Straw bales constructions have been well documented in the recent past ad have effectively turned into the new outdoor design craze. Not only are straw bale constructions environmentally friendly, they are also very economical and cost very little to erect in comparison with constructions that use other materials.
Straw is extremely cheap and very few other materials are needed to secure them. Straw bale fences are especially popular and can enhance anyone’s garden or yard.
Constructing A Straw Bale Fence
You can effectively construct your own straw bale fence during the course of a day. The actual process is extremely simple and you can effectively mould it so that the finished product enhances your garden rather than overshadowing it and causing a major eyesore. Simply follow the steps below:
1) The first step in constructing a straw bale fence is digging a trench. The trench must be at least 10” below ground level, thus bypassing the topsoil. Topsoil does not make a stable base for any construction and will only serve to undermine the straw bale fence in high winds or extreme weather conditions.
If the area that you live in is prone to frost then dig further down to ensure that this will not affect the foundation. Also, dig up to 2” either side of the straw bale so they can simply be placed and then secured rather than allowing no room for movement because this will encourage erosion at a later date.
2) Place CMU blocks, or similar stone blocks, in the trench at every 4-foot interval. And then lay a plank of wood at least 12” in diameter on top of the blocks. The wood would have to be coated in some sort of sealer to prevent degradation at a later date.
3) Then tie a strong nylon cable or similar around the plank at regular intervals. Around 4-foot is fine, but make sure that the cable is half way between each block for stability. Leave the loose end lying on either side of the trench so that they will be loose when the straw bale is placed in it. This effectively completes the foundation of your straw bale fence.
4) It is now time to add the straw bales to your straw bale fence foundation. Make sure that you have full-sized bales at the foot of it for stability. You can build it up to approximately 5 feet in height, but anything above that would need wider foundations in order to stay erect for a longer period of time.
5) Tie the cord around the bale with the loose ends being on the top and then fill the gap in the trench with a mixture of equal parts of gravel and sand.
6) You should leave this to set for an hour or so. The gravel will hold your straw bale fence in place and so must be allowed to settle where it wants. After the hour is up, you can go about customizing your straw bale fence.
It is completely up to you to do with your straw bale fence as you please. It is possible to coat it with stucco or plaster and then paint a sealer on to try and help prevent moisture getting to the bales. However, some people leave it.
The straw does provide a good base for a coat because the nature of the straw means that it binds quite well. Having said that, any type of straw bale fence will stand for a good few years as long as it is constructed properly, so the choice is yours.
Photo by Peter Lenardon / creativeCommons