Background: I know you're not supposed to dig a really wide hole for a fence post hole. But the previous owner of my home did not know that. He or she dug a really wide hole, filled it with a bunch of pavers and other junk, and poured a really big piece of concrete.

The fence post broke last month and I'm finally getting around to fixing it. So I dug out all the concrete and am using a tube to make it a little more manageable.

Question: What do I fill around the cylinder form? Dirt or gravel? I'm afraid that if I use dirt, it won't be compact enough and won't offer enough support. Or maybe I should use sand or something. I don't know.

Note: I was able to get about 8 inches deeper than the previous owner into really solid ground, so the form is stuck in there very tightly. Also, this will be for a metal fence post.

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1 Answer 1


I ended up just putting the dirt back and tamping it down really hard with some random tools b/c I don't have a tamper. First I used the curved end of a large crowbar. Then I used a sledge hammer. I just filled in w/ dirt about 6 inches and then pounded all around for about 3 minutes. Then filled w/ dirt again. Not sure if this was "the" right way, but seems to be working really well. Very little wiggle room between the form and the ground.

  • 2
    That's the way it is done, what ever you have that will work, that gets it tight. I have a "special" 2X4 that I use. It is about 3 1/2 ft. long tapered to a handle on one end. been using it for years. When the space is to narrow for that I grab a piece of 1X
    – Jack
    Commented May 11, 2014 at 13:40
  • 1
    @Trevor You should accept your own answer already,:)
    – user113627
    Commented Jul 25, 2021 at 23:42
  • Years later that post is still strong!
    – Trevor
    Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 6:06

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