DIY Front Yard Fence Project: Using 4x4's and Stretch Woven Wire

Jan 21, 2021Caitlin Hoover

Hey y’all, welcome back to our blog! We have been working hard over the past month to put up our front yard fence. We searched the internet to see if anyone else has built a fence quite like ours - and it seems like we may be some of the only ones - at least, who post about it online.

While the typical suburban picket fence is charming, and wrought iron fences are gorgeous - we simply couldn’t afford them! Not to mention, a picket fence would not stand the test of time against our destructive Anatolian Shepherd puppy. We didn’t want to do an average ranch style fence - T-posts and woven wire, but we also didn’t want to go through the effort, cost and struggle of a panel-based hog wire fence. Above all else, we wanted a fence that would not impede our view of the beautiful Ouachita mountains! So we created our own fence fusion. We present to you - the woven wire/wooden 4x4 fence! -drumroll please-

2 millennials and a farm healing moon farm and ranch diy fence project

Seeing as our front yard is much larger than the typical home (close to 1/4 of an acre), we had to purchase quite a bit in materials to accomplish this project. If you are re-creating this in your own yard, it may not cost nearly as much simply because you won’t need such a large quantity of lumber, woven wire, and other supplies. After we completed the fence we realized, in hindsight, that there were many things we could have done better. I will talk more about this below so you are aware in advance of starting your project and can improve upon our foundation!

Materials We Used

  • Pressure-treated Ground Contact 4x4s

    • We used 33 and spaced them 8 feet apart

    • You’ll calculate the total amount you need by measuring the length of all sides of your fence and piding it by the distance you want your posts to be apart (average distance is 6 to 8 feet between posts)

      • For example, if the length of all sides of your fence added together equals 80 feet, pided by 8 foot post spacing, you would need 10 posts.

      • *Remember: due to obstacles in the yard, non-perfect spacing, corners that may not be perfect, etc you may need extra posts so grab a few spares

  • Stain, sealant or paint

    • We used the same 2 in 1 wood stain and all-weather sealer that is on the outside of our cedar sided house so the posts would match.

  • Quick-dry post setting Quikrete (usually a red/orange bag)

    • There are easy to use Quikrete calculators online that show how many bags you need per post based on the depth and width of the hole they are set in as well as the height of the post and any weight load it may carry.

  • 1 1/4” galvanized fence staples

  • 4x4 solar light post caps

    • We put a cap on each post. However, you could change up the look by alternating posts with caps, doing another pattern, or leaving the caps off all together.

    • They sell the 4x4 post caps in several decorative styles

  • Woven wire horse fence 5ft x 100ft rolls

    • We chose to go with a 5 foot tall fence. This is by no means standard. Most front yard fences are around 4 feet tall. However, we wanted the extra height for our escape artist Anatolian Shepherd who recently discovered he can jump 4 foot fences. If we ever get tired of the extra height and want to switch to a 4 foot fence, we can simply cut the existing fence and re-stretch.

    • We purchased 3 rolls to cover the full length of our yard

    • You can purchase woven wire fencing in different heights and sizes. We went with 2” x 4” squares and 5 foot height. This is typically called a “no-climb horse fence” at farm supply stores. But it comes in 4 foot versions and you can even get squares as large as 6” x 6” if you wanted.

    • Pro Tip: If it’s available purchase red brand fencing. It is a thicker gage wire that stretches much easier, is galvanized before its woven to reduce risk of rust, and all around a much nicer product than other brands. Unfortunately, all of the farm supply stores near us and in the neighboring state (yes we were willing to drive because we are that passionate about the product), no longer carry this brand and we had to opt for the less durable OK Brand (which was a pain to work with and we will discuss further down in this post).

  • Woven wire fence stretcher

  • Paddle drill bits (optional)

    • We used these to attach the 4x4s to the side of our house by drilling a large hole 2 inches into the 4x4, then screwing it into the side of our deck (since our deck screws were only 2 1/4” long)

  • Regular drill

  • Impact driver and hammer drill (optional)

    • We purchased these to fasten a 4x4 to the cement wall on the side of our house using a bracket. We ended up not using the bracket, but in hindsight we should have for more durability (more on this further down)

  • 4x4 brackets (optional for attaching to cement wall)

  • Level

  • Rubber mallet (optional)

    • This really helped us fit the 4x4 post caps on the posts and level them out

  • Hammer

  • A whole lot of elbow grease

  • Shovel

    • An auger won’t always get through everything, especially when you live on the side of a rocky mountain like us

  • Auger with 8 inch or wider bit

    • Recommend getting a bit made to go through rock, even if it won’t go through a bolder it will help with the little stuff

  • Winch (optional)

  • Tow chain (optional)

  • Galvanized deck screws (optional depending on if you are fastening to the side of your house)

Step by Step

Step One: Stain/seal your 4x4 lumber. Make sure to put sealant on the tops and bottoms of the post as well for extra protection from wood rot over time.

Brady Staining and Sealing our 4x4’s using a 2 in 1 product from Lowe’s

Brady Staining and Sealing our 4x4’s using a 2 in 1 product from Lowe’s

Step Two: Dig your corner post holes. Use an online quikrete calculator to measure the necessary depth and width of your hole based on the post’s height and weight load. Set the posts into the holes one by one, making sure to use a level and point the corners in the appropriate direction for a flush look. Set all corner posts by using Quikrete and water per the bag’s directions. Give the corner posts at least 24 hours to fully cure.

