Backyard Reno: Renting Tools & the Best $9 Tool to Make a Fence Post Straight Every Time!

Hope you all had a great long weekend! We spent every spare moment in the yard working on this fence and we made great progress. I wanted to write it all down before the details escaped my memory so here it is.

First of all, if you missed the last blog post, go back and read it (here) so that you’re in the loop.

Now that you are caught up, here’s the weekend warrior update. We are becoming “regulars” at our neighborhood Sunbelt Rentals (ha!) and this weekend was not unlike the last couple weekends. Rent a big machine, tow it home, sweat A LOT outside, drink lots of water (and chore beer), sit and admire the day’s work, and repeat it all again the next day. So here’s how it went:

On Sunday, John and our good friend, Dominic, drilled all of the holes for the fence posts with the rented auger. Although the machine that John rented was a 1 man auger, the ground in our backyard was really compacted making it necessary for both guys to put their body weight into drilling the holes. Why is it that there are always big rocks in the ground exactly where you need a fence post to go?? 

The post holes needed to be 2 feet deep and 6-8 inches in diameter depending on the size of the posts around the yard. John designed the fence with 6x6x8 posts on the corners of the fence as well as where the gates will be built. It seems like over kill, but it really is necessary when building a fence that will hold up to weather and time. All of the other fence posts are 4x4x8 posts.

Here is a list of all the tools and materials used this weekend:

The materials: 

  • 6x6x8 weather treated posts
  • 4x4x8 weather treated posts
  • 50 lb. bags of concrete
  • 36-inch wood landscape stakes

The tools:

Yesterday (Labor Day Monday), John began to set the fence posts in concrete. In order to make sure that the posts were level and plum, John used this handy dandy fence post level that wraps around the post with a rubber band to help get the post perfectly straight in the ground.

With a couple of holes, John had to use his post hole digger to shave away more dirt in the hole to make room for the fence post to be level. Once the level showed that the post was perfectly straight, John hammered 2 wooden support stakes in the ground and drove a small nail through the stake and into the post.


John mixed 2 bags of concrete at a time in a wheelbarrow and stirred in the water using a hoe. There was something quite satisfying about pushing the concrete back and forth to achieve the perfect consistency (kind of like needing dough). Weird, I know, whatever. John shoveled the mixed concrete around the fence post in the hole, poked a stake down the filled hole to remove air pockets and smoothed out the concrete when it got to ground level. 


This concrete takes 24-48 hours to cure. Once the concrete has cured completely, we will tap off the support stakes and start building the fence panels. 


We finished the day with snacks and rosé outside while we admired John’s handy work. Tonight, we plan to set several more posts in concrete before the rain rolls in later this week. 

Emily Ward1 Comment