668200 667400 667880 The best way to ensure your posts will stay sturdy and true for years is to install them at the correct depth and use a high quality concrete mix. See our recommendation for what depths we recommend digging for a fence post. Digging post holes is a necessary element of any fence installation. Here, we explain the simplest and most precise way to dig suitable post holes, as well as recommended depth and tools. 1.05m/1.19m 2.70m 667300 Timber Fence Post Instructions 667500 667800 Please note: we would not recommend installing fence posts without the use Post Fixing Mix

  • Measuring tape

To begin, we suggest digging the post hole so it is approximately three times wider than the fence post. For example, if you have a 3 inch wide post that you need to sit over 1.83m (6ft) in height above the ground, we recommend the hole size should be: 230mm [wide] (9”) x 600mm [depth]. This rule of thumb can be followed for all size posts (e.g. a 6ft high fence would require a hole depth of at least 600mm or 2ft). We do not recommend every post hole to be the same no matter the height of the fence post.

Download our Good Fencing Guide Brochure

Slotted Inter Post

  • Level


  • Hand shovel

If you are planning on doing DIY we highly recommend a post hole digger or a rabbit hole digger which is essentially a single shovel that has been designed to dig circular holes. The unique design enables the user to dig straight down to the ideal depth and keep the hole relatively narrow in diameter compared to a conventional shovel. Please Contact Us 667200 1.65m/1.79m

Top tip

Corner Post

How to dig post holes for your fence


How deep do you dig a fence post hole

1.50m Panel Height 2.10m

Which fence post to use


Timber or concrete posts

We strongly recommend before you start digging your fence post hole that you either check for any mains electrics or contact your utility company to mark any underground cables or hazards. Doing this also allows for you to reassess the fence line, layout and any positioning issues to make sure everything is exactly where you require it.

Safety first

For additional advice about the positives and negatives for both concrete and wooden fence posts, giving you a fair evaluation of each type see our blog covering the topic. 0.75m/0.89m 1.40m/1.54m 667220

  • Concrete / Post Fixing Mix

668500 2.40m Post Hole Depth Above 2.14m Why not use a local Jacksons Approved Installer to undertake the job for you? 667440 1.80m

  • Rabbit hole digger


  • Garden stakes

One of the common questions we get asked is ‘how deep should I install a fence post into the ground?’. Unfortunately, there’s no one fence post depth calculator because the depth of the hole is dependent on a number of factors including the height and type of the fence as well as the width of the fence post. Post Height 668800

Tools required

This blog is designed to help you with installing a fence post. We have official timber fence posts instructions that you can view by clicking the link below. End Post Download 668400 667330

