The idea of installing a fence post without concrete may seem unrealistic or even impossible, but there are several ways it can be done.
Maybe you have a fence post you want to install, but you want to be able to remove it easily at a later date and you know this can be challenging when you use concrete to fill the hole.
Or, maybe you just don’t want the hassle of mixing and pouring concrete all afternoon, but you’re at a loss as to how you can put a strong, reliable post in the ground without a solid concrete base.
Putting in a fence post without concrete can be done by using gravel and a support beam. You’ll have to dig the hole, create the support beam, start to fill in the hole while placing the beam at the angle you want, and then finish filling in it in.
Let’s say you need to install a fence post (or posts) without the messy, cumbersome, and not-exactly-easy use of concrete.
There aren’t a ton of options. But using gravel as a means to secure a fence post has been growing as a popular alternative, and is well worth exploring if you don’t want to deal with concrete.
I love working around my property and improving it for myself, my family, and our animals. As a kid, I watched my dad dig endless holes for fence posts and pour many a bag of concrete.
The idea of being able to put in a fence post without concrete sounds enticing.
Dive deeper with me and see if it’s actually a reality.
How to Put in a Fence Post Without Concrete
Though concrete is a popular choice for anchoring fence posts, it’s not always ideal.
The time to mix it, the tools needed, and the fact that it’s hard to move once placed make many of us look for alternatives to using concrete as our bedrock of choice.
Gravel is a great option for putting in a fence post if you’d prefer to not use concrete.
In fact, gravel is one of three ingredients that make up concrete – water and cement being the other two.
Using gravel can be a highly effective option for securing your fence post if you follow these steps:
1. Dig the Right-Sized Hole
You will want your hole to be the same size as it would have been if you were using concrete.
The depth of your hole will be determined by the size of your fence post.
The general rule of thumb is that your hole should be anywhere from one-third to one-half as deep as your fence post is high.
So, if you have a standard, five-foot fence, you’ll want to make your hold depth anywhere from two feet to two and a half feet deep.
As far as the width of your hole, plan on making it three times the diameter of your post.
So again, if you are working with a 4×4 post, you should plan on making your hole about twelve inches in diameter.
Keep in mind that the softer, or more porous your dirt is, the deeper and wider you will want to dig, in order to create more stability for your fence post.
Fence post diggers work great for this kind of work, but if you have dirt that’s hard to work with, or you have multiple holes you need to dig, consider renting a fence post auger to help do the job.
(Your back and shoulders will thank you later!)
2. Make a Support Beam for Your Fence Post
This is a key part of securing a fence post without the use of concrete.
A support beam will hold your fence post in place much more effectively than if you simply sink it into the gravel.
No matter how deep your hole is, the gravel will eventually allow for some movement without the stability of a support beam.
The beam can be made out of a standard 2×4 and is strongest when it’s twice as long as your fence post is wide.
This doesn’t have to be an exact measurement but just remember – the support beam needs to be wide enough to really create tension against the gravel to keep your post from moving.
Nail or screw the support beam about 3-5 inches from the bottom of your post. It will be perpendicular, creating a T-formation.
3. Start to Fill in the Hole
Before you put the fence post in the hole, go ahead and fill about one-quarter of it with your gravel rocks.
Pea gravel is a great material to use for this and is widely available at box stores and local hardware stores.
You will want to make sure you get some of the gravel dust mixed in with the rocks for added stability.
Some pea gravel comes with sand mixed in for added security.
4. Place the Fence Post (with Support Beam) in the Hole
Place your fence post in the hole, making sure the support beam side is down and resting heavily on the gravel.
You’ll want the support beam to be as level as possible because once you put it on the next layer of rock, it won’t be easy to move. If you have a leveling tool, use it for the most accuracy.
5. Finish Filling in the Hole
Keep filling the hole with the gravel, while stopping from time to time to ensure your post is straight and placed where you want it.
As you continue to fill, it will become increasingly difficult to move the post.
Keep filling the hole until the gravel is flush with the ground.
At this point, you should not be able to wiggle the post, no matter how many hours you’ve spent at the gym.
Summing Up Installing a Fence Post Without Concrete
If you don’t want to use concrete while putting in your fence post, the other great option is to use gravel and a support beam to get the job done.
This will allow you to securely place the fence post where you want it without having to go to the trouble of getting and pouring concrete.