How to Install Fence Posts in Dirt

So you're ready to put up your fence. Installing the fence posts is a crucial first step. Set the posts in metal spikes if you want to be able to move the fence in the future.

Pound a stake into the ground at each spot where the posts will go.

Run a string around the perimeter of your fence line. This will identify potential problems with hedges, trees and other objects.

Choose 2-foot spikes for a fence less than 4 feet high; anything taller than that requires 2 1/2-foot spikes.

Stick a scrap piece of fence post into the square socket of each spike as you go. This protects the socket while you set the spike.

Pound the spike part way into the ground with a sledgehammer.

Check the spike with a level. The socket should be plumb. Remember that the angle of the socket will be the angle of the post.

Finish driving the spike into the ground until only the socket is showing.

Take the scrap out of the socket and replace it with a post.

Secure the post either by tightening the clamp bolts or installing screws through the side holes. (This depends on the type of spikes you have.)


Pound the spike in about 6 inches, check the plumb, and repeat. This will insure that you keep it level as you drive it into the ground.


Make sure the ground is relatively dry when you install spikes. Wet ground has more give, and you could end up with crooked posts.

Things You'll Need

  • Spikes
  • Fence Posts
  • Garden Stakes
  • Twine
  • Hex Bolts
  • Levels
  • Multiuse Screws
  • Screwdriver Sets
  • Sledge Hammers
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