  • Hammer

If using timber posts it is important to note that they must be set in either concrete or Post Fixing Mix on top of a minimum of 2 inch ballast/gravel. This is to allow drainage to take place between the post and the concrete. For the best results we recommend using rapid drying Post Fixing Mix. Always try to angle Post Fixing Mix slightly so it can shed water away. Use Heavy Duty Slotted Fence Posts Learn how to install a fence post in our installation video Jackhammer or Rotary Hammer. I’ve encountered dirt so hard that there is simply no other way through it than to go hardcore muscle. For those instances, an electric jackhammer can save the day. I’ve also found my way through uber soil using my rotary hammer and a “spade” type bit. It breaks the soil up just like a jackhammer will, but with less power and more maneuverability. You can rent either tool easily. Cutting than scooping Digging the hole involves more cutting than scooping. After cutting the straight walls of the hole, scoop out the loose fill from the bottom. The Bottom. Getting every fleck of dirt out of the hole isn’t really possible, so once I’m deep enough and have made the bottom relatively flat, I jump in and tamp it down with my feet. Trust me when I tell you that a hole bottom that is flat and free of debris makes positioning a post or tube significantly easier. And every inspector I’ve met likes to see nice, neat work. Once they start seeing sloppy stuff, they’re extra vigilant. In other words, if you can’t get the hole right, what else is a mess? The bottom line is that in order to build up, you have to dig in and dig down first. What it is A post-hole is more than just a hole in the earth. It is a shaft cut straight down into the ground to particular size in a particular place, despite all the root and rock obstacles between your shovel point and the bottom. It is also a heck of a lot of work, so I want to do it right the first time whenever possible. Check local building codes for post-hole size requirements Check local building codes for post-hole size requirements. Deck posts often require a 16” square hole. SIDE NOTE 1 Dig with the blade plumb With the turf removed, a long-handled shovel does a good job of removing the dirt. Dig with the blade plumb and the handle pushed forward to keep the walls of the hole straight up and down. There’s also nothing more brutal on small roots than the digging bar blade. Kind of like a shear, I plunge the bar down into them. Sometimes I start at the edge of the root to get it cut, then take subsequent blows to get it out. Tamp it down Once the hole is deep enough and relatively flat, I jump in and tamp it down with my feet. Every inspector I’ve met likes to see nice, neat work. Store the excavated dirt Store the excavated dirt on plastic or plywood to keep the surrounding lawn and landscape clean. Extra Dirt and The Refill That’s pretty much the mojo, although root, rock, clay and other obstructions will conspire to nudge you off course. Nudge them back. According to the Us Postal service, your local postmaster must approve the location of your mailbox. This typically means that a roadside mailbox must be located where a carrier can reach inside without leaving the truck. That means positioning it about 41 to 45 in. off the ground and back about 6 to 8 in. from the curb. Digging with a garden spade Start digging with a garden spade to cut through the turf. To meet structural requirements for inspections, whether you’re building a deck or dropping piers for an addition, the inspector not only wants to see the bottom of the hole, but that the bottom is far enough away from the top. An easy way to get a measurement is to bridge the hole with something straight like your shovel or hunk of 2-by so you can sink your tape and get a decent reading. You can tamp down the dirt as you refill it (with a tamper, the back of a digging bar or the head of a sledgehammer), but you have to be careful not to move the post as you pack dirt around it. You can also overfill the hole, which will then sink down as water and gravity take effect. The top of the hole may stay proud of the ground or sink below, so this one can be tricky. However, for a deck, fence or pergola, post holes need to be right or something goes seriously wrong with carpentry layout, profitability and/or inspection. If they’re not the right shape and correct depth, they won’t fly. It’s best to think about post holes as shafts. They descend straight (plumb) down from where you start digging them. The sides of the shaft are straight and the bottom of the hole is flat (or at least flat-ish). In other words, if your hole looks like a cup or a bowl, well, it’s not a post-hole. “Right?” You might ask. “Dude, it’s a hole. Taking yourself a little too seriously? Grab your post-hole digger and get to it.” Different people lay out post-hole locations differently, usually by running strings or pulling lay-out from an existing structure. However you get there, the first thing to do is mark the whole hole. Digging Bar. My primary go-to for layers of rock-hard clay, smallish rocks and roots is my digging bar. It can pierce and puncture clay layers. I slam it down the edges of the shaft, then I use it to chew up the center of the hole. I then return it to the edge of the hole and pry against the rim until I’m through the clay. Rinse and repeat. And, unless you’ve got calluses on your calluses, wear gloves; this steel likes skin. Obstacles By Mark Clement Earthwork Mailbox Guidelines Get a depth measurement An easy way to get a depth measurement is to bridge the