This post hole was especially problematic. We used an auger to dig as far as we could, then switched to shovels to manually remove this large rock we ran into so we could achieve the appropriate depth and width.

This post hole was especially problematic. We used an auger to dig as far as we could, then switched to shovels to manually remove this large rock we ran into so we could achieve the appropriate depth and width.

Then, tie a string on one corner and stretch it to the next corner post, tying it off. Do this for all sides of your fence. The string will help you see where your other post holes need to go. Dig your remaining post holes in line with the string, spaced every 6 - 8 feet depending on your preference. Once the holes are dug, dry fit your 4x4 posts into them, making sure the side of your post comes gently into contact with the string. This will ensure that when you go to stretch the woven wire fence, all of the posts are in-line with each other for an even stretch. Trust me, this will save you a lot of trouble when stretching later. Level and Quikrete your posts. Allow at least 24 hours to dry.

During this step you will also want to take special care to attach any posts you wish to have mounted to the side of your house appropriately. OR if you do not wish to mount to the side of your house, make sure you dig a hole in a location that will put the corner posts close enough to your house that the fence can serve its purpose (I.E. a dog can’t wiggle through).

Step Three: Roll out your stretch woven wire fence along the first side of your yard posts. Using a hammer and fence staples, tack the beginning end of the woven wire fence into your first corner post. This will be the post you stretch from, so take the extra time to ensure it was cemented in properly. Make sure to put a fence staple on each piece of wire, all the way down. This will help you get an even stretch when you go to pull on the fence later. Attach your fence stretcher at the opposite end of the fence. We used a tow chain and winch to attach to the stretcher, then attached the other end of the winch to our tractor. From there Brady hand-cranked the winch to pull the fence taught. Make sure you get the fence as taught as possible without bending your posts or breaking your winch. Once it is stretched, hammer in fence staples along each wire down the other corner post.

Hammering in fence staples down one side of our stretch woven wire fence

Hammering in fence staples down one side of our stretch woven wire fence

Now hammer in fence staples down each fence post in-between. You don’t HAVE to cover every wire with staples for the middle posts, but it is recommended for holding the tautness.

Once you have ensured the fence is attached to each post with fence staples, remove the tension from the fence stretcher. Cut the extra fencing length off at the staples. Repeat this process for all sides of your fence, making sure to fasten the corners first and THEN the middle posts.

Brady and my father using a winch attached to the fence stretcher on one end, and the tractor on the other, to stretch the woven wire fence.

Brady and my father using a winch attached to the fence stretcher on one end, and the tractor on the other, to stretch the woven wire fence.

Step Four: Time for final touch ups! Go through and do any touch up paint/stain when posts may have been scratched or damaged during install. Then mount your 4x4 post caps on top of desired posts. We used a line level and some string to trim all of our posts to the desired height, then attached our 4x4 solar post caps. This way, when you look out at the top of the fence from the deck, it appears like all posts are the same height. Even though the ground slopes.

We put 4x4 post caps on each post

We put 4x4 post caps on each post

And Voila! Your fence is done!

What We Could Have Done Better

After DIYing the fence, we realized we could have done some things better. Below is a bulleted list of what we would have changed:

  1. When we attached the 4x4 to the back side of our house, we decided not to use the 4x4 steel bracket to fasten it to the cement wall of the crawl space. Instead, we only attached the 4x4 at the top end using 4 screws, to the side of our deck (where there was an available 2x6 to drill into). Later, when we went to stretch the fence from this post, it ended up pulling the bottom of the 4x4 out at and angle and impeded our ability to get an even stretch. This caused the very back side section of our fence (about 3 feet of it) to be loose and a bit of an eye sore. It would have looked much smoother had we fastened the 4x4 on both ends. TLDR: Fasten posts to the side of your house well and evenly.

  2. Because we had to use a cheaper quality fence, it did not stretch as evenly as we would have liked and what we have seen with the higher quality Red Brand fencing. We did not mind the slight flex at the top of our fence. However, if you had the same stretching issue and wanted to make it look more taught - you could run 2x4’s along the top of the woven wire fencing, between the 4x4 posts, and staple the top of the fence into them. This would look cleaner, hide the looseness at the top, look more like a hog wire panel fence, and help with post sagging over time. TLDR: Buy Red Brand fencing if able. You can always run 2x4’s along the top of the fence.

  3. Adding more quikrete bags per post. We went with what the online calculators told us as far as how large of a hole we needed to dig and how many bags of quikrete were needed. However, doubling up on the quikrete would have really made the posts extra sturdy and heavy duty. It wasn’t necessary, and our fence functions perfectly without issue, however, it would have been nice. TLDR: Fill the entire hole with the appropriate quikcrete mixture.

  4. Because the 4x4’s are ground treated lumber they will last many years but not forever! You can replace inpidual posts over time if needed. If you want a more permanent post that will never warp or change over time - opt for the more expensive metal post. TLDR: We love the look of our fence. If you want it to last longer go for metal fence posts instead of lumber.

  5. When sourcing your 4x4’s try and get the ones with perfect 90 degree angles on the corners. Most of ours were not cut at 90 degree angles and that required us to go through and have to shave the tops of the posts so we could fit the 4x4 caps on top. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it was a major pain in the A**. TLDR: Source quality lumber the was cut evenly.


Regardless, our puppies don’t seem to mind and the fence is completely functional for our needs! We absolutely love the way it looks and enjoy seeing the solar post lights turn on in the evening. And the best part? It doesn’t block our view of the Ouachita National Forest!

We put together a video compilation of the whole process below, be sure to check it out! If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our Youtube channel.

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