John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-551-7219 (cell)
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Fence Design

Fence Design begins with a plan. A well constructed fence will last many years and should be considered a permanent structure. It is important to plan things out before digging the first post hole. This will insure that the finished structure is both functional and pleasing to the eye.

Your new fence can be expected to last for 15 years or more. Given this life expectancy it is really important to start with an adequate plan. Such a plan should include future modifications that you can reasonably foresee. These modifications might include partitions and/or gates that facilitate movement from one area to another.

One should also consider the types of traffic that are expected to move through gates, as well as placement of gates to provide easy access to different areas. It can be very frustrating to have to walk 300 yards to get to something that is only ten feet away due to the lack of a gate. It can be even more frustrating to have to take down a 200 foot stretch of fence to allow a truck in because that 8 foot gate was too small.

Thus, it is important to start with a map of the area that will be fenced, and to take time to play around with different plans. Once that first post hole goes in you should consider everything you do as being permanent.

Planning a Fence

Fencing determines grazing patterns and animal movement. It is important that the fence layout is designed to enhance efficiency of herd management, and forage production and use. Fencing should also be esthetically pleasing and conform to the requirements of the land.

It is best to begin with a map of the entire property, including existing roads, streams, ponds and buildings. Take time to draw out several options. As you do this, imagine yourself in the field doing the kinds of tasks that will need to be done. Answer questions such as:

  • How will you move animals from one area to another?
  • Where will your shelters be?
  • Where will your catch pens be?
  • How will you move from one area to another? (It is frustrating to have to walk 200 yards to get to something that is ten feet away.)
  • How will you move irrigation or other farm equipment?

Keep in mind any local restrictions that might effect you layout. For instance, some areas have minimum set backs from streams to protect the watershed. Other areas restrict livestock from the location of wells. You will want to be sure that you are in compliance with these restrictions.

It is also helpful to plan ahead. Many times all of the fencing will not be completed as a single project. With a detailed plan it is possible to set posts for gates and such with an eye towards future expansion.

plot map

The above plot map shows the general layout of fencing on a ten acre plot of land. Notice how the fence layout facilitates the movement of animals, and enables a rotational grazing pattern. (Note, this diagram is not to scale.) This should give a general idea of how to plan and layout the fences on your land.

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