Do it yourself: How to install natural reed fencing

Information and tips on the installation and durability of natural reed fencing.
Natural reed fencing can add beauty, even a sense of the tropics, to practically any landscape. Not only is this type of fencing economical, it reflects the homeowner’s concern for the environment. It is manufactured of a plant that can actually become a nuisance species in some areas if its population is left unchecked. That plant is Phragmites, a tall reed found in densely populated stands all over America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. When used to manufacture fencing the product is both durable and easily installed. Both the appearance of natural reed fencing and its longevity, however, are impacted by the manner in which it is installed.

Phragmites reeds are relatively soft in comparison to other choices in fencing material. The reeds are typically woven together at several places along the height of the fencing by two strands of thin-diameter wire alternately woven under and over the reeds encasing them on each side. Beware: if the fence is not properly secured just the slightest wind can damage the fence. The appropriate method for securing the reed fence varies in accordance with whether you are installing it as a freestanding fence or as an aesthetic front on an already existing fence.

How to install natural reed fencing 300x300 Do it yourself: How to install natural reed fencing

How to install natural reed fencing

Reed fencing offers an excellent choice in disguising an unsightly chain link fence or even a wooden fence that has become an eyesore. Installing reed fencing over flat-surfaced wooden fence is particularly easy. All that is required is that it be rolled out evenly on the existing fence, taking care to insure that the top of the reed fencing presents as an even line. A board can be placed on the ground running parallel and adjacent to the existing fence to set the bottom ends of the reeds on while positioning the reed fencing into place. This insures that both the tops and bottoms of the reed components of the fence are positioned level and that the final outcome is a smooth and level upper edge. It also insures that appropriate spacing be allowed between the bottom of the fence and the moisture of the ground in order to increase the longevity of the fence. Once positioned appropriately the reed fencing can simply be stapled into place (every four feet at a maximum, both horizontally and vertically with the staples placed over the wire portion of the fence) and the bottom board removed. In essence, the more staples that are used the less likelihood of the fencing being blown apart by the wind.

For wooden fences that do not have a continuous flat surface the reed fencing will have to be stapled to take advantage of the structure of the particular fence. It may be necessary in such instances to secure the reed to the existing fence by sandwiching it between the fence and horizontal pieces of wood that are referred to as battening. Battening can, in fact, be constructed of practically any narrow pieces of rigid material. The longer these pieces are the more easily they are utilized. Even bamboo is commonly used for battening and can be used either in the round or split to a fraction of its diameter.

The desired width of the battening is determined more by aesthetics than by function. Pieces of battening as small as three-quarters inch in diameter can provide sufficient support for reed fencing as long as they are secured adequately. Battening should be secured horizontally at the top, bottom, and sometimes middle of the reed fencing. The top and bottom pieces can be positioned approximately one foot from each edge as aesthetics demand.

Properly installed battening holds the reed fencing securely to its backing. The battening is nailed or stapled in place over the reed fencing and securely into the wooden backing. When it is secured to chain link the battening is wired into place using galvanized wire cut into long enough lengths that it will reach, when looped, from the front of the fencing to the back. Be sure to allow enough length that the ends can be twisted snugly against the chain link. The battening should be wired securely at each end and also at approximately two feet distances along its length.

To install reed fencing as a freestanding fence it is necessary to install fence posts just as you would for any other fencing. These posts, when secured in the ground, must be as tall as the reed fencing itself. Their bases should be buried below the frost line just as they would for any other fencing and a level should be used to make sure they are as near vertical as possible. The tops, middles, and bottoms of each of the fence poles must be connected to one another with horizontal pieces that will be used as the backing for the reed fencing. Poles and horizontal connectors can be either wood or metal. For a free standing fence the battening is applied just as is outlined above dependent on the material used for the poles and the horizontal pieces. Staples or nails are used for a wooden frame and wire for a metal one.

Natural reed fencing can be an attribute to any property. Not only is it beautiful, it is economically priced, and can be installed by practically anyone. Natural reed fencing offers a valid alternative for practically any fencing need.

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