How to Set Fence Posts in Your Yard

Laying out and installing posts for a fence in your yard is not that difficult if you take the time to make sure everything is straight and level. To set the fence post for a wooden picket fence:

  • Set stakes to mark the outline of the fence just outside the fence perimeter.
  • Attach string to the stakes and pull it tight to outline the location for the posts.
  • Measure the length of your fence panels and mark the location of the postholes. For our project we spaced the posts 8’ apart.
  • Use a posthole digger to dig each fence post hole to a depth of around 14”.
  • Cut the posts to match the height of your fence. The length of the cut can be found by adding the depth of the hole to the height of the fence panel. A miter saw with a 10” blade is the best tool for this job.
  • Set the fence posts in the holes.
  • Use a two sided post level to make sure each post is plumb.
  • Pull a string from the top of the corner posts to make sure all the posts are the correct height and the fence is level.
  • Pour concrete in the hole around each post and allow it to set to secure the posts in place.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information


  1. Hi, I used cedar split rail fence years ago at my grandparents house. I am now a homeowner and moved to the country and recently purchased this type of fence to set across a portion of my property for a few purposes, for landscaping and to partially block a view onto my house.
    My question, 20 plus years ago I do not remember if we used cement to help secure the posts or not. I was thinking we did not, maybe cause we thought cedar was long lasting and would hold firm withtout it. I have three sections to set up, that would be 4 posts to dig holes for. What do you think I need to do? use cement for the holes?
    Also this is a two rail fence, how deep should I dig and have barried the posts?

  2. I saw one of your shows where you were setting fence post in the ground and there was a product that came in two parts, when mixed and poured in the hole it would expand and be ready to work with in 15 mins. please let me know what this product is, I think you sais Homedepot. I have arthritice and this would be very helpful. Thanks guys, enjoy the show.

  3. No need to run a string to set the corner posts. Too old school and an extra step. Just set all corners using a 6″ Auger Bit and 30 lbs. concrete. Run your string then mark 7′ centers for a tighter /stronger fence. For a 4′ Convex, set the French Gothic posts @ 51 nches for the 4×4’s and 52 inches for the 6×6’s for the gate. Never allow pickets to sit on ground. Use a flat piece of lumber (2×4 or picket) that has the thickness of your desired space between pickets and ground. When your fence is complete, it should be 2 to 3 inches in from your property line.

  4. While we were not home. Neighbors two homes away from us dig on our property. Trying to find our property markers. The next day 2 young women told my husband that the neighbors 2 property’s down from us are building a waterline.. no one ask our permission to dig on our property.
    Don’t they need our premission to before they dig on our property?

    • Hi, Kathryn,

      Your property is your property, and that means only you should be digging on that property.
      The question is whether the neighbors knew they were digging into your property.
      With these matters, it’s good to open the lines of communication.

      Good luck,


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