If you are calculating the number of fence panels required for your garden fence installation, we’ve prepared this helpful guide.
Calculating the number of panels may be straightforward for some gardens. You can either:
count the number of existing panels or
measure the desired length of the fence and convert it into the equivalent panel width.
However, most garden plots are not uniformly designed for fencing, so additional measurements are often necessary. In the UK, standard fence panels are 6ft (1.83m) wide, while European panels are typically 1.8m wide. This 3cm difference in width can have a much larger impact over a longer fence run. Standard panels are available in various heights ranging from 2ft to 6ft.
Here are the steps to determine the number of panels you need:
Step 1: Measure the space
If you are replacing an existing fence:
Measure the length of the fence, including the posts, using a tape measure or measuring wheel. You can easily hire a measuring wheel if you don’t own one.
Top tip: ensure that your tape measure is kept straight when measuring, rather than following the changing ground height or following the varying top fence line.
For new fence installations or changes in fence position:
Unlike the previous instance, an accurate measurement must be taken that accounts for ground level variation.
For level ground:
Place stakes at both ends and measure the distance between them. A fencer’s line or a spirit level can be useful for marking this.
For sloping or variable ground:
Insert a taller peg at the lower end and a shorter peg at the higher end to establish a level string line between them. A spirit level is also necessary for this method. Alternatively, if the slope is too steep, mark out a string line following the slope, but keep in mind that your measurement will be slightly longer than the final requirement for calculating the number of panels.
If you need to change direction along multiple sides of the garden:
Measure each direction separately and keep the measurements separate.
Step 2: Select your fence panels
You will then need to select the appropriate style of fence panels that match your garden design. For the most cost-effective solution, traditional lap panels are very popular. Closeboard panels are also a good value option that add an extra element of design. Many decorative panels with on-trend patterns are also available for a design-led approach. Popular designs include the Marlow or Malvern patterns, or even the Montpellier and Tintern panels which offer closed horizontal boards. As mentioned previously, each of these options comes in a standard width of 6ft / 1.83cm with varying options in height. With these sizes in mind, divide your fence length by the panel size to determine the initial number of panels needed.
As an example, for a fence run of 80ft, you will require just over 13 x 6ft panels. Keep in mind this is just the initial calculation as fence posts must also be accounted for.
Step 3: Choose your fence posts
To support both ends of each panel, you will require one more post than the number of panels. As an example, if you have five fence panels you will need six fence posts.
Selecting the right size and specification of fence posts is essential. Different manufacturers prioritize different factors; we at Cheltenham Fencing have always made sure our timber fence posts are durable and made to last. We stock 75mm square and 100mm square posts as our standard sizes for domestic fencing. We also carry a range of styles and shapes in timber, concrete, and steel Durapost, each available for your ideal design.
You need to keep in mind that your fence posts will make up some of the length of your fence – over a fence with 6 posts, this accounts for 450mm of the run. You will need to then deduct the length accounted for by the posts from the total fence length.
For the previous example of an 80ft garden fence, you will need roughly 13 panels. If we assume that is a single run you will need 14 fence posts. For 100mm square posts, this will comprise a total of 1400mm (4.59ft) of the total length, with a remaining 22.98m needed for the fence panels. Converted, this means that 12.7 panels will be needed between 13 posts.
Consider your corners if the fence changes direction. Traditionally, a single post or a specially-designed corner post is used, but in some cases, two posts might be necessary. It is often helpful to sketch out plans to visualise what will be required.
What happens if my garden isn’t the perfect size?
In the example above of an 80ft run, we require 12 standard panels and 13 posts, with a leftover ‘gap’ of approximately 4ft. If there is leftover space after installing the required number of panels, you can order a bespoke panel from a manufacturer like us. We have years of experience designing and creating bespoke panels to perfectly fill in the remaining area, along with a post to secure it.
You could also consider cutting down panels to size. Another option is using a trellis panel as an infill. For a professional finish, closeboard fencing with feather edge boards allows customization to specific lengths, without including the posts and rails in the calculations.
Don’t forget your gravel boards:
Gravel boards, though not required for every fence, are highly recommended to enhance the longevity of your panels. Gravel boards, typically 150mm in height, are placed beneath the fence panel to protect against weather damage, insect attacks, and rot. The number of gravel boards required is the same as the number of fence panels.
Top tip: you can ask us to cut you a hedgehog hole. We’ll add a 135mm x 100mm hole into your gravel boards specifically for hedgehogs roaming between gardens. Hedgehog numbers in the UK are declining, and a lack of room to roam is a factor. Fencing, which is seen as one of the main issues for this, can be altered to be part of the solution. Visit the Hedgehog Street website for more information.
If you feel overwhelmed or need assistance with fence installation, you can reach out to our expert team or consider using our fantastic Installer Network. This consists of verified independent fencing installers who specialize in products provided by us at Cheltenham Fencing, always providing the highest quality service.