How Deep Should a Footing Be? | Foundation Depths of Various Outdoor Structures

How Deep Should a Footing Be? | Foundation Depths of Various Outdoor Structures

How deep should a footing for an outdoor structure be? There are many types of outdoor structures that you can build to enhance the value of your home. External works like fencing and screen walls improve the security of your home. Outdoor ornamental structures like outdoor ponds, showers, lamp posts, trees, pergolas and garden sculptures add aesthetic appeal to your yard, estate and residence. A third category of outdoor projects that you can have on your private property are utility additions like curbside mailboxes, septic tank, manhole and inspection chambers. Another outdoor home improvement idea that homeowners would love to have on their private property is a hybrid entertainment/utility addition like a barbeque island.

Before you embark on building any of the above structures, you have to know the foundation depth that you have to dig or excavate, as well as the width. This detail will be provided on the building drawings done by your engineer, architect or draftsman. Depending on your state or municipality, you might be required to obtain a building permit before building the structure. There may be additional permits required for digging trenches that exceed a certain minimum depth. Deeper trenches pose a hazard, therefore you will be required to meet OSHA regulations such as earthwork support, protective trench boxes and safe access in and out of the trench. Prior to digging any hole, excavation or trench on your property, one of the preliminary requirements that you have to meet is contacting the 811 Safe Dig number to notify the utility operators so that they can come locate and mark the position of utility services in your yard.

The following is the minimum depth of excavation for various outdoor projects:

Excavation / Foundation Depths of Various Outdoor Projects

Let’s look at the depth of excavations required for different types of outdoor projects:

Footing Size Chart – Foundation Depths of Various Outdoor Projects

Foundations for Screen Wall with Rails, Posts, Concrete Block Bottom and Concrete Base.

The size of concrete foundations will be 450mm wide x 900mm deep from level ground.

Foundations for Pergola Posts

The size of concrete foundation bases will be 400x400x500mm deep from level ground.

Foundations for High Tensile Wire Fence

The depth of holes for posts will be about 1093mm (43 inches) or 36 to 60 inches depending on the height of the post.

Foundations for Chain-Link Fence with Top Rail

For a post which is 48 inches (1,220mm) high from the ground level, the depth of the foundation base will be 30 inches (762mm) from level ground.

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