This is welded wire fencing. We have thousands of feet of it in use around various parts of the property, in the five-foot height.
This is a plastic landscape stake. It comes in 11″ and 16″ lengths. People use them to hold down tarps and tents or mark fencelines. They’re bright orange so you can easily spot them and feature a variety of connection points.
Because wire fencing comes tightly wrapped in rolls and has strong shape memory, attaching it to fenceposts can be quite difficult; you have to fight with the fencing to prevent it from curling as you’re trying to affix it.
What I’ve learned to do is, a few days prior to working with it, unroll it on the ground and drive the stakes into the corners. Forcing the fencing flat “relaxes” it.
To pound the stakes into the ground, particularly when it’s frozen, you need a small sledge and a chunk of wood (to avoid cracking the plastic).
The problem is that my sledge’s main job is to slam splitting wedges into recalcitrant log rounds. So it’s always, invariably far away at some random spot on the property; it “lives” by the latest location where I’ve felled a storm-damaged tree to be cut up into firewood, which could be anywhere. I feel like half of my outdoor life is walking across the farm to grab the right tool.
While I was looking up the price of buying another sledge, I coincidentally came across this stake alternative called the Orange Screw. It’s a simple design and it’s quite clever. Most spiral ground anchors are made of metal, weigh over a pound, and cost about $20 for one 10-inch anchor. The Orange Screw, designed for camping, is plastic and weighs just 1.8 ounces for a 9.5-incher, which costs $7.
In actuality the thread length is just 8 inches, but I’d bet the screw gives it better holding strength than a longer straight stake.
The part I like most about the design is that the carrying case, which is just a clear tube, slides through the eye of the screw. That gives you the leverage to easily screw the thing into the ground.
The screw is made from 100% recycled polycarbonate, and the tube is 50% recycled PETE. They also sell a 12.4″ (10 3/8″ screw length) version for $12.
Alas, the Orange Screw is one of those product designs that proved so popular, they’ve fallen prey to scam artists on Amazon, Shopify, Facebook and Instagram. The scammers steal the Orange Screw’s media assets, set up an online store claiming to sell them for $2.99, then “ship a very poor quality plastic ground screw that was manufactured in China,” the company writes. “Some are not even orange!”
It’s been happening to these guys since 2019. I have no idea how to stop this unfortunate trend.
I’m a lapsed industrial designer. I was born in NYC and figured I’d die there, but a few years ago I abandoned New York to live on a farm in the countryside with my wife. We have six dogs.