How to use an auger to dig a hole

Follow this simple eight step guide on how to use an auger to dig a hole that won’t disrupt your surrounding flowerbeds

How do I use a hole auger?

A hole auger is a straightforward tool used in the garden to drill deep holes without disturbing neighbouring soil, use these 8 simple tips to dig holes faster, easier, and safer.


Prepare to use a hole auger by planning exactly where you will be digging, check for hidden utilities in the ground, break up any stones and rocks before using an auger in rocky soil, soak any solid ground with water where necessary, have somewhere to collect the surplus soil and protect the surrounding area with tarpaulin.

Start the first hole

Push the tip of the auger into the spot you wish to dig and decide which direction you need to dig by angling the auger. In most instances such as digging fence posts you will need to point the auger directly down into the ground, however some gardening tasks such as shallow bulb planting you might want to dig at an angle.

Turn the auger

Twist the handle, making a few turns until the auger starts sinking into the ground.

Remove the auger

Continue to turn the auger until it has sunk deeper into the ground by a few inches, then firmly pull the auger out using the handles shaking slightly as you go. Placing your feet either side of the hole when you pull the auger out of the hole will prevent surrounding turf from being displaced.

Dislodging a stuck auger

If the auger gets stuck in the ground or becomes too heavy to lift then wobble and turn the handle in the opposite direction to release some of the soil back into the hole then try lifting again.

Shake away the soil

Place the auger over the area you are collecting surplus soil then shake to allow the soil in the blade to escape. You may need to tap the auger on a hard surface to jolt any hardened soil, however be careful to only tap the shaft and not the blade against a hard surface to prevent dents and damage.

Keep digging

Repeat until you reach the desired depth. If you continually find that lifting the auger from the hole becomes too heavy then try removing shallower sections of soil at a time instead of digging the entire hole in a single attempt.

Clean the auger

After you have finished remember to clean the hole auger thoroughly prior to storing in order to prolong the life of the tool.

How can I dig a fence post hole against a wall using a hole auger?

Digging a hole for a fence post next to a wall can be challenging with most tools – and that includes an auger. The handles of an auger need to be able to turn in a complete circle in order to turn the blade, however a wall or other obstacle can block the path of the handle preventing it from turning.

The shaft on a hole auger is typically mounted to the middle of the handle, however if you are able to remove the grip on the auger handle and mount it to one end this will give you a 180 arc which might be enough to dig a shallow amount before the handle hits the wall.