How to build a rustic wood fence

Written by ma wen jie
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How to build a rustic wood fence
A rustic wooden fence doesn't have to look perfect. (Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Building a rustic wood fence is a good way to visually define an area such as a yard or garden. In some cases, the fence may be intended to keep animals out or in, and in other cases they just may be for aesthetic reasons. Cedar, because of its natural resistance to rot, is a good wood for outdoor fences. Rustic fences are technologically simple to erect, but the process requires extensive physical activity, especially when digging the post holes and installing the posts.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Graph paper
  • Pencil
  • Cedar fence posts
  • Posthole digger
  • Shovel
  • Level
  • Saw
  • Cedar fence slats
  • Hammer
  • Nails

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  1. 1

    Plan the path of your fence. Use a pencil and graph paper to make a scale drawing.

  2. 2

    Mark the location of the post holes on your fence path. The distance between the posts should not be more than 6 feet (1.8 metres) or the structural integrity of the fence may be compromised.

  3. 3

    Dig your first post hole using your post hole digger and shovel. Your posts should be set 3 feet (90 cm) deep, so dig the holes at least 3 feet (90 cm) deep. If you use 8-foot (2.4-metre) fence posts, this will make your fence 5 feet (1.5 metres) tall.

  4. 4

    Mark the 3-foot (90-cm) mark on the post with a pencil and put the post in the hole. If the hole is too deep, replace some soil until the post is at the right level.

  5. 5

    Backfill dirt around your fence post. Concrete is generally not needed for deep set cedar posts.

  6. 6

    Make sure that your post is level. Use a standard bubble level to check.

  7. 7

    Continue placing your fence posts until they are all in. Again, they should be no more than 6 feet (1.8 metres) apart.

  8. 8

    Measure the length needed for the slats between the first two fence posts.

  9. 9

    Cut three or four cedar slats to the length between the two fence posts. The number of slats will depend on how you want your fence to look. Three slats will have wider openings and four will be a more dense fence.

  10. 10

    Nail the top slat between the first two fence posts.

  11. 11

    Decide the placement of the bottom slat and nail it in place.

  12. 12

    Nail the middle slat(s) between the top and bottom slats.

  13. 13

    Continue the process by measuring between the second and third fence posts until your fence is complete.

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