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If your fence is leaning and in need of repairs, do this immediately

You may be standing at the kitchen sink, drinking your morning cup of coffee, looking into your backyard zen garden when you notice your fence is leaning! Before you panic, be assured that you can fix it, and it doesn’t have to be an expensive fix either. However, a leaning or broken fence can lower curb appeal, fail at keeping pets or children inside, and get more costly if you don’t repair it quickly. So don’t let it go too long and read on to find out how to fix a leaning fence, whether it’s metal or wood.

How to know when it’s time to fix a leaning fence

As soon as you notice something wrong with your fence, it’s best to fix it right away. Leaving a leaning or broken fence for too long can cause more damage. It may also get worse and cost more money and may require more labor to fix it.

Additionally, a broken fence can’t do its job of keeping things in or other things out. For example, if you have dogs or kids that play in the backyard, a broken fence may allow them to escape or enable a predator like a lost dog or coyote to slip through. So when you notice that leaning pole, or when you accidentally back into the fence with the lawnmower and bend a post, it’s time to fix it. 

Chain-link fence

What causes a fence to lean?

There are several reasons why a fence might start to lean or become bent:

  1. It might be because the wooden post is rotten at the base, causing the post to be comprised and start leaning.
  2. The ground under the post might be eroding, causing the post and its support to move.
  3. It might have been bent or pushed over caused by impact.

Maybe you hit it with the lawnmower, or perhaps, the delivery guy backed into it. Bent and leaning fences can happen in several ways, so let’s get into how to fix them!

Tools you’ll need to fix your leaning fence

You might already have these items lying around your shed, but if you don’t, take a look and head to the hardware store before starting this project. This makes the project run smoother and avoids any annoying last-minute runs to the store in the middle of trying to fix your fence. 

  • Spade
  • Level
  • Drill or impact driver
  • Bucket
  • Replacement post (if completely replacing)
  • Screws
  • Bag of quick-set concrete
  • Bag of gravel

How to fix a leaning fence

Now that you’ve figured out what has caused the fence to lean or become bent and have gathered your tools, you can now jump into fixing it and getting your fence back to its original condition.

Remove the post from the fencing

Before you can do anything, you’ll have to detach the leaning post from the rest of the fence. This allows you to work with the post without fighting the fencing. Depending on the type of fence, this might be harder or easier.

Pull the post from the ground

This is easier said than done, but you’ll have to do this for almost every type of fence repair. If the post is set in concrete, you’ll have an even bigger hole to dig, and if it’s not, you’ll want to dig a bigger hole anyway, to set the new one in concrete and prevent this leaning from happening again. Dig around the concrete and give yourself enough room to replace the pole and concrete.

Put the new post in the new hole

Place the new post in the hole and use a level to ensure it matches the rest of the fence. Set it with concrete again.

Backfill the new post hole

Once you let the concrete cure for about 4 to 6 hours, you can start putting things back together. Backfill the hole with some rocks first, and then use topsoil or the soil you dug up to fill it in the rest of the way. Remember, the soil will slowly settle over time, so slightly hump the soil around the post, so it settles level with the ground around it.

How to fix a post rocking in its footing

If the post is rocking in its concrete footing, you can use a steel wedge and drive it between the post and the concrete. This straightens the post without you having to dig up the concrete and reset everything completely.

Wooden fence

How to fix a rotting wooden post

If you have a rotting wooden post, you can use straps that can be driven down between the post and the concrete and then secured to the healthy part of the post to reinforce it and help it stand up straight again. There are also brackets you can use for posts in corners or other hard-to-reach locations. Now you have a strong post without having to replace everything.

How to fix a gap under a fence

For a chain-link fence, you can use chain-link fence stakes to pull the fence closer to the ground. Or you can attach the tension wire to the chain-like fence rather than just to the posts. Use steel hog rings to install a bottom rail to hold the tension of the fence.

If the gap is too big to fix by strengthening the tension within your fence, or if you have a wooden fence, you can use a metal dog fence guard, which is a mini fence that you can easily stick in the ground. Or you can use concrete blocks to cover the gap, but that isn’t very aesthetically pleasing. If you need to find a pretty way to cover a gap, try some of these garden ideas, and when you finish, you may consider some DIY plant wall ideas to transform your fence into a garden wall.

You can find many ways to repair a leaning or bent fence. Some are more permanent than others, and others are more aesthetically pleasing. Find the right solution for your specific situation and get to work. While there may be many ways to do it, not fixing it isn’t a recommendation.

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Rebecca Wolken
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Rebecca's has written for Bob Villa and a Cincinnati based remodeling company. When she's not writing about home remodeling…
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