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Using gravel or cement to have dirt/grass around posts.

Using gravel or cement to have dirt/grass around posts.


  #1  
Old 08-11-16, 06:53 PM
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Using gravel or cement to have dirt/grass around posts.

I am buying the posts and pickets from local hardware store to install a dog eared 6ft fence on a 16,500 sqft lot. I want to be able to install the posts and have grass grow around it as i really don't like the cement to show around the fence posts.. I read some articles about people having really good results just packing gravel around the posts. I was thinking of doing this and then add dirt and grass about 3 inches from the top.

My backyard faces a cornfield so the wind gets pretty strong. Is this something anyone has had experience with? Can the corners, and the gate post have just packed gravel?

If i decided to do gravel and then cement does the posts sit on the gravel or does the gravel just go around it? And can i stop sort a few inches for dirt/grass or will there be a risk for the wood to rot? If i pitched the cement a little before the dirt would this work? What tools are used to pitch the cement for posts?

Sorry for all the questions, i never installed a fence before so i figured id bundle up the questions. Thanks!
 
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Old 08-11-16, 07:03 PM
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A couple of questions:

That is your soil like? Sandy? Clay?

What is your location? We need to know for frost depth.
 
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Old 08-11-16, 07:10 PM
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I live in the midwest about an hour south of Chicago. It's clay about two feet down. This is a new construction home and the lot was graded about month and a half ago.
 
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Old 08-12-16, 03:30 AM
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I'd want the gravel to show both at the posts and along the bottom of the pickets. Not having grass grow right at the post/fence will save you weed eating time and the weed eater string won't affect whatever finish you apply to the fence.
 
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Old 08-12-16, 04:05 AM
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Cement is just an ingredient in concrete and mortar. For posts you would use concrete. Some Home shows claim gravel is better than concrete because it allows water to drain away from the post while concrete traps it. Not the way I learned and have never quite believed it.

As to gravel under the fence I can't believe grass wouldn't grow through it or even grow in dirt washed or blown into it. You might pour a strip of concrete at least 3" deep and top it with gravel before it dries. Being one who over engineers I'd probably bury rebar in it.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 08-12-16 at 04:22 AM.
  #6  
Old 08-12-16, 05:10 AM
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I set most posts in compacted crusher run stone (crushed stone with a variety of sizes from gravel down to dust and it compacts very well). When compacted the stone becomes rock/concrete hard. It's strong enough that a 4x4 post breaks before it leans or wollows in it's hole. The biggest benefit though is in installation speed. There is no mixing of concrete and there is no waiting time. In 5 minutes you can have a post set and at full strength with no waiting. I only use concrete when the ground is saturated and too soft to withstand the pressure of compacting stone.
 
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Old 08-12-16, 05:22 AM
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As to gravel under the fence I can't believe grass wouldn't grow through it or even grow in dirt washed or blown into it
Very true but a gravel bed would still be less maintenance than having to cut the grass next to the fence every week. You'd still need to pull or spray weeds every so often.
 
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Old 08-12-16, 05:27 AM
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Hate to be contrary but I have a vision of the mower hitting loose gravel.
 
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Old 08-12-16, 05:29 AM
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My driveway is gravel and when I mow next to it or cross it with my mower I don't recall ever kicking up any of the gravel. Maybe it depends on the power/suction of the mower and the size of the gravel
 
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Old 08-12-16, 05:32 AM
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I'm with marksr on not having that grass growing under or near the post or the fence!
Just making a whole lot more work for yourself, and as mention it's going to beat the material to death.
I like to see total vegetation killer used along a fence line.
 
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Old 08-12-16, 07:16 AM
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The city workers sometimes are to lazy to pick up small rocks and such from the road side work next to the ditch. They are buried in the grass can't even see them till you mow then they start flying.
 
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Old 08-12-16, 09:24 AM
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Thanks guys for all the helpful answers. I have always seen grass growing under the fence panels and i like that look but maybe if it got too much of a nusance i could add the rock. The fencing wil be around 360 linear feet.

I have a corner lot too and i think the fence has to be a foot away from the sidewalk i beleive (ill find out when i get the permit), so i am not sure exactly what i would want to do yet. Figured id get the posts in and have the grassy look and if necessary i could cut plastic maybe and lay rock on top of it if the maintanence become too much.

What tool is used to pack the rock around the posts? I will look into maybe putting a few inches at the bottom of concrete. What's the best way to get it concaved if i do?

Do you guys normally dig the post hole a half an inch or so tanget to the property line (i was thinking of having a surveyor survey the sides that touch neighboring lots)? Is it worth staining the bottoms of the posts and let dry before burying them?
 
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Old 08-12-16, 10:45 AM
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You can use most anything to tamp the dirt/gravel along side the post; shovel handle, 2x4, etc.

Doubt there would be any benefit from staining the underground portion of the post, coating them with foundation tar might be beneficial but most do nothing and they hold up a long time.
 
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Old 08-12-16, 03:59 PM
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IMO - I would just put gravel at the bottom so any water will drain. Then just just cover the rest with dirt/grass. I would not use any concrete. Of course pressure treated posts are recommended.
 
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Old 09-06-16, 10:39 AM
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I will be starting to dig the holes this weekend, the frostline goes to about 40 inches, i planned on digging 42 inches and using 8ft 4x4's. If i fill the crushed rock up to the needed height for 1/3 of the post to be buried, will this be the same concept as using cement as far as the frostline? I was wondering if water would still feeeze and get under the post if gravel was used, or if i am understanding wrong. Thanks.

**Also, what type of rock is best for this? I was thinking just regular crushed gravel, but i was reading about crushed limestone, is this the same?
 
 

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