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I've never built a fence or have never done any outdoor construction. I'm pretty handy and do most of my interior maintenance. I have a total of 780 feet where I need to put up a fence. I'm still undecided if I want to build a wall of cinder blocks or an actual fence. I'm in Florida so the fence needs to be sturdy for high wind storms. This is why I am considering a wall instead.

However, pricing is a factor. Fence or wall, they are both pricey since this is to cover a 1.24 acre property. Obviously, wall/cinder would be more expensive but fence or wall, they are both $20k+ to do at minimum not counting anything in the front yet. That cost is for aluminum fencing with labor but I don't want to go aluminum and want privacy. With materials, time, patience and some friends, I figured we can build something solid and elegant. I just don't know where to get started.

For the sake of this post, lets just go with a wall. The cost here will be invested in materials but not labor even though time is money. With that said, here are some questions:

  • What appropriate tools should I purchase for a job like this? Considering I'll be doing more outdoor work in the future like pavers, asphalt and concrete, the investment in the right tools would be great. Cost of materials and tools would probably be A LOT less expensive than paying someone to do the work.
  • How do I get started considering I have never done this?
  • Any good docs/sites that have step by step guides on how to properly dig, rebar, etc?

I have a pickup truck so renting heavy machinery from my local Home Depot isn't an issue either. I also have a trailer to haul materials as well.

For what its worth, my property is flat so I won't need to change elevation when building a property wall. If this sounds more trouble than what it's worth, my second option would be a wooden fence by horizontally placed rather than vertical. Only the posts would be vertical, obviously.

Thanks in advance

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    I think you're underestimating how much work installing a cinder block wall will be, while overestimating the power of wind. I'd recommend that you rethink your reasons for not installing a wood fence. If wind is the primary reason, I think burying the bottom 2-3 feet of the fence posts underground surrounded by concrete, and using Simpson or USP metal hangers/brackets instead of toenailing, that your wood fence will bend with the wind and not fail/fall apart. If you want a block wall for other reasons, then go ahead. I just want to make sure you're not making a decision based on wind alone. – Dotes Jul 23 at 12:52
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    @Dotes 100% In addition, a cinder block wall will, I think, require a concrete or other footing "everywhere" while a wood fence will only require a footing every 'x' feet - that can make a huge difference in the work involved. Plus cinder blocks are heavy - just moving enough for 780' of tall-enough-for-privacy walls will be a lot of work. – manassehkatz-Reinstate Monica Jul 23 at 14:46
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    Can you do it? Sure! My wife & I build a garage 25 years ago with zero construction experience beyond a couple of seasons of This Old House. Do note the concerns expressed about wind, footings and materials. Give it some thought, talk to the pro desk at your local big-box - they'll help you estimate materials, check with your building inspector to ensure you've got all the important details sorted before hand, then go for it! – FreeMan Jul 23 at 17:04
  • You all present good points. Though wind is a big factor, I want privacy and also ensuring it looks good. I know it won’t be easy and my lack of knowledge in constructive might make it appear as I’m underestimating. However, I know it can or will be challenging. But, I never thought about simplicity and beauty with a chain link fence and hedges as suggested below. I think we are on to something – Tito Valentin Aug 6 at 9:39
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If your main goal is privacy, take advantage of the fact that you are in Florida. You can grow things. Grow a hedge.

hedge source: https://www.ehow.com/info_7984475_plants-hedges-southwest-florida.html

Bob Vila gives 10 options for Florida hedge plants here. https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/the-best-10-plants-to-grow-for-backyard-privacy-50057

Hedges will maintain themselves. They will grow back if damaged by wind. They are prettier than a chainlink fence or cinderblock wall (!) and much cheaper.

I would look around and see who has hedges you like. If you have someone who is interested in aesthetics in the house, and who will be pleased to know cinderblock wall is out of the running, bring him or her with on your hedge seeking mission. Some hedges make pretty flowers. Clip off a piece and bring it to a nursery and have them sell you young plants. Use your energy to plant your hedges. You will have a "wall" in no time.

  • I never thought about this and seems gorgeous. I need a fence to keep wildlife out and children in since I’m in a rural area. What if I add a chain link fence and hedges on both sides of the fence to make it look nice? Or do hedges grow in a way to cover both sides of the fence?I don’t have an irrigation system, though. How often would I need to water these? The summer in FL is ok because we get so much rain but concerned about fall, winter, and spring. – Tito Valentin Aug 6 at 9:35
  • People at a big landscaping nursery will be delighted to advise you about these matters. You have lots of options in Florida. They might even have advice about how to hold the line until the hedge comes in thick. Hedge can definitely camouflage a chain link fence but I would hate to spend the $ on a metal fence that is ultimately unnecessary. Animals are not going to bust thru a privet hedge! – Willk Aug 10 at 18:42
  • Thanks for the advice. I’ll look into these options for sure – Tito Valentin Aug 11 at 23:44
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    We decided to go with the hedges. We’ve seen a lot of beautiful and cost effective options for privacy and somewhat security. – Tito Valentin Sep 21 at 9:45
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Does the fence need to be solid for privacy? If not, consider a chain-link fence. You set the poles, unroll the fencing along and attach it to the poles with wire clips, then if you want to avoid having it sag, you run a pipe or just a thick wire along the top through eyes on the tops of the poles. When you get to the end, you rent a come-along fence puller to pull it all tight. Done. Wind goes right through it. enter image description here

If you want privacy, you can buy slats that slip into the chain links. Not terribly attractive, but effective and easy to implement.

enter image description here

  • I like the simplicity of the chain linked fence and of course cost. However, it just looks terrible for our beautiful home imho. But I never thought about combining it with hedges – Tito Valentin Aug 6 at 9:28
  • I planted jasmine at the base of my chain link fence, it grew into a very nice green wall that smells fantastic in the warm summer nights. I can no longer see the chain links. – JRaef Aug 8 at 23:53

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