Building cheap privacy fences

Written by jane smith
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Privacy fences reduce noise, wind and sun. They screen expensive belongings from the eyes of would-be thieves. They slow down access to your yard and home. Privacy fences also protect pets and children from reaching pools, ponds and hot tubs, preventing them from drowning.

Inexpensive materials can be used to build cheap privacy fences. The trick lies in turning those cheap materials into something attractive and inviting. Privacy fences provide both visual and sound barriers, so that you can enjoy your yard without feeling self-conscious or disturbing your neighbours.


When it comes to cheap, you can't beat free. Ask local businesses what they do with their used pallets. Pallets are often available for free as long as you haul them away. You may even be able to get paid to take them. Places that do charge for pallets usually ask between £3 and £6 per pallet or less, making them a much cheaper alternative than most fence sections.

Use the pallets as is, or take them apart and use the rails as pickets. Wire several pallets together in a row. Fill the gaps between rails with 1-inch thick stock wood cut to the correct width. Stain or paint the fence to coordinate with your house.


Glass and plastic bottles can be recycled into fencing material by stacking them in layers and cementing them together. Fill plastic two-liter bottles with sand or water for added strength. Leave plenty of head space in the bottles if your area is subject to freezing. Add food colouring to the water to create a stained glass window effect.

Living Walls

Stack windfall branches and landscape trimmings along your property line. Plant rose cane, berry brambles, willow saplings or evergreen shrubs along the brush piles you make. Once the plants have grown over and through the brush piles, you will have privacy, and local wildlife will have habitat and food.

Earth and Stone

Let local contractors know that you will accept clean construction debris from sidewalk and street repair projects. Rent a backhoe to help you arrange large chunks of asphalt and concrete into a wall. Dig a wide, shallow trench next to the wall you build, and use the dirt to cover the construction debris. Cover the resulting wall with landscape cloth and plant grape vine, rose cane and berry brambles through small holes in the cloth.

Straw Bales

Square straw bales are usually available for £1.30 to £3 each. Round bales are usually £19 each, but it does not take many of them to make a wall. Stack straw bales end to end, lengthwise, like bricks. Stagger the rows. Cover with landscape cloth to hold the wall together from one season to the next. When your bales begin to look dingy, dried out or mouldy, pull the fence apart and turn the bales into compost.

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