How to build your own rustic temporary privacy fences

Written by kate sheridan
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How to build your own rustic temporary privacy fences
Tightly packed twigs and branches create temporary rustic fencing materials. (rustic fence image by Florin Capilnean from

Rustic temporary fences use materials found around or collected from the natural environment, especially woodlots, forests and fields. These short-lived biodegradable structures will eventually return to nature and decompose into compost that can help improve your garden soil. Choose the sturdiest limbs for your support posts, and don't skimp on securing them. Be creative with the privacy fencing materials. Mix different types of limbs, twigs and vines for an authentic made-by-Mother-Nature look. You can always add posts and materials as inspiration strikes you, so your temporary rustic privacy fence becomes a work in progress.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Small trees, 8 feet high
  • Tree limbs and branches
  • Bow saw
  • Loppers
  • Clippers
  • Shovel
  • Pea gravel
  • Biodegradable garden twine
  • Willow whips

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  1. 1

    Collect several dozen small trees, tree limbs and wild grapevines. Clip off the suckers, branches and shoots, leaving the notches and forks. Save the suckers, shoots, branches and flexible limbs for fencing material.

  2. 2

    Dig eight post holes about 24 inches deep and 12 inches apart. Fill the bottom of each hole with about 3 inches of pea gravel. This will help improve drainage and slow the decomposition of your rustic privacy fence.

  3. 3

    Select eight of the straightest, sturdiest trees and limbs that are between 1 ½ inches to 2 inches in diameter. Insert the trees and limbs into the post holes.

  4. 4

    Fill the post holes with the excavated soil, tamping the soil down hard every 6 inches. When the posts are in place, cover each post hole with a mounded pile of pea gravel.

  5. 5

    Select the longest flexible limbs, twigs and branches from the pile you've saved. Keep the leaves intact.

  6. 6

    Weave one of the longest branches horizontally, in and out of the posts, beginning at the bottom right-hand side. Tie the ends of the branch to the posts. If you run out of branch before reaching the next post, tie the branch end to a new branch and continue weaving until you reach the end of the fence line.

  7. 7

    Repeat the weaving and tying until you reach the top of the support posts. Pack the horizontal fencing materials tightly. Fill in any gaps or open spaces with smaller twigs, grapevines and other natural materials.

  8. 8

    Install other rustic temporary privacy fences in the same fashion wherever you have space or a need for one on your property. Use the fences to disguise propane tanks, screen a garden retreat or block a child's play area from view.

Tips and warnings

  • Decorate your rustic temporary privacy fences with a colourful mix of natural materials, such as found glass pieces, feathers, flowers and shells. Tie the materials to the fences with willow whips.

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