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How to build a slat fence

Building a fence brings privacy and structure to a yard. The board-by-board construction of slat fences gives you a customised look and a strong, long-lasting fence. This is a do-it-yourself project you can complete over a weekend. Focus on constructing solid foundations for each fence post; and hanging the slats will be the simple, enjoyable part of the process.

Measure the perimeter of the intended fenced-in area with a tape measure. Divide each side of the fence by six- to eight feet to figure the amount of distance to leave between each fence post.

Lay construction string along the borders of the fence site. Hammer a wooden peg in the ground in the four corners and every six- to eight feet to mark where each fence post will go.

Dig the post holes with a post hole digger in front of each peg. Make the depth equal to one-third of the length of the posts plus six inches and dig the holes about 12 inches in diameter. If the ground freezes in winter, carve out a wider bottom to secure the posts. Use the construction string to align the holes so the fence will be straight.

Fill 6 inches of the post holes with crushed rocks. Tamp the rocks down with a tamper until they feel solid.

Set a post in the centre of the hole. Have a helper hold it in place or support it with two wood stakes nailed to opposite sides.

Open a package of concrete mix and mix a small amount with the suggested amount of water until it feels thick like peanut butter.

Fill the hole with concrete using a hand shovel. Tamp the concrete down once you reach ground level. Mound an additional layer of concrete around the foot to send water runoff away. Leave the posts to set in the foundations overnight.

Fasten wood or metal rail brackets to the posts with two 2 inch galvanised nails on each end. Have a helper position the rails 12 inches from the bottom and 12 inches from top of the posts. Hammer each slat to the top and bottom rails with two galvanised wood nails at each end. Leave equal spaces between the slats for privacy and a clean, uniform look.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Construction string
  • Hammer
  • Wood pegs
  • Post hole digger
  • Crushed rocks
  • Tamper
  • Wood stakes
  • Concrete mix
  • Water
  • Hand shovel
  • Wood or metal fence rails
  • 2 inch galvanised nails
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About the Author

Aurora LaJambre is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn, N.Y. For over five years she's covered topics in culture, lifestyle, travel, DIY design and green living for print and online media. Her publication credits include "WOW Women on Writing," "Six States" and Catalogs.com. She graduated from New York University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing.