatly into pre-mortised posts.

Their simple yet sturdy build makes them an accessible and durable choice suited to both windswept hills and exposed landscapes. Match this with their attractive credentials and you have a protective garden fence that will secure features such as flower beds, and looking stunning all the while.

If a rustic country vibe is what you’ve set your heart on, a humble post and rail fence can deliver it and some. This fence provides definition to a space, without obstructing views, brilliant for country sweeps and suburban sprawl alike.

Mix and match

Aesthetics aside, there is a lot to love about post and rail fencing and its versatility. This windproof fence can be painted or stained any colour to complement your home. Or it can be modified with the addition of mesh wire or extra rails to fulfil any agricultural need.

a post and rail fence in a field

Typical post and rail fence cost

The installation cost for this type of fencing can vary depending on several factors, including the amount of fencing required, materials used and the complexity of the installation.

On average, you can expect to pay a fence cost of £15-£50 per linear meter depending on the material. Or you could make things easier and use our handy fencing calculator to work out the total of your unique project.

DIY installation vs hiring a professional

DIY installation is possible for anyone with competent DIY abilities and will slice a bit off the overall price tag. However, professional installation is recommended for those working towards a widescale project such as demarcating crops. For smaller projects such as framing a garden, this undertaking will be more feasible.

How to install post and rail fencing

Post and rail fencing is either erected with morticed fence posts, which will slot into place with the rails, or with solid fence posts that you will have to nail into place. This particular method means that post and rail is suited for a run of fencing on sloping or uneven ground.

Fence posts can be secured into the ground with the trusty backfill method. This involves digging a hole to position the posts in and then backfilling that hole and ramming it down to secure the post. Pointed fence posts can be rammed directly into the ground using a manual post rammer.

Don’t fence yourself in!

Now we’ve arrived at the end of this practical post and rail fencing guide, I hope you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Post and rail fences are a versatile, durable and affordable option that works beautifully in both agricultural and residential settings. Approach it with an open mind and you’ll find the fence of your dreams.

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