I have some grape plants coming in next year. My plan is to make a sort of trellis-fence to partly break up the view of the road from my yard, and of course help the grape plants vine out.

What's the ratio for post that's buried in the ground vs post that's showing above ground?

I live in Zone 6, so we have some pretty mild winters (rarely gets below 0, never below -10 I think). I was thinking of using just 4x4 posts with about 8 feet above the ground. I was thinking maybe I would put 3 feet in the ground and have 8 feet above. Would that be enough?

The ground here is made of about half dirt and half clay. So I would imagine it would hold the posts pretty well.

  • 1
    depends on how deep the frost goes, soil type, construction method. Tell us your location, lowest temperatures every winter, soil type and how tall your trellis fence is going to be.
    – kevinskio
    Sep 3, 2014 at 17:37
  • @kevinsky Updated. Let me know if I missed anything.
    – The Flash
    Sep 3, 2014 at 17:55
  • How important is the look, or aesthetics of the finished product?
    – kevinskio
    Sep 3, 2014 at 19:22
  • @kevinsky Important I guess? I'm not terribly picky, but I don't want them to look like crap.
    – The Flash
    Sep 3, 2014 at 20:00
  • 1
    This answer is relevant, particularly the remark about not using 4 x 4 posts as they look like toothpicks (my wording) gardening.stackexchange.com/a/11156/499
    – kevinskio
    Sep 3, 2014 at 20:16

2 Answers 2


When you are going that high, I'd use at least a 6x6. I'm in zone six, with similar soil, and the frost line has never gone below 2', so I usually go 2 1/2-3' down. There isn't really a ratio, but grape vines once mature can pull down some serious supports.

Make sure you really brace the outside posts, or they will pull in. I'd also recommend attaching planks along the top of the support to keep the posts from pulling together, and to protect the ends of the posts.


It's not how far the post goes in the ground so much - as it is on how far the cement goes down. You will want at least 2 feet to go into the ground. You can dig the hole a little deeper - say another foot - add gravel - put the post on top - and cement them in. This should prevent them from heaving up due to the frost line. For 8 foot tall fence the posts should be around 2.5 to 3 feet into the ground to hold the weight of the fence panels.

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