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Putting up the picket fence: this is how it works

Even inexperienced people can set up a picket fence and can be done with just a few tools. The material is offered by the meter as a so-called roller fence - usually made of very weather-resistant sweet chestnut - and is available in many lengths and heights. The Romans already valued the wood of the sweet chestnut: As a stake for grapevines, it was significantly more durable than the wood of other tree species.

Even today, picket fences are mostly made from split chestnut wood. Chestnut wood is weatherproof and, because of its high tannic acid content, insensitive to fungal and insect attack. It does not need to be treated, comes from European forests and is therefore ecologically harmless. The ends of the English picket fence model are blunt, while the French ones are pointed.

Delivered on the roll, the picket fence can be set up in the garden without any problems: the split chestnut wood is attached to two to three wires with metal staples, depending on the height. Wooden posts cut into the ground serve as supports, to which the picket fence is screwed.

Step by step: set up the picket fence

Photo: MSG / Sabine Dubb
Pre-drill holes for fence posts
Photo: MSG / Sabine Dubb
01
Pre-drill holes for fence posts

An auger can be used to pre-drill holes for the fence posts on solid ground. If you don't have a suitable auger at hand, you can use a sturdy iron rod to drive a smaller hole into which the thicker wooden post is then driven.

Photo: MSG / Sabine Dubb
Photo: MSG / Sabine Dubb
02

A heavy mallet is the ideal tool for driving fence posts. This reliably prevents the wood from splintering. If you have an iron sledge hammer, put a wooden board on the stake to be on the safe side. This also prevents damage to the post. Before hammering in, the depth of the hammer should be marked with a line of chalk or pencil. Tip: With a heavy post or post driver, fence posts can also be driven in without great effort and the risk of splinters. The heavy case is simply slipped over it, lifted and dropped as often as necessary. Such rams can be borrowed from many hardware stores.

Photo: MSG / Sabine Dubb
Photo: MSG / Sabine Dubb
03

A simple trick helps to be able to align and fasten the slats exactly vertically, especially at the end of the roll: with two tensioning straps, which are attached directly above or below the wires, you pull the fence slats evenly towards the next post and can then easily move them screw tight.

Photo: MSG / Sabine Dubb
Fasten battens to posts
Photo: MSG / Sabine Dubb
04
Fasten battens to posts

It has proven to be very practical and, on top of that, stable to screw the fence pickets to the posts with several wood screws at the level of the wires - it is best to pre-drill the holes first. Since the fence can stand directly on the ground, you don't have to laboriously lift the slats to a certain height. The distance between the posts varies depending on the height of the fence and the required stability, but should not exceed two meters - otherwise the fence will sag in the middle.

The picket fence fits particularly well in cottage gardens and natural gardens. It is available at heights of a good half to two meters, plus various types of doors. It can therefore enclose the plot of land, delimit a garden area - for example the vegetable garden - or just draw itself low around a flower bed. Another advantage: The picket fences are not rigid, but can be set up flexibly and adapted to the outline of the respective area. A rounded course is also possible if the posts are set close enough.

The thin strips and the wire provide climbing plants with a good grip. But do not choose species that grow too lush, such as wisteria or knotweed, whose weight would be too great. Most varieties of clematis or honeysuckle are eligible. Annual climbing plants such as sweet peas or nasturtiums also look pretty and go very well with the natural charm of the picket fence.