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How to Dig a Post Hole Quickly

Updated March 22, 2017

Backyard projects can be time consuming, especially if you are planning on putting in a new fence and need to dig post holes. Many people hire contractors to come in and dig the post holes for them, not wanting to put in the effort. This is completely understandable, as digging a post hole is physically demanding. If you do not use proper technique when using post hole diggers, it is likely the process will take way more time than it should, or that you could injure your back while digging. By following proper digging procedure, you will quickly be able to dig the desired hole.

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  1. Insert the galvanised pipe into the watered soil, then pull it out and water down the soil before starting to dig. This will loosen it up and make it easier to break through. You will want to use thicker pipes for thicker holes, within reason. A galvanised pipe that is too heavy or thick will be hard to pull out and will cost you more time.

  2. Put one hand on either handle of the post hole digger, and thrust it straight down into the ground where you loosened the soil.

  3. Spread the blades of the post hole digger and drop it up and down in the hole to break up the soil inside. You should rotate around at a 360 degree radius of the hole while doing this.

  4. Scoop out loose soil by bringing the handles together until all the loose soil is out of the hole, then plunge the post hole digger into the hole, again spreading the blades and scooping out more soil. Repeat this process until the hole is the desired depth and width.

  5. Tip

    Keep your knees bent during this process, and get your force from your legs not your back. Power post hole diggers can be rented from home improvement stores to speed the process even more, but they require extensive knowledge of how to use them safely, as well as at least one other person to help you.


    Always wear work gloves when using post hole diggers; bare hands will result in large, painful blisters.

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Things You'll Need

  • Galvanised pipe
  • Post hole digger
  • Work gloves

About the Author

James Wiley

James Wiley graduated from Providence College in 2009 as a double major in global studies and Spanish. Wiley's capstone thesis paper was published in the Providence College database. He has also competed in international script-writing competitions and coauthored a pilot which placed in the top 15 percent of international entries over the past year.

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