How To Build a Rustic Wooden Fence

We lived with an ugly mesh-fence on our backyard for quite some time. I can't stand it anymore. We wanted wooden fence and a classic outlook so we chose a rustic design that has been very typical in the past here. Here's how a piece of this fence looks:

Our fence

This is a relatively easy project but there are little pitfalls you should watch out for. So let me describe the whole process in details:

Laying Out a Concrete Foundation

Now, this is something you can live without depending on your specific conditions. Normally a concrete foundation is required to ensure an even ground under the fence and to protect the wooden boards from grass etc. Another important thing is it will prevent animals like dogs or wild animals from digging and passing through below the fence. Our backyard is quite uneven so some kind of foundation was absolutely required. Yours may differ and you can in some cases entirely avoid it, or just make a base from large wooden planks.

So, you'll need a bit of digging the ground, formwork and concrete. This is the least interesting and most boring work on the fence so we hired a neighbor to do it.

Prepare the Wood

There are many ways to make a wooden fence. Our choice was simple yet elegant and very traditional for our area design - although it's hard to find such fences nowadays. The construction is very simple:

  • Two horizontal boards long about 5 - 6 ft (1.6m - 1.8m). They are on equal sizes in pairs but not all are equal because the distance between the vertical iron pipes isn't exactly equal. These boards will hold the vertical boards.
  • Vertical boards 4 ft / 130 cm each with a triangular end at the top. I just cut the triangle at 45° because it looks good and is simple to do with a square.

So you need to do some cutting and a lot of planing and grinding. At least I had to do it because the pine material we get here is not planed.

Build it Up

Once you have the vertical pillars in place and enough boards you can prepare the pieces of your fence. Our units had 12 - 14 boards each, spaced at 1.5" / 4 cm from each other. Spacing is rarely exact the same on the different units because of the uneven length of the units themselves.

Mounting fence on a workbench

I first mounted each unit on the workbench. I strongly recommend this way of doing the things because it's much easier to evenly distribute the boards and keep straight angles while the whole thing is horizontal on the workbench. The downside is that it's a bit heavy and not that easy to attach on the pillars.

Our pillars are made from rectangular steel tubes so we used metal plates to attach the fence units to them. If you can use wooden pillars, the job can be much easier. We made a mistake by using steel, it was harder to drill, required plates, and costs more.

Nevertheless, the result at the end was quite good. If only we didn't have to make another 20 meters of fence now! :)

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