Build a Shadowbox Privacy Fence
Setting the Posts
A good rule of thumb is to dig the holes for fence posts deep enough to bury 1/3 the overall height of the posts (2 feet deep at a minimum). Dig deep enough to set the post below the frost line, which will help prevent frost heaving. Additionally, dig an extra 4 to 6 inches deeper than the desired depth of the post to place a bed of gravel beneath the post for drainage. Sounds like a lot of digging, right? It is.
A traditional way to dig a post hole is with a manual clamshell digger and a trench shovel. These are tried and true tools, but if using them, expect to spend many hours, days or even weeks digging your holes, depending on the size of your fence.
To speed up the digging process, I highly recommend renting a gas-powered auger and recruiting another worker to help steer it. Note: Although, “one-man augers” are available to rent, my experience is these “one-man” models are nothing more than smaller, poorly designed machines that still require a second worker to control—and awkwardly, at that. The two-man models are primo, though, and with the help of a friend we had the holes completed in a single afternoon.
While digging, we were also soaking the base of the posts in water sealer. The best method to do this is to use a tall bucket and place about 4 posts upright in the bucket at once. Their mass displaces the water, which rises to the top of the bucket, soaking the bottoms of the posts. After soaking for about an hour, we would rotate four new posts into the bucket to soak.