How to Install a Snow Fence

Three Parts:Positioning a Snow FenceSetting Up a Sturdy Snow FenceSecuring a Snow Fence

The prospect of a harsh, snowy winter can seem daunting. However, there are several things you can do each fall to prevent insurmountable snowdrifts and endless shoveling. Raising a snow fence in front of your house, driveway or road can redirect the snow to fall short of heavily trafficked areas.

Part 1
Positioning a Snow Fence

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    Decide upon the areas where you want to reduce snow. This could be a road, a driveway or a structure.
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    Research the direction of prevailing winds during winter in your location. For example, if your winds run from East to West, you will want to bisect that path with a snow fence that runs from North to South.[1]
    • If the object you are protecting does not run perpendicular to the wind direction, your fence should remain perpendicular to the wind, not the area you are protecting. Lay several shorter fences bisecting the wind direction along you path. When one stops, you can move closer to the road or area and start it at an angle to the protection area.
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    Keep the snow fence within your property. Consult your homeowner’s association, municipality or county about installing a snow fence that would lie on other people’s property. Some public works departments install them as a public service to reduce plowing, due to the fact that plowing snowdrifts costs about 100 times more than snow fences.[2]
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    Purchase a wooden or plastic snow fence that will stretch the entire length of the area you need to protect. It should be porous, with holes or slats that allow snow and wind to get through the fence. The aim of the fence is to redirect snow, not stop it.
    • The target porosity should be 40 to 50%.
    • The larger the area you need protected, the taller the snow fence should be. They are sold in four foot to eight-foot (1.2 to 2.4m) heights.
    • One long, tall fence will work better than several shorter fences.
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    Calculate the distance from the object where the fence should be placed. It should be at least 35 times the height of the fence. So, if you are using an eight-foot fence, it will need to be 280 feet (85m) away from the area it is protecting.
    • Some snow fences suggest the fence should be 60 times the height of the fence. Although this can be beneficial, you will need to decide based on space constraints.

Part 2
Setting Up a Sturdy Snow Fence

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    Draw a tentative fence location with spray paint in the desired area. You can also secure some bright string on the ground to keep posts in a straight line. If you are spacing multiple rows, so that a larger object can be protected from wind that covers the area at an angle, spray paint each row individually starting at the minimum distance and working out.
    • At 60 times the height of the fence, you’ll want to move back to the minimum distance and start a new row in the place where your last fence stopped.
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    Set steel posts in the ground at a distance of no more than eight feet (2.4m) apart. Make sure the steel posts are several feet taller than your fencing. The taller the fence, the closer the posts should be toward each other to combat the strength of the wind.
    • T-posts are recommended over U-posts because they are more stable.
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    Set the posts at up to a 25-degree angle toward the area being protected. This will help set your drift back away from the object.
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    Pound the posts firmly into the ground. The support posts are the only contact point with the ground, unless you have support posts set at an angle behind the fence. Remember to pound them firmly so that they’ll last all winter.[3]

Part 3
Securing a Snow Fence

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    Place the slats or plastic sheeting above the ground so that the wind can get through. It will need to be set about 10% of the height of the fence off the ground for best results.
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    Secure the slats to the posts with durable plastic zip ties. Use zip ties about every six inches (15cm).
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    Work your way down the length of the fence, securing it as you go. Keeping the fence in the correct position off the ground may require several workers.
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    Leave the snow fence up until spring, when the threat of snow is gone. Remove it by cutting the zip ties and rolling up the fencing. Adjust your positioning each fall according to any gaps or problems each year.


  • Trees and shrubs can be used as snow fencing. The line of trees will need to follow the same rules as the snow fence. Trees and fences can also work in tandem to create a snow fence.

Things You'll Need

  • T-posts
  • Post pounder
  • Wooden or plastic snow fence
  • Large plastic zip ties
  • Spray paint or bright string.

Article Info

Categories: Walls Fences and Decks