Building a fence on your own can be a challenge, but if you have the handyman skills it’s a great way to add curb appeal to your property at an affordable price. Whether you’re building a fence for the first time or upgrading an existing one, there are several dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind. Here are some general tips to help you build a fence that is both functional and beautiful.


  1. Do check for utilities: Before digging any post holes, make sure you know where any underground utilities are located. Call your local utility company to have them mark any gas, water, or electrical lines. In Ontario the number is 1-800-400-2255, in Quebec it’s 1-800-663-9228. For other areas try the North American One-Call Referral System at 888-258-0808.
  2. Do check local regulations: Before you start building, make sure you are familiar with local zoning and building codes. Most cities and neighborhoods have specific guidelines for fence height, materials, and placement. The Ottawa Fence By-Law is here and the Gatineau Fence By-Law is here.
  3. Do choose the right material: There are many different types of fencing materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Consider factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, and aesthetic appeal when choosing a material. You can learn more about wood, iron, and vinyl from our site and others.
  4. Do plan the layout: Careful planning is key to building a fence that is both functional and visually appealing. Take accurate measurements of your property and plan the fence layout carefully to ensure it fits your needs and enhances your property.
  5. Do set the posts correctly: Proper post placement is essential for a sturdy and long-lasting fence. Use a post hole digger to create 3′ deep holes with belled bottoms to prevent heaving. Make sure your posts are level and properly aligned.
post holes

Note the bottom is wider than the top for the perfect post hole.


  1. Don’t forget to check for utilities! In Ontario the number is 1-800-400-2255, in Quebec it’s 1-800-663-9228. For other areas try the North American One-Call Referral System at 888-258-0808.
  2. Don’t skimp on hardware: The hardware used to secure your fence is just as important as the materials used to build it. Don’t skimp on hardware such as screws, nails, and hinges, as they are essential for a strong and secure fence.
  3. Don’t ignore the landscape: The landscape surrounding your fence can have a big impact on its appearance and function. Consider factors such as slope, drainage, and existing trees or shrubs when planning your fence layout.
  4. Don’t rush the installation: Installing a fence takes time and patience. Rushing the process can lead to mistakes and a subpar end result. Take your time and follow your plan carefully.
  5. Don’t forget to maintain your fence: Even the most durable fences can benefit from the occasional cleaning to keep them looking and functioning their best. Regular cleaning, staining or painting, and repairs as needed can help ensure that your fence lasts for many years to come.

Following these dos and don’ts will get you started on the right path. Remember to take your time, use quality materials, and seek the advice of a professional if you need help along the way.

More questions?

If you have more questions about fences or other products we’re happy to answer them. Call 613-736-1122 or hit the chat button on the right during business hours.