If you’re wondering how many fence panels you need for your garden fence installation, we have a helpful guide for you.
Calculating the number of panels can be simple in some cases. You can count the existing panels or measure the length of the fence run and convert it to the equivalent panel width. However, most gardens have uneven plots, so additional measurements are usually necessary. In the UK, standard fence panels are 6ft (1.83m) wide, while European panels are typically 1.8m wide. This 3cm difference in width may seem small but will have a much larger impact over a longer fence run. Standard panels are available in various heights ranging from 2ft to 6ft.
Here are the steps to determine the number of panels needed:
Step 1: Measure the space
If you are replacing an existing fence:
You need to measure the whole length of the fence run using a tape measure or measuring wheel. You can easily hire a measuring wheel if you don’t have one.
Top tip: ensure that your tape measure is straight when measuring your fence, rather than following the varying ground height or following the top fence line.
For new fence installations or changes in fence position:
This instance is different to the previous one – an accurate measurement must be taken that instead does account for ground level variation.
For level ground:
Place short stakes at both ends and measure the distance between them. You can use a fencer’s line or a spirit level to mark this.
For sloping or variable ground:
Use a taller peg at the lower end and a shorter peg at the higher end to create a level string line between them. A spirit level will be needed for this method. If the slope is too steep, mark a string line following the slope, but keep in mind that your measurement will be slightly longer than the final requirement for panel calculation.
If the fence changes direction along multiple sides of the garden:
Measure each direction separately and keep the measurements separate.
Step 2: Select your fence panels
You will then need to choose the appropriate style of fence panels that matches your garden design. For the best value solution, traditional timber lap panels are popular option for many garden fences. Closeboard panels are also a cost-effective option that add an extra design to your fencing. For a design-led approach, many decorative panels with on-trend patterns are also available. Popular designs include the Marlow or Malvern patterns, or even the Montpellier and Tintern panels which offer closed horizontal boards. As mentioned previously, each of these options comes in a standard width of 6ft / 1.83cm with different options for height. With these sizes in mind, simply divide your fence length by the panel size to determine the initial number of panels needed.
For example, for a fence run of 80ft divided by 6ft, you will require just over 13 panels. Bear in mind this is just the initial calculation as the size of fence posts must also be accounted for.
Step 3: Choose your fence posts
You’ll need one more post than the number of panels to support both ends of each panel. As an example, if you have five fence panels you will need six fence posts.
Choosing the appropriate size and type of fence posts is very important. Different manufacturers prioritize different qualities, we at G&MB Manning have always made timber fence posts that are durable and made to last. We stock 75mm square and 100mm square posts as our standard sizes for domestic fencing. We also carry a range of styles and shapes in timber, concrete, and steel, each available for your ideal design.
It’s important to remember that your fence posts will make up a portion of the length of your fence – over a fence with 6 posts, this accounts for 450mm of the total run. You will need to deduct the length accounted for by the posts from the total fence length.
For the example we’ve been using of an 80ft garden fence, you will need approximately 13 panels which, if it’s is a single run will need 14 fence posts. For 100mm square posts, this will comprise a total of 1400mm (4.59ft) of the total length, with a remaining 22.98m needed for the fence panels. Converted, this means that 12.7 panels will be needed between 13 posts.
Also consider the corners if the fence changes direction. Typically, a single post or a specialized corner post is used, but in some cases, two posts might be necessary. Perhaps try sketching out the design of the fence if that helps
What if my garden isn’t an exact size?
If there’s extra space after installing the required number of panels (as in the above example), you can order custom panels from a manufacturer like us. We have years of experience designing and creating bespoke panels to perfectly fill any leftover space in your fence, along with a post to secure it.
Another option could be to cut panels down to size or you could consider using a trellis panel as an infill. For a professional-looking finish, closeboard fencing with feather edge boards allows customization to specific lengths, a bonus of which is there is no need to include the posts and rails in the calculations.
Don’t forget your gravel boards:
Don’t forget about gravel boards, which are recommended to prolong the life of your panels. Gravel boards, typically 150mm in height, sit beneath the fence panels to protect them from weather damage, insects, and debris. You’ll need the same number of gravel boards as fence panels.
Top tip: you can help look after local wildlife by asking us to cut out a hedgehog hole. We can add a 135mm x 100mm hole into your gravel boards specifically to allow hedgehogs to roam between gardens. Hedgehog numbers in the UK are sadly in decline, and a lack of room to roam is a huge factor. Fencing, often seen as one of the major issues for this, can be altered to be part of the solution. Visit the Hedgehog Street website for more information.
If you feel overwhelmed or need assistance with fence installation, our expert team is available to help. Alternatively, you can explore our certified Installer Network, consisting of verified independent fencing installers who specialize in durable fencing by G&MB Manning. Like us, they always look to provide the best quality service on every project.