Be a Post Master, Installing Deck and Fencing Posts
Well-built outdoor projects start with accurate layout of post locations. A few 1x2s, a length of mason's string, and simple arithmetic will get you to that goal.
Many of the pergolas, garden gates, decks, arbors, and other outdoor structures featured in WOOD magazine call for posts set in straight lines and with square corners. A few 1x2s, a length of mason's string, and simple arithmetic will get you to that goal.
The illustrations and captions on these pages show you the essential steps in locating and lining up the posts you'll need. Posts set in the ground, and anchored with concrete, are the best way to support a gate, a fence, or a pergola with an attached swing.
Use posts made of pressure-treated lumber or foundation-grade (heartwood) cedar. Make sure to sink them deeper than the frost line for your area, to counter the effects of frost heaving. For a neater job, and added protection against heaving, buy cardboard tubes at your home center to line the post holes before filling them with concrete.
Before you go too far, check with local or county government officials to make sure your project plans are in compliance with building codes and ordinances regarding setback from your property line. Also, call 811 from any phone in the U.S. (or the "One Call" phone number for your province in Canada), and ask to have the buried pipes and wires on your property located and marked before you dig.