Hardscaping 101: Hog Wire Fence

What I’ve noticed more and more lately (and admired) are hog wire panels: used for fences, gates, and trellises. A mainstay on ranches for decades, hog wire panels been discovered by homeowners and landscape designers as an affordable, low-profile solution for maintaining a wide-open view while keeping animals out. They even possess a certain elegance.

hog wire fence hydrangeas kettelkamp project

Above: A see-through hog wire gate welcomes guests to a Michigan summer house by Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp. Photograph courtesy of Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp.

What are hog wire panels?

Also called cattle or livestock panels, hog wire panels are made of steel rods welded at every intersection and galvanized with a zinc coating. Feed- and livestock-supply companies sell different styles with different rod gauges. You’ll want a heavy gauge for a longer-lasting fence that won’t sag.

hog wire fence with vines

How do you construct a hog wire fence?

Four-foot-high hog wire panels, a common size, come in 16-foot lengths, which are usually cut in half to make 8-foot sections. For posts, my local landscape contractor recommends using 4-by-4-inch pressure-treated Douglas fir, set in concrete. The stringers (or rails) at the top and bottom of the fence could be 2-by-4-inch pressure-treated fir or redwood. You can either staple the hog panels to the posts, or sandwich the panels between 1-by-1-inch pieces of redwood to hide the ends of the wire.

Most homeowners in my Northern California town are concerned about keeping deer out of gardens, so they often add a 2-by-12-inch kickboard at the bottom to make the overall fence 6 feet high. You need at least that to keep deer out.

hog wire fence and garden gate

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