How to Build a Wood Fence: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re planning to build a wood fence, congratulations! A beautifully crafted wooden fence can bring a lot of curb appeal and add value to your home. But before you roll up your sleeves and start sawing and nailing, it’s essential to have a plan and to know what you’re getting yourself into. Building a wooden fence is not only a significant investment of money, time and effort, but it’s also an undertaking that requires a certain amount of skill and attention to detail. In this article, we’ll guide you through the essential steps of building a wood fence, from planning and preparation to final touches and maintenance. So grab your toolbox and let’s get started!

Materials needed for building a wood fence

Building a wooden fence takes some planning to get it right. Knowing the proper materials to use for the job can make all the difference. Having the right materials can help ensure that your fence is strong and able to withstand the elements. Here are some of the key materials you will need for building your wood fence:

1. Wood boards

The most obvious material you’ll need for your wood fence is wood boards. The type of wood you choose will influence the look and durability of your fence. Some common types of wood used for fences include cedar, pine, and redwood.

2. Posts

Posts are the vertical supports that hold the fence in place. They need to be strong enough to support the weight of the fence panels, yet have a small enough footprint to be buried securely in the ground. Posts are usually made of wood, but they can also be made of steel or concrete.

3. Cement

Cement is used to hold the fence posts in place. Depending on your soil type, you may need to use more or less cement to ensure that your posts remain stable over time.

4. Nails and Screws

Nails and screws are necessary for holding the fence together. You will need to choose the right type of fasteners depending on the wood you are using and the design of your fence.

5. Rails

Rails are horizontal supports that run along the fence, connecting the posts and holding up the fence boards. Rails need to be strong enough to support the weight of the fence boards, yet slim enough to be aesthetically pleasing.

6. Concrete Gravel Boards

Concrete gravel boards are an optional extra to add for a longer life and prevent damage done to the panels from water uptake below ground.

7. Corner Brackets

Corner brackets help to anchor the fence panels to the posts, making the fence more secure. They also help to keep the fence in place during heavy winds and other adverse weather conditions.

8. Wireless Line Levels

Wireless line levels are used to make sure that your fence panels are level with each other and with the ground. They are a more modern and efficient way of measuring and ensuring your fence is level, especially for longer fences.

9. Post Hole Digger

Post hole diggers are used to dig the holes in which your fence posts will be placed. They come in different sizes, depending on the size of the posts you are using. Make sure to measure your posts before choosing the right post hole digger size.

10. Stain or Paint

After you’ve built your fence, you’ll want to protect it from the elements. Applying stain or paint to your wood fence can help protect it from water damage, warping, and other problems that can shorten its lifespan. Choose a stain or paint that complements the design of your fence and that will hold up well over time.

Planning and Preparation

Building a wood fence requires planning and preparation, including selecting the fence style, determining the fence height and length, and mapping out the fence line. Taking the time to plan and prepare ensures that your fence will be sturdy, attractive, and long-lasting.

Selecting the Fence Style

Before purchasing materials or beginning any construction, you must select the fence style. Different fence styles add different levels of privacy and security and vary in cost. Some popular fence styles include picket fences, privacy fences, and ranch-style fences. Once you have selected a style, you can determine the necessary materials and supplies.

Determining Fence Dimensions

To determine the fence height and length, you should consult your local zoning regulations and building codes. While some areas have no restrictions, others may require a permit or limit fence height and materials. Additionally, you must also consider the layout of your property, including existing structures and landscaping.

Mapping Out the Fence Line

Once you have determined the fence dimensions, it’s time to map out the fence line. This step requires measuring the perimeter of your property and marking the fence line with stakes and string. The fence line should be straight and even, taking into account any sloping terrain. Mapping out the fence line ensures that your fence will follow the property line and stay within the designated area.

Purchasing Materials and Supplies

After you have selected the fence style, determined the fence dimensions, and mapped out the fence line, it’s time to purchase materials and supplies. Wood is a popular and affordable option for building fences. Cedar and pressure-treated lumber are two common types of wood used for fences. In addition to wood, you also need cement, gravel, and nails or screws. Purchase all the necessary tools and equipment, including a post hole digger, a level, and a circular saw.

Preparing the Work Area

Before beginning any construction, you must prepare the work area. Remove any obstacles or debris that could impede the fence installation process. Clear the fence line of rocks, roots, and shrubs. Additionally, you must mark the location of any underground utility lines to ensure that you do not accidentally dig into them during installation. Preparing the work area ensures a safe and efficient installation process.

Tools and Materials Needed for Building a Wood Fence

Building a wood fence requires some specific tools and materials that will help you complete the project more efficiently and effectively. Here are the essential tools and materials you will need:


  • Post hole digger
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • String line
  • Circular saw
  • Hammer
  • Nail gun or hammer and nails
  • Electric drill or screwdriver
  • Wrench


  1. Fence posts
  2. Fence panels or pickets
  3. Fence rails
  4. Fence post caps
  5. Concrete mix or gravel
  6. Nails or screws
  7. Gate hardware, if installing a gate

Preparing the Materials

Before starting the building process and digging holes for the fence posts, it is important to prepare all the materials. This includes measuring the length of the fence and the number of fence panels and posts required. You will also need to purchase the necessary materials and have them transported to your site.

It is recommended to buy lumber that is pressure-treated and rated for outdoor use to keep your fence in good condition for years to come. Be sure to allow the materials to adjust to your local climate before commencing building. This minimizes risks of warping, splitting, and cracking of your fence panels.

Digging the Holes

The first step in building your wood fence is to dig the holes for the fence posts. The depth and width of the holes depend on the height of the fence and the type of soil in your area. It is important to check local zoning regulations for fence height and your utility companies for buried pipes that may be affected by digging.

Using a post hole digger, dig holes to a depth of 1/3 of the post’s height. For example, if you have a 6-foot tall fence, dig holes that are 2 feet deep. You can add a layer of gravel at the bottom of the holes to promote proper drainage and improve the post’s stability.

Installing the Fence Posts

Once the holes are dug, it’s time to install the fence posts. Insert the fence post into the hole and ensure it’s level with the ground. Hold the post in place and add concrete mix or gravel around it to hold it in place. Ensure it’s straight all around before adding more cement.

It is important to let the post dry for 24 to 48 hours before attaching the fence panels or rails. This improves the post’s durability.

Attaching the Fence Panels or Pickets

Once the posts are set, it’s time to attach the fence panels or pickets. Precut the pickets or decorative wood panels to fit in the boundary you are protecting. Use a circular saw or hand saw to adjust if necessary. Place the fence panel or picket in between the fence posts and attach them using nails or screws. Make sure everything is levelled again before fully securing everything.

An effective and visually appealing wooden fence adds beauty and value to your property. With the appropriate materials, tools, and taking the appropriate steps, you can build a durable wood fence that fits your needs and meets both local regulations and your personal taste.

Say Goodbye to Bare Gardens – Build Your Own Wood Fence!

Now that you have learned how to build a wood fence, we hope that you are feeling inspired and excited to start your own project. Remember to always prioritize safety, take accurate measurements, and select high-quality materials to ensure durability. Don’t hesitate to seek out professional assistance if you feel unsure about any aspect of the process. With a little patience and determination, you’ll have a beautiful, functional fence that will last for years to come.

Thank you for taking the time to read our guide. We hope you found it informative and helpful. Please feel free to visit us again soon for more tips, tricks, and ideas for your next DIY project. Best of luck with your fence-building adventure!

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