How to Build a Fence - Step by Step Guide

This post will show you how you can easily build a fence.  Fences add both security and privacy to your property.  When they are well made and finished then they will certainly improve the aesthetics of your home.   Did you know that beautiful fences can even be made inexpensively from recycled materials such as pallets?  Yes, the humble pallet can be stripped and the wood used as the panelling material for the fence.


Step 1 - Materials and tools needed

  • Fence railings (from pallets)
  • Fence posts
  • Deck screws
  • Fence post caps
  • Dry Concrete Mix
  • Water
  • Galvanised nails
  • Wooden stakes
  • Shovel
  • Post hole digger
  • Sledge hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Rubber gloves
  • Screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Tape measure
  • Spirit Level
  • Powdered chalk
  • String line
  • Hammer or mallet


Step 2 - Mark the positions of the fence posts

This step involves laying out the direction of your fence and the distance between the fence post intervals.  The best way to do this is to decide your starting point and your end point and hammer a wooden stake at both points.  Then tie a line between the two stakes tightly.  Then run your powered chalk over the line.  Then remove the masons line.

Using your tape measure determine the distance between the start and end points.  Then divide this distance evenly ensuring that the maximum distance between the divisions is no more than 8'.  Again mark out these divisions using powdered chalk.  These will be the locations of the fence posts.

Step 3 - Dig the Holes for the Fence Posts

The holes for the fence post holes must be dug at the locations marked in step 1.  The holes should be approximately twice as wide as the fence post and one third as deep as the fence post is long.  The holes are dug using the post hole digger.

Step 4 - Add gravel and concrete to fence post holes

The base of the fence post will be subject to waterlogging which will lead to wood rot.  In order to provide adequate underneath the fence post a 6" gravel base is laid onto which the fence post will stand.
Concrete is then poured around the fence post.  The fence post is plumbed up using the spirit level.  Don't forget to check for plumbness in both directions i.e. left to right and front to back.  It is a good idea to start with the start and end fence posts (once the concrete has hardened of course) and string a line between these posts.  This will give you a guide for the rest of the fence posts.

Step 5 - Attach rails to fence posts

Once the concrete has hardened, it is time to attach the rails or panels to fence posts.  The rails are the part of the fence to which the panels will be nailed or screwed.  Three would be a suitable number of rails.  One for the top, bottom and middle.

Step 6 - Attach pickets or panels to rails

Once the rails are secured the pickets may be attached.  The pickets may be made from stripped pallets assuming that they are long enough. The pickets are attached using decking screws or galvanised nails.

Step 7 - Attach fence post caps

Attach the fence posts cap using a mallet.

Step 8 - Finish with fencing paint


I hope that you have a go at building a fence.  You will receive massive amounts of job satisfaction from building these.  Selling the individual fence panels or even offering fence repair service is also a good business opportunity.  Happy woodworking!