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A posthole being dug out of the ground by a Bunnings team member with a shovel

Overview

Learn how to install posts for a picket fence. We'll show you how to run a string line so your posts are in a straight line. Learn how to level and brace your posts. You'll also get some tips on using concrete to secure your posts in place. Make sure you check with Council first in case you need a permit for your fence.

Steps

1Run a string line so your posts are in a straight line

Fix a screw into your corner post and run a string line back to the house. This gives you a straight line to measure your posts against. Mark on the wall where your fence will finish and insert another screw to tie the string line to. The easiest way to fix off a string line is to twist it onto itself a couple of times then put it over the screw. Make another half twist and loop it over the screw to lock it in place.

A screw being drilled into a fence post from which to run a string line

2Dig your post holes

Measure and mark where your posts are going to go. Use spray paint to mark the centre of your holes. Also spray down your string line so you can check your holes are centred. Before you dig, check with your local council to find out how deep your holes should be. Also check there are no cables for telephone, power, gas or water before you dig.  

A posthole being dug out of the ground by a Bunnings team member with a shovel

3Level and brace your posts

Place your posts into the holes and use timber to brace them in place. It's important to get them in the ground plumb and straight. Use your spirit level to check they are straight. Use plenty of timber bracing to hold each post in position.
A spirit level being used to ensure the straightness of a fencepost

4Concrete your posts in place

Use the concrete mixer to mix the concrete for the holes. Follow the instructions on the bag.  Make sure you wear a mask, gloves and glasses. Shovel the wet concrete into the hole and fill to just below ground level. Push your shovel into the concrete to make sure there are no bubbles. Leave it to set for at least 24 hours.
A posthole with a post positioned in it being filled with concrete

Suggested products

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.