“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Those wise words were written by French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in 1943. And boy, do they still ring true in the 2020s. If you have a goal for 2022 that involves a fencing project — big or small — you’re going to want to take Antoine’s advice and start planning now.
To learn what planning a fencing project looks like in a high-demand world, we spoke with Bekaert Fence Pro Keith Taylor. He shared his insight on the matter as well as five steps for planning a successful fence.
Planning is more important now than ever
Truly, fencing materials are more in demand than ever before.
“Not just wire products, but posts and fencing accessories as well,” Taylor said. “The demand has just been unbelievable for the past 18 to 24 months.”
There are several factors contributing to the peak. “Large ranches in the western United States have miles of fencing from the 1940s to 1960s that need replacing,” Taylor noted. “There also seems to be an increase in hobbyist farmers with fencing needs as well as homesteaders who are fencing-in their properties.”
Due to the high demand, Taylor encourages planning at least six months ahead. “People need to be planning what they’re going to do next year now. Start getting their material lists into their local dealers.”
What to think about as you plan
When it comes to building a fence that meets your goals, there are certain things to keep in mind. Taylor says you should take the following steps as you plan:
Map out your project. “Start with thinking about the overall footage of your fence,” Taylor advised. Bekaert has a free online Fencing Calculator tool where you can find your land in Google Earth, click the perimeters of your project, calculate the total length needed for your fence and build your materials list. “When you know the material you plan to use, figure out how many rolls of product you will need,” Taylor instructed. “You also need to think about posts, whether wood or steel, and how many.” The Fencing Calculator has a feature to print your materials list or email it to yourself or your local dealer.
Determine purpose. What does your fence need to keep in? What does your fence need to keep out? “Animal specifics is a crucial part of planning,” Taylor noted. “You don’t want to put up a 6-inch spacing fence for goats and they wind up with their horns hung.” To help with this, Bekaert provides species-specific fencing and can provide recommendations for you.
Consider the future. The project you have in mind may fit your goals today, but do they fit into the long-term? “We always tell people to think about what they are going to do with their property in the future,” Taylor said. “Where might you need gates? Do you have a pasture you plan to cut in half? Do you plan to raise a new type of livestock? If you’re going to do anything like that, it may be better to get things in place now. Always plan with the future in mind.”
Decide how you will do the installation. Will you install the fence yourself? Or will you hire an installer? If you would like to tackle this project on your own, The Fence Pros have a library of install videos on YouTube to help. Plus, The Fence Pros are always willing to assist with any questions you may have. If you would like to hire the project out, The Fence Pros can share trusted fence contractors near you.
Know the Rules. Before you build, determine zoning and right of way rules. Like, how close can a fence be to the road? The Fence Pros recommend contacting your county officials before constructing new fence lines along highways. It’s always a great idea to review surveyed property lines to avoid hitting any utility lines and to assure you’re not crossing over property lines.
Get started on your next fencing project
Things may be in high demand, but if you plan and follow the steps Taylor provided, you can build a successful fence when you need it. If you have questions about planning a fencing project that meets your goals, Taylor and the Bekaert Fence Pros are available to answer them. Submit questions at fencing.bekaert.com/contact and a member of The Bekaert Fence Pro team will respond within 24 hours.