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11/04/2011

Wrought Iron Fence Installation on a Hill, Grade or Slope

Most yards have some level of grade to them.  This can be anything from a slight variation to a complete hillside.  This can impact how you approach installing your wrought iron fence and is a question we get asked fairly often.

While some manufacturers offer a panel that 'racks' or bends in an angle to work with grade, we do not.  Why?  The answer is simple:  strength and durability.  In order for a panel to rack up and down for grade, you have to have one weaker weld that will bend.  Not only does this decrease the overall strength of a panel, but when you bend that weld, it will often pop the finish off and create a potential rust area.  We don't feel the merits of offering racking outweigh those very significant weaknesses.  For that reason, our Stronghold Iron is welded solid.  Our panels do not rack.  So, you ask, how do I handle the grade in my yard with your panels?  Well, that depends on how much grade we are dealing with, so first we need to determine that.

This can easily be done with an 8ft length of board, a level and a tape measure.  First, lay your board on the ground in the direction the fence will be running.  Next, set your level on top of the board.  On the end facing down the grade, pick the board up until the level shows even.  Now measure from the bottom of your board end you are holding up down to the grass.  This is your slope over 8ft (the same length as our panels).  Now we know what we are working with! 

There is no hard and fast rule on what range of slope measurement translates to the best method to address it.  We will go through a couple options, but the best way to select a method is to give us a call or email us so we can get a feel for your yard and wants to help make the best decision.  Here are some options when dealing with grade:

  • Do Nothing!  - A fence of any kind does not generally follow every dip and hill in a yard.  Small variations of only a couple inches can be left alone unless you are trying to keep a small pet in.  You can always re-grade by leveling off a small bump with a shovel or back filling with some type of landscaping material.  The first photo in our gallery shows a beautiful example of someone using landscape stone to work around a grade in a corner.
  • Stair-Stepping - This is where you mount a panel between your posts and then mount the next one a little higher or lower to follow grade.  The end effect is a stepped look.  This is traditionally how fences addressed grade.  Depending on how much grade you are dealing with, you may need longer posts.  Your Iron Fence Shop sales professional can help advise if that is necessary.  Larger slopes may require splitting panels.  For instance, an 8 inch gap can be reduced to a 4 inch gap by splitting a panel and putting a post in center.  The gallery below shows a couple examples of stair-stepped panel installations.
  • Custom Panels - Sometimes a slope is too great to be handled by stair-stepping.  That, or a customer does not like the look of a stair-stepped fence.  In this case, we can custom make panels that will follow your particular grade.  All we need is your slope measurements (that we outlined above how to get).  Let us know those and we can custom make a panel that will follow the slope. There is a CAD of a custom slope panel in the gallery below.     

Have more questions on how to deal with installing an iron fence on a grade?  Give us a call or shoot us an email!