DIY Network

How to Build a Privacy Fence

For beauty and privacy, nothing beats a well-constructed wood-panel fence.

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building and installing a privacy panel fence Watch Video
  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Mark Fence Location

Once you have determined the property line and legal setback, mark out the location of the fence. Mark the locations of the corner post holes with spray paint. Mark the locations of the remaining line posts, keeping the distance between the posts evenly spaced and under 8’.

measure in from property line to setback distance

Courtesy of Jeffrey Rowe

Step 2: Set Posts

Using a post hole digger, cut holes approximately 24” deep and at least 10” in diameter. Add a few inches of gravel to the bottom of the holes for drainage. Insert 4" x 4" x 8’ posts in holes. Ensure the posts are level and plumb. Mix fast-drying cement according to manufacturer's directions and pour in holes. Let cure for 48 hours.

dig post holes and add gravel for drainage

Courtesy of Jeffrey Rowe

Step 3: Attach Railings

The rails are made from 5/4” deck boards like the pickets. Measure the distance between the posts and cut the rails to match. Position the top rail 20" from the post top and the bottom rail 20" from the ground. Use 2" galvanized deck screws to attach the rails to the posts.

position panel in place and level panel by racking

Courtesy of Jeffrey Rowe

Step 4: Cut Pickets

Determine the number of pickets you'll need. Cut 5/4" deck boards to lengths of 6’. You can add a decorative cut or edge to the tops of the pickets you choose (90-degree cut, dog-eared, etc.). A hand-held router can be used to round off the edges.

cut picket tops in a dog ear design

Courtesy of Jeffrey Rowe

Step 5: Attach Pickets to Railings

Center the pickets on the top and bottom railings and attach with nails or screws. Space the pickets out evenly between the posts, leaving a consistent gap between the pickets. To maintain a consistent space between the previously nailed picket and the picket to be nailed, use a spacer block. A pneumatic nail gun will make fast work of attaching the pickets.

Learn how a well-constructed privacy fence can add value to your home at HGTV's

the goal is to have 2 good sides to the fence

Courtesy of Jeffrey Rowe