DIY Wood Privacy Fence

Building and installing your own fence can be a fun project for you and your family to tackle together.  Depending on the size of your yard it’s a job that can be completed in a couple of weekends. We choose to build the fence sections ourselves, but you can buy them pre-made to make the job even easier.  In this tutorial I will show you how to make a 6ft tall privacy fence and make the sections yourself.  There are a couple of benefits to building them yourself including making the sections different sizes instead of the standard 8ft, you can make them beefier with 2x4s because the pre-made ones are made with 2x3s most of the time, and it can be less expensive to make them.

Tools you will need

  1. Screw gun
  2. Circular saw, or table saw (to rip the end pickets)
  3. Chop saw (for the 2x4s)
  4. Post Hole Digger
  5. String
  6. Level and/or Post Level  
  7. Tape measure
  8. Wheel barrow (optional)

Materials you will need

  1. 4×4-8s
  2. Pickets
  3. 2x4s
  4. Screws (3” for the 2x4s & 1 5/8” for the pickets)
  5. Quickrete
  6. Gravel
  7. Scrap wood to hold up the posts
  8. Scrap wood, or stakes for string line
  9. Spray paint
  10. Water
  11. Gate Hardware

Where to begin

First thing you will want to do is get a permit for the fence.  Figure out what your local codes are and what is permitted in your area.  For example, in our area we had to make sure the fence was 50ft away from the road to make it 6ft high.  You also want to figure out where your property line is and give yourself some room between you and your neighbor.  We had to make sure we were 10ft away or get a variance.

Planning it out

Figure out where your fence is going to be, what size sections you are going to use, and the materials you may need. Next plan out the fence line using string.  Place stakes at the corners of where you want the fence to be and tie string between them.  This will create a straight line so that when you dig your post holes everything is where it’s supposed to be.  Measure and mark out using spray paint where you want your posts.  If you are building the sections yourself, you have more wiggle room and don’t have to be as precise.  If you buy them pre-made you should try to be as accurate as possible when measuring out your holes.


Building the Fence

After that I would start digging your post holes.  The holes should be about 12-inches in diameter and between 2.5-3ft deep in the ground. This will give you enough room for the stone.  Once your hole is dug put a layer of stone on the bottom.  Then place the post in the hole and make sure it’s in line with the string.  Then screw scrap pieces of wood to the post to keep it plum, and upright.  Using a level make sure it’s plum on both sides.  If you use fast-setting quikrete you won’t have to mix the concrete beforehand and it will set right in the hole.  Fill the hole with quikrete up to 3 inches below ground level. Then add water. You will need around a gallon of water in each hole. The scrap pieces will hold the post in place until it dries, and then you can unscrew them.

Here’s a quick video on setting posts using fast setting quikrete

Once all the posts are set wait at least 4 hours before constructing the rest of the fence to give it time to cure.  Next cut your 2x4s to size and screw them to the posts using 3-inch deck screws.  Screw in one side then make sure its’s level and screw in the other side.  You will need three 2x4s per section.  Do this for every section except where you will have a gate.  Now it’s time to screw on the pickets using the 1 5/8-inch deck screws.  Bring the level along to check every so often that the pickets are plum.

Building the Gate 

Make a box using 2x4s the same height as the 2x4s on the fence.  Install cross bracing inside the box to prevent it from sagging.  Screw the pickets to the box and install the Gate Hardware. Then install the gate onto the fence post.  You can also make two gates to have a bigger opening for larger items like lawn equipment.


Wait at least 3-4 months before painting or staining so the wood has time to dry out.  If the wood is still saturated it won’t accept a finish.


Other post you might like: Benefits of a Fenced in Yard


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