How to Install a Privacy Fence on a Hill

Written by mark morris
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How to Install a Privacy Fence on a Hill
Racking allows a fence to follow a hill. (fence image by Sorawut from

A privacy fence, or stockade as it is also known, is one of the most common fence types built today. Installing on a hill requires racking, or tilting, the panel so that it runs with the slope while the pickets remain vertical. Choose prefab panels with screws fastening the pickets in place for ease of installation. Find out where the property line lies before installing a fence, and be sure to let neighbours who will be affected know what your plan is. They may be willing to share the cost or assist with construction.

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  1. 1

    Lay out the fence line. Drive a wooden stake into the ground at each corner of the fence. Tie a piece of mason's twine between the posts tightly. Measure from one corner and wrap a piece of tape around the twine every 8 feet. The tape marks the position for your fence posts.

  2. 2

    Mark the ground directly beneath the tape with aerosol paint. Dig a hole 10 to 12 inches across and 24 inches deep with a posthole digger at every mark. Set an 8-foot treated 4-by-4 lumber post in every hole. Add a half bag of concrete to each hole.

  3. 3

    Add water to the first hole and mix the concrete with a scrap of lumber. Check the post with a level to be sure it is plumb. Check it right to left and front to back. Adjust the post until it is level in every direction. Pack the hole with dirt tightly to hold it into place until the concrete hardens.

  4. 4

    Remove half of the screws from the pickets and loosen the others slightly with a cordless drill driver. This will loosen the panel to allow it to rack. Attach the end of the fence panel to the first post on the uphill end of the fence with one 3-inch treated deck screw in the top corner and one in the bottom corner. Allow gravity to drag the panel down, or rack, so that it shifts diagonally until the bottom edge is parallel to the ground.

  5. 5

    Attach the remaining end of the panel to the second post with the rails ending in the centre of the post. Add water and mix the concrete. Check the post with the level and adjust to centre the bubble. Pack the remainder of the hole with dirt.

  6. 6

    Replace the screws you removed in the fence panel and retighten the others. Add screws to the attachment between the fence panel rails and the posts. Drive at least two 3-inch treated deck screws through each fence panel rails. Add panels in the same manner until the fence is complete.

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