How to Install a Silt Fence

What You'll Need
Roll of string
Silt fence
Wooden fence stakes

The silt fence is an ideal way to prevent erosion. The fencing is made with a synthetic mesh that allows water to filter through, but prevents soil or other materials from passing through. If you want to install a silt fence so that it will prevent contamination and erosion, follow the steps outlined below.

Step 1: Fence Line

Lay out your silt fence by placing stakes at each corner, and pulling a piece of string tight between the stakes. Posts should be placed 10 to 20 feet apart, depending on the application. In general, spacing the silt fence stakes around 12 to 16 feet is a good number to work with. Once your fence line has been laid, distribute the stakes around the perimeter so that you can ascertain you have the correct number available.

Step 2: Trenching

To work properly, silt fencing needs to be partially buried. This prevents water from running under the fence, and helps anchor the fence is a great deal of force is applied to it, as may happen during heavy rains. Dig the trench 12 to 24 inches wide, and 8 to 12 inches deep. If you cross tree roots, it is okay to work around the roots instead of cutting through them. The trench should be fairly uniform, but it does not have to be exact.

Step 3: Fence Stakes

Used a 2 to 5 pound sledgehammer to drive in the stakes. For construction fence, make sure the stakes are spaced uniformly for the sake of visual aesthetics, and drive each one at least 12 inches into the ground at the bottom of the trench.

Step 4: Attach the Silt Fence

Roll out the silt fence one section at a time to prevent wind from causing inconveniences. Place the fences on the side of the stakes facing where water flow will come from, and allow the first 8 to 12 inches of fence material to fold away from the fence, in the same direction. Attach the fence to the stakes using a heavy duty staple gun, and apply 3 to 5 staples per stake. Make sure that the bottom flap is pointed up the hill, or in the direction where water will come from, and that it is smoothed out flat against the bottom of the trench.

Step 5: Backfill and Compaction

Fill the trench in front of the stakes. Begin by filling 3 to 6 inches in the bottom of the trench, to hold the flap in place. With that done, fill the hole with all of the soil you removed. It is not necessary to fill behind the stakes, but you can do so if there is excess dirt to be used, or if the ground is especially soft or wet. For best results, use a compactor, a flat square of metal on a straight wooden handle, and tamp the area you just filled. If available, a mechanical compactor can be used instead.