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I'm interested in installing a wood privacy fence myself. I've watched a bunch of tutorials and feel pretty confident with the process except for one thing. Everything I've seen talks about squaring up the corners, however, my lot is not square. How do you do corners that are less than 90 degrees (corners B or D) or more than 90 degrees (corners A or C)? I'm also a little stumped about what to do with corner C. Would the post go on the outside of the fence?

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Update: Thanks everyone for your input. There were a lot of comments about building a fence on the easement. The permit was previously approved even with the fence going over the easement. However, I've reached out the utility companies and they said I might not be able to put the fence on the easement but they were going to review my plat of survey and maybe come do a site visit. So, I called my village permitting department and they said that it's my property so I can put the fence there regardless of what the utility companies say. That response seems a little strange to me, so I'm not sure what the outcome will be. My backdoor neighbor already has a fence along the back of my lot so I figured it wouldn't be a big deal. I would consider using their fence instead of building my own, but it's a two rail split rail fence and won't really do a good job at keeping the dog in.

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  • Why block the easement? Don’t they need access...
    – Solar Mike
    May 22 at 8:29
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    Use the angles best for your land. I would put the C post on the side best for mounting fence. You do know you need the free utility service to find buried pipes/cables before digging.
    – crip659
    May 22 at 13:50
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    @cochi That 10 foot space is so they can do switching. Your permit will probably be turned down for encroaching in the easement. The 10 foot easement is so trucks can get in to replace the utility boxes. They can knock down your fence and not be responsible for fixing it.
    – JACK
    May 22 at 13:52
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    At a minimum, I'd make the fence section between B and C easy to remove. But @JACK is right: they can drive over it without consequences. May 22 at 14:10
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    @AloysiusDefenestrate And also the section of "A" that crosses the easement.
    – JACK
    May 22 at 14:16
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Any code I'm aware of doesn't allow permanent structure to block easement. And by privacy you are speaking of stockade style fencing? Just want to be clear.

But your questions: Place post C on the outside or two on the inside if you insist with each placed flush with end of that section of fence.

For acute angles use scrap to shim angles, or one post per side of angle as close to end of fencing.

For ease of installation and aesthetics, unless there is a particular reason you need a complex corner, I would eliminate post (corner) C completely and consider fencing the angle from B to D. If C is the 10' clearance then set B and D farther away from that corner and don't sweat the minimal real estate lost.

fence detail

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  • Your suggestion still has non-90 degree angles. The OP wants to know how to handle them.
    – Mattman944
    May 22 at 14:22
  • True. One question at a time. Per design put the post on the inside of the corner, as mentioned in earlier comments. May 22 at 14:31
  • I skirted the question unintentionally because I saw there seemed to be bigger issues qith this. May 22 at 15:51
  • Thanks, @GWarner! The privacy fence I'm planning to install is with 6 ft dog-eared pickets placed really close together. I really like your idea of eliminating corner C. This way seems a lot more do-able. I previously came across a post for doing the wider corners that I was planning to follow but they made it sound like shims aren't necessary. diy.stackexchange.com/questions/114889/… May 23 at 3:11
  • @GWarner Also, regarding building a fence on the easement... The permit was previously approved even with the fence going over the easement. However, I've reached out to the utility companies and they said I might not be able to put the fence on the easement but they were going to review my plat of survey and maybe come do a site visit. So, I called my village permitting department and they said that it's my property so I can put the fence there regardless of what the utility companies say. That response seems a little strange to me, so I'm not sure what the outcome will be. May 23 at 3:11
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Squaring the corners

In the context of a wood fence "squaring up the corners" means to me to ensure the post is plumb and that it is rotated at the "right" angle to match the fence design. Assuming a post with square cross section, when building a 90 degree corner the post would be rotated so that its faces are perpendicular to the rails coming into that post.

Because your corners are not 90 degrees you could rotate the post so that one rail will be perpendicular or split the difference across the two directions. In either case the ends of the rails would be cut at an angle to match the face of the post.

A sliding T-bevel is a tool that may come in handy for transferring the angle from the field to the chop saw/miter box. (Thanks to Home Depot for the photo)

sliding T bevel

Thoughts about the easement

If you're in the USA your use (rather, the utilities' use) of the easement-encumbered space is probably governed by state law. Law in my state provides that the public utility must repair at its own expense things such as a fence, grass, low-lying vegetation, irrigation, and concrete which it might disturb while working in the public utility easement. If a property owner places other improvements in the easement the property owner does so at his own risk. A utility which disturbs a tree or a shed in an easement, for example, has no duty to repair or replace that thing.

Check the laws applicable in your area. The utilities themselves, your municipality, or a state public utility commission may be of help. Or you could try searching the state code yourself to learn the specifics. We can infer from the plat map drawing that your lot is an interior one on a block of maybe 18 other lots. In my opinion it's extremely unlikely that a utility is going to want to drive any truck down the middle of the block, especially since you mention that there are no overhead utilities. In the unlikely event they needed to perform work back there they'd much prefer to park on the public road out front and access your rear yard via the 11 foot opening on the left side. You'd likely be within your rights to deny them entry there, but if you did they could instead have their way by traversing along the easement.

Honestly... if it were me I'd build the fence with the BCD corner included into the lot and in such a way that the fence can be readily disassembled. Building a portion of it as a gate is a clever way of doing that but might be more work than is warranted. "Easily disassembled" might just mean using hardware to mount the rails and pickets such that at most two pickets have to be removed and then the whole panel can be lifted away intact.

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  • Good post. Let's see if the OP will want help with that removable fence section, May 22 at 15:08
  • Thanks! Regarding building a fence on the easement... The permit was previously approved even with the fence going over the easement. However, I've reached out to the utility companies and they said I might not be able to put the fence on the easement but they were going to review my plat of survey and maybe come do a site visit. So, I called my village permitting department and they said that it's my property so I can put the fence there regardless of what the utility companies say. That response seems a little strange to me, so I'm not sure what the outcome will be. May 23 at 2:56
  • I'm also curious about different types of removable fence panels. Do they still need to get trucks through if the lines are underground instead of above? (I'm thinking bucket trucks.) I've tried searching for different ways to do this but I've only come across this sort of hardware, but that would leave a gap in the pickets. Were you thinking I should try to do a removable post, too? Removable posts seem a lot more complicated so I'd rather avoid that if possible. May 23 at 3:00
  • In the case where I split the difference across the two directions, how do you go about determining what angle to miter the rails? I had been thinking of following the directions on this previous post: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/114889/… May 23 at 3:00
  • @cochi if the rails are screwed to the posts, then the pickets screwed to the rails, you should only have to remove the pickets at the posts where the rails attach, then remove the rails from the posts & remove a complete fence panel to give them access. If you make one or two sections a full 8' in width, that should be more than enough for any reasonable road-going vehicle to drive through.
    – FreeMan
    May 24 at 16:15

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