Clough Construction

Organic Garden Fence Donation

This past week my MarinSEL engineering technology class tackled the garden fence issue on campus. There were three major issues with the fence on campus including safety, animal invasion, and looks.

Clough Construction volunteered to donate all of the materials for the fence project. They were our heroes and helped as mentors for the students. Terra Linda High School will be forever grateful to have their organic garden fence.

The process for this fence was as follows:

  1. First the holes were dug. Originally the students were going to do this by hand using post hole diggers, however we soon discovered that the ground was so hard it would have taken us weeks. So the students dug three holes total as a group. With much sweat, dirt, and perseverance they soon discovered that manual labor was no joke. The remainder of the holes were dug by the school’s maintenance crew using an auger. This was much appreciated.
  2. Once the holes were dug, Clough Construction sent two amazing carpenters to assist us in setting the posts. The students had a blast doing this step. They got in groups of two and mixed concrete using a tarp. They discovered that a bag of concrete weighs 80 lbs. too! They then filled the holes making sure all of the posts were plumb in both directions. This step is extremely important. A few mixed the concrete in a wheelbarrow as well… just adding to their knowledge of ways to accomplish the same task. After all the posts were set we let them dry overnight.
  3. Next we began the framing process for the fence. This fence was a simple design. It is also called a deer fence which is 6 feet high and 2 feet in the ground. The students learned how drilling pilot holes is always helpful in drilling straight and making sure the drill is not in reverse is also very helpful ;). They started getting the hang of it and it soon started moving along more quickly.
  4. After the framing was all done we then attached the wire mesh around the perimeter of the fence. This was a lot of hammering. To hold the fence everyone had to work together to ensure the mesh was stretched tight as they applied the galvanized staples. This took a lot of communication and patience at times. Having 28 students definitely makes this go fast!
  5. While the mesh was being hung a few students started pre-cutting all of the parts for the arbor which would go over the gate. They did an amazing job working as a team and being as efficient and accurate as possible. The arbor came out great!

I am very happy with how this project played out. I like to think that every student absolutely loved every aspect of the fence project. If they didn’t love it, they at least understand what it takes to build something large scale. One student came up to me on the last day and said, “Now I have a whole new appreciation for what my dad does!” That is a lesson in itself. Nothing gets built or improved by snapping your figures. It takes hard work, a no-quit-attitude, teamwork and cooperation, and a willingness to be flexible and helpful. Our next task is designing the gate. The students are going to build the gate and create a parts list with orthographic drawings using Autodesk Inventor software.

A special thanks goes out to Clough Construction for their support in this project. Companies like Clough Construction is what makes communities. I hope the students see from this experience the impact they can have on their community by supporting education and projects they believe in. When they have businesses, jobs, skills that they can use to benefit those around them I hope they will remember what Clough Construction did for them in giving them such a unique experience. Pay/build it forward.

Don’t forget to check out the class’s website at

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