hole with something straight, like your shovel, so you can sink your tape and get a decent reading. Center. The first thing I mark is the center of the hole. I then take a screw or nail, shove it through a hunk of caution tape or red duct tape, and plug it into the ground. Next, I grab a can of spray paint and paint a 24-in. “X” across the center of the hole. (I learned this trick in Joplin, Missouri, building the Boomtown playground with the crew of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.) This cross mark helps keep me on target. The first step is to dig out the screw marking the hole’s center. SIDE NOTE 2 However, when pounding down into the hole, make sure to try and keep the rim intact. No matter what happens inside the hole, this is the control point. You will have more dirt left over after the fact. The post, tube, concrete etc., all take up space—plus the dirt is entrained with air. There are a number of techniques to refill the hole, all of which work with varying degrees of success. Like many projects, starting on the right foot is an indicator of things to come. For post holes, I like to slice the earth at the top of the hole in a square, and there’s hardly a better tool for that than a garden spade. You can measure your hole width (decks with 6-by-6 posts or 12-in. builder’s tube usually require a hole that is 16-by-16-in. square or diameter or larger). The other critical job the spade does is help get the sides of the hole going down straight from the get-go—which is the first hardest part of the job and the thing that’ll chase you right down to the bottom of the hole. Lean the handle away from you to get the blade plumb, and then jump on the bad boy like you mean it to sink the blade below the sod. I like the spade to get started, but after getting under the sod, I need to scoop out the loose dirt that’s in the hole, and for that I switch to the long-handled shovel. Digging a shaft is harder than most people think, and it takes almost nothing to get off track. It’s kind of like swimming in a straight line under water—there’s nothing to gauge your progress against. A root or rocks can knock even a skid-steer powered auger off line. To help keep the shaft plunging straight down, I employ a whole battery of tools. The bar can also pry rocks out from the edge of the shaft. And, if there is an old footing down there, such as the edge of a sidewalk or rock that’ll fracture, you can use the digging bar to delete those obstacles with lead-pipe brutality. Depth Get the Shape, Cut the Sod My main post-hole tools are a spade, long-handled shovel, a digging bar and a tape measure and/or level (for layout and depth measurement). You might notice there is no post-hole digger. Not only are they brutal to use (I have rarely been as sore after a day behind a post-hole digger), but they either don’t cut a big enough hole, won’t cut through tough soil, or they don’t scoop out as much dirt as I can get with my shovel. I’m not saying they don’t work, but when you’re staring down a dozen 40-in. deep holes for a fence, any move you can save is a good move. Recip Saw. Some roots are simply too big for a digging bar to cut through—and too deep for a mattock (awesome root cutter) or axe—to get at. For those, I clear as much dirt from around them as I can and cut them out using my recip saw. Expect dirt to blow up in your face from the saw’s exhaust, and for typical demo blades to gum up because the wood is so green. Skil’s Ugly blade, with its massive gullets and super sharp teeth, really evens the odds. This reply might fly, say for a mailbox post (but even those must comply with mailbox placement regulations—see Side Note 1). This concept is pretty easy to get your head around. In reality, however, it is more difficult to execute because it requires us to use the most basic tools we own (shovels, digging bars, etc.) that we’ve all used a zillion times for shoveling projects—mulch/snow, leveling the yard, turning over the garden—in a different way. Digging a proper posthole is all about getting started in the right place and going the right direction. And that is harder than it sounds. Keep the blade plumb Keep the blade plumb and jump straight down on the spade to cut the walls of the shaft-shaped hole.

The Hole truth: Tips for digging the perfect Post-Hole

Post-Hole Tools In a landscaped yard dirt can co-mingle with the grass and be a mess to clean up, especially on extended projects and/or if it rains. A sheet of plywood is a great bond-break between grass and dirt congealing around it. Sheet plastic works too, as long as you’re re-filling in 24 hours or so. And, on longer projects, it makes sense to cover the dirt pile with plastic to keep it dry so it is easier to work when refilling. I’ve dug (and re-dug) hundreds of post holes, both alone and with other people, who swear they know how to do it. The key to digging post holes correctly is to understand what you’re digging and to throw away old assumptions about the tools everyone has in their shed or garage. To cut the earth straight off the sides of the shaft, you have to lean the shovel handle outward in a way that might seem uncomfortably far away from your body. However, you know that when you’re reaching for the handle, the blade of the shovel is cutting straight down. It is usually around this point in the hole where things go wrong with a rookie because they try to scoop instead of cut. Once you’ve sheared off the sides of the hole into the bottom, then you scoop out the loose fill. Getting Started

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *