You never really know how much responsibility you’re getting into when you first start keeping a garden. While it’s such an amazing feeling to grow beautiful plants like shamrocks and pretty flowers like marigolds, you also have to tend to every part of the garden–including the fence. Therefore, it’s important you know how to fix a fence that’s not straight.
You can fix a garden fence that’s not straight by relieving pressure on the structure, removing the garden fence panels and posts, and straightening using a bracket or some fence braces. However, you can also reinforce the fence to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again.
Fixing your face is a process, so you’ll need to perform the task one step at a time for the best results. Fortunately, I wrote this article to help you get around any problematic or crooked fence and have it look as good as new. Keep reading to learn why your fence might be leaning in the first place and how to install a replacement garden fence if your existing fence is too damaged for repairs.
1. Ensure the Area Around the Garden Fence Is Safe
A leaning fence might not seem like a big deal, but it can signify an unsafe environment or some danger. And while it’s not always the case, I recommend approaching the fence with extreme caution. You should also ensure to keep pets and kids away from the environment.
Some leaning fences might fall over or lead to mini landslides, and you don’t want yourself or your loved ones getting hurt if this happens. Therefore, clear out exposed or fallen nails, wood shards, unbalanced fixtures, and any other potential risk on or around the fence.
You can also move surrounding furniture, but ensure the fence is free of structural strain and the area is as safe as possible.
2. Assess the Situation and Determine the Problem
The next step in fixing a garden fence is determining the problem. I don’t recommend doing anything else until you’ve figured out the problem and why your fence isn’t straight. This step is necessary because you can’t fix a problem if you can’t identify it.
And your garden fence might not be straight for several reasons, including extreme weather and improper installation. I’ve dedicated an entire section of this article to examine these causes, and you can keep reading to learn more.
However, after a thorough inspection, you can quickly identify each of these factors and move on to the next step. Each of these factors affects your garden fence in different ways.
For example, you can quickly identify rotten or damaged posts since the fence tends to lean towards the area with the most damage. Similarly, posts installed at inclined angles tend to lean towards the lower side.
3. Gather All the Tools You’ll Need To Fix the Garden Fence
Now that you’ve assessed the situation and identified the problem, the next step of the garden fence repair process is to gather all the tools you’ll need to fix the garden fence. Don’t worry; you won’t need complex tools to fix the fence.
Here are a few tools you’ll need to fix a garden fence:
- Safety gloves.
- A spade.
- A drill like the Makita XFD10Z Cordless Driver-Drill (available on Amazon.com). Having an electric drill like this will save you tons of time.
- A bucket.
- Some quick setting cement or concrete mix.
- A screwdriver.
- A level tool
- A hammer.
Having these products will help you fix a leaning fence no matter how extensive the problem might seem.
However, the tools you’ll need for the job depend on the problem and how much experience you have with fixing fences. And some situations might need specialized tools I didn’t include in this article.
4. Relieve Pressure From the Garden Fence and on the Post
Regardless of why your garden fence is leaning or not straight, you’ll need to relieve pressure from the fence and on the post. You’ll need to do this because the crooked fence means the structure’s weight distribution is off or unbalanced. Therefore, one or more points on the garden fence might be experiencing more strain than other parts of the structure.
You can relieve pressure from the fence by:
- Removing the garden fence’s panels.
- Removing the fence posts.
You don’t always have to remove the fence panels and posts to relieve pressure from the garden fence. However, the cause of the problem will determine the best cause of action. You’ll only need to remove the panels if the leaning is minor, but more extensive issues require that you remove the fence posts.
Let’s see how you can do both of these to fix your fence.
Removing the Garden Fence Panels
As I’ve mentioned, removing the panels is a crucial step in fixing a garden fence that’s not straight. And it’ll help you work with the rest of the fence just as much as relieve pressure from the entire structure. However, it might be an easy or slightly daunting task–depending on your fence type, landscape, and the cause of the problem with the fence.
Here’s how to remove the panels from a garden fence:
- Use wood chips to brace the fence panels if you have a wooden garden fence.
- Use some wood strips to brace the fence posts on both sides.
- Use a claw hammer or screwdriver to remove the fasteners on the fence panel.
- Pull the fence panels from the fence post.
Your fence might be more complicated, but the trick is to brace the panel and post and pry the panel off the rest of the structure. Feel free to improvise a little if you’re dealing with a particularly tricky fence.
Removing the Fence Posts
You might not need to remove fence panels if you have a chain link fence or a similar structure, and you can just skip to removing the fence post. Fortunately, removing fence posts is relatively easy if you do it correctly. Remember to use the necessary safety devices and correct tools throughout the process.
Here’s how to remove the fence posts from a garden fence:
- Brace the fence posts using some wood chips to ensure the entire structure doesn’t fall during the process.
- Remove the brace from the post you want to remove.
- Use the spade to dig around the post to expose the structure.
- Keep digging until the hole is deep and wide enough for you to remove the garden post.
- Repeat the steps for the remaining posts you want to remove.
Don’t forget to put on additional protective gear during this process–especially eye protection.
5. Straighten the Garden Fence
This step is the most crucial part of the fence-fixing process, and you must do it correctly to fix your fence. Fortunately, there are multiple methods you could use to guarantee efficiency, regardless of what’s making your fence not straight. However, the best strategy for your garden fence depends on the tools you have and the landscape you have.
Here are two ways you can straighten your garden fence:
- Using a bracket
- Using braces
I’ll explore each method in detail to understand how they both work.
Using a Bracket
Brackets are best for straightening fences that are installed directly into the earth. I recommend using a post anchor that’s sturdy, stable, and easy to install.
Here’s how you can use a bracket to straighten your garden fence:
- Get a suitably sized bracket that can work with your fence post. You can measure the fence post before you buy a bracket to ensure it fits as securely as possible. However, ensure the bracket is of high quality to prevent further problems.
- Place the bracket into the hole the fence post used to be in and push it into the dirt. Ensure the bracket is straight to prevent leaning and as straight as possible.
- Fit the post into the bracket and push down into the earth. You might need a different approach if you’re using a different kind of bracket, so read the manufacturer’s instructions before starting. Still, you’ll need to align the post and bracket to ensure the structure doesn’t turn out crooked.
- Use a hammer or mallet to drive the post deeper into the bracket. The hammer is also an excellent way to drive the structure deep into the ground but ensure you don’t damage the wood. Therefore, I’d recommend light taps instead of aggressive blows.
- Fasten the post and bracket together using some screws and a screwdriver. Ensure you use the correct screws to ensure the entire structure stays together. You can also use a power drill to drive the screws in faster.
You might need to add another bracket to the fence post, but this isn’t always necessary. For example, you only need one of the brackets I recommended in this article to hold a fence post securely.
Braces are similar to brackets and work in pretty much the same way. However, braces like the Aufuga Heavy Duty Corner Brace (available on Amazon.com) are best for concrete-installed posts. This high-quality product can double as a bracket depending on your installation method.
Here’s how you can use braces to straighten your garden fence:
- Get a suitably sized brace that can work with your fence post. Some brackets can double as braces, but getting a specialized brace is best since they’re designed to work with quick-setting concrete.
- Use the spade to dig a 16-inch (40.6-centimeter) deep hole that’s at least 8 to 9 inches (20 to 23 centimeters) away from the existing fence post. You can make the hole deeper, but ensure it’s at least three times wider than the existing post hole.
- Attach the post to a pole, then tighten it with some screws and a screwdriver. The pole is the part of the brace that’s going into the hole to support the rest of the structure. If your brace doesn’t come with a pole, you can improvise with a metal rod.
- Place the fence post into its hole and cover it up. Ensure you position it as straight as possible, and you can use the level tool to assist.
- Mix some quick setting concrete mix and set it aside. Ensure you read the manufacturer’s instructions before working with the concrete mixture for the best results. Remember to use the required safety equipment, as concrete can be dangerous and toxic to plants and animals.
- Put the pole end of the brace into the hole and place the brace beside the fence post. Ensure it leans against the fence post, then hold it in position for the next step. You can also get someone to hold it in place for you.
- Pour the concrete mix into the hole. Feel free to make minor adjustments to the brace while filling the hole but ensure it keeps leaning against the fence post. Pour slowly and fill the hole as evenly as possible.
- Wait at least 24 hours for the concrete to dry completely. The curing process might take longer in some situations, but a whole day is enough time for most regions. Ensure you don’t move the brace around throughout this waiting time.
- Fasten the post to the brace using the screws and a screwdriver. You can use a power drill to ensure the screws stay flush against both structures. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you feel you need it.
At this point, you’re ready to go to the next step.
6. Reinforce the Fence
You can now reattach the fence panels and reinstall all the fittings you removed earlier. This opportunity is best for replacing old or slightly damaged parts and doing some light maintenance on the entire fence.
I also recommend inspecting the fence for further damage and checking if the repair process has affected your garden in any way.
You can also reinforce the entire structure by using additional panels or adding some more posts to key areas. However, reinforcing the garden fence is totally up to you and might not be necessary in all cases.
Don’t forget to take a step back and examine the results. Reaching out to a professional for help is okay if you’re not satisfied with the outcome of the fence-fixing process.
Why Is My Fence Leaning?
As I mentioned, assessing the situation and determining the problem is essential in fixing a garden fence that’s not straight. Therefore, I decided to dedicate an entire section to figuring out why your fence might be leaning. Remember that the fault might be because of a combination of these factors, so it’s crucial to inspect the fence carefully to determine the actual cause.
Your fence is likely leaning because of broken fence posts, shallow holes for fence posts, extreme weather conditions, damaged wood, improper fence installation, inclined landscape, pests, or root incursion from nearby plants.
A leaning fence can negatively affect your garden’s overall look and appeal. However, it’s just one part of a bigger whole. In this article, you learned how to straighten a fence. Now, check out my other article discussing useful tips and tricks to make your garden look wonderful: What To Do If Your Garden Looks Terrible
Ultimately, fixing a garden fence that’s not straight is pretty straightforward, regardless of why the structure might not be straight in the first place. And as you’ve seen, you can do it correctly by assessing and identifying the problem before doing anything else.
I also included some of the most common reasons your garden fence might be leaning in the first place. And while this will help make the repair process more manageable, it’ll also help you learn how to prevent the problem before it seriously damages your fence or warps its structural integrity.
You might also want to check out my other article on how to make a garden fence for further guidance: How to Make a Garden Fence (Ultimate Guide)