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I'm looking to replace a fence section that was taken down by some contractors a few years back. They said they had to take it down because that was the only approach to my back yard that was wide enough to run equipment through. There's only about 6 feet of clearance there between my house and a big blackjack oak tree, but that's way better than the other side. When I do this, I need to make sure to put a gate at least that wide in, so hopefully it won't have to get taken down again.

I'm thinking of doing it myself since its only about 8-10ish feet total. I figure with Postmaster steel posts, since its constantly shady and moist over there between my house and the large Blackjack Oak, so it seems like wood posts might not last too long.

Here's what I was able to whip up as a rough drawing (thanks to Virtual-Graph-Paper.com). Each major graph block is about 1' x 1'.

enter image description here

I want to run from my neighbor's fence to the side of my house, but there's some layout issues. If I run straight across from where his fence starts, that would run to my back deck, not the side of my house. So I'm either going to need to run this at an angle to hit the back of my house (I made a rough measurement of 19 degrees), or jog around the tree on my side of the property line. Doing that at right angles would obviously require buying extra fence posts, creating 2 small fence bits with a run of 1-2 feet. Also, both of those posts would have to get sunk near said Oak tree, which of course is liable to have roots in the way.

enter image description here

My wife (sharper than I) suggested I just run the fence (and gate) at the angle to our house, straight to the existing fencepost. I'm wondering if that's a reasonable thing to do. It seems far and away the simplest (and cheapest!), but I can't remember ever seeing anyone with an angled fence line to their house for their back yard. I'm worried there may be a good reason for that I don't know about.

enter image description here

So I guess the basic question here is: Is there a problem having the facing fenceline to the back yard at an angle. I should add that as a design goal, I'd also like to maximize possible clearance width in my gate, so the fence won't have to be taken down again.

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    People are crazy for pictures on this stack. A picture would really help with this question. How about you draw a birdseye view of your yard with the landmarks you describe and your proposed fence and add the image to this question.
    – Willk
    Oct 27 '21 at 1:50
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    On your land, you can run the fence any way you want. Line fences between neighbours can be more picky. Usually easier to run a fence in a straight line than to have it run around a tree.
    – crip659
    Oct 27 '21 at 10:55
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    Unless you have a HOA that has rules, or there are some oddball local codes about fences, you could design your fence in a zig-zag pattern and it will hold up just fine. It's all in how you install it, not the angle at which it's installed. When we installed our fence years ago, we put the gate in at a 45° angle across one corner. This avoided the gate opening into our neighbor's yard, or opening directly at a tree. The only issue we've had is that the latch side post has gotten a bit loose after a couple of decades.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 27 '21 at 12:25
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    @Willk - OK, added.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 27 '21 at 14:43
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    @FreeMan - Fortunately no mandatory HOA here, praise Jesus.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 27 '21 at 14:48
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Based on the added drawings, I see no drawbacks to either method of installing the gate.

Having angled sections does make it a bit more challenging to get the fence rail appropriately attached, but if you've got a miter saw (either powered or hand), or even just a hand saw, you can cut the fence rails at the proper angle to join up to the posts.*

The one recommendation I'd make is to combine the drawings just a bit.

  • Locate the post by the tree per your first drawing so you have a simple 90° join to the neighbor's fence.
    • By not having any sort of odd angle when attaching to the neighbor's fence post, you won't have to worry about anything more than a few screws into his post. Nice and simple.
  • Make the angle a little steeper between the house and the relocated "middle" post.
    • This post is entirely your property, so if you need to notch it some to help with the join, you're free to do so without having to run it past the neighbor.
    • As an added bonus, this will give slightly more room between the tree and house if you ever need to get another large vehicle into the back yard.
  • When setting the post by your house, set it so it is 90° to the gate, not to the house.
    • This will eliminate another "weird" angle for attaching the gate to the post.
    • If, using a post just set on the ground for a visual, you don't like the look of a 4x4 set at an angle by the house, invest in a 4x6" post. Set the 4" side 90° to the gate, then mark & cut a bevel to make the other side "square" to the house. Of course, lumber is a bit spendy these days, so it's up to you to determine if the extra cost is worth the improved look.

I would suggest that a 6' wide gate will be difficult to swing and to keep it square. I'd suggest that you make two 3' wide gates, hinged at each side and meeting in the middle. Since you mention steel posts, you could have a removable center post where the two meet by sinking a sleeve into the ground, then dropping the "actual" post into the sleeve. If you need to move something > 3' through, open both gates, pull the center post and you're good to go. If you don't want to do that, you could just have the gates latch to each other. I'd suggest some sort of steel rod from the bottom of one gate that goes into the ground to keep them from blowing open in a stiff breeze, much like French doors usually have one door that latches to the jamb in the center (top & bottom), then the other door latches to the first.


*This is presuming a wooden fence. If you're putting up any sort of metal fence on round posts, then attaching them at an angle is as simple as pivoting the mounting brackets to the desired angle before tightening the bolts.

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    Wooden is a correct presumption. That's what all the fences around me are, although the existing one pictured uses wood posts and beams, but iron bars rather than slats (its not privacy). IMHO the flip side to doing without a mandatory HOA is that its up to me to not be an asshole. by doing things that clash outrageously, like putting up a chain-link fence next to a wood one.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 27 '21 at 15:31
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    Totally doable, @T.E.D. You may need to get a bit creative when it comes to attaching the rails to the posts, but by going 90° from the neighbors, they're your posts and you can hack on them all you want/need!
    – FreeMan
    Oct 27 '21 at 15:34
  • Honestly, the whole angle thing I'm a little leery about, but it looks like there are metal angle adapter brackets for that kind of thing? I don't think there's any way to cut an angle into a fencemaster steel post, since its a u-shaped piece of metal with pre-drilled mounting holes.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 27 '21 at 15:44
  • I don't know about that. It would make for a good, new question though. Honestly, we built our fence when our oldest was 1. That was 25 years ago. The PT 4x4 posts are a little worse for the wear on the tops where the end-grain is exposed because we didn't do a good job of protecting them (one coat of paint every 10 years or so isn't a "good job"). We've got one post that's a bit wobbly, but that's a gate post and it's near a tree, so the roots may have hit the bottom. We've got almost 0 rot. I think you'd be OK with PT wood, but that's my opinion.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 27 '21 at 16:03

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