How to Build a Cheap Fence from Wood

A top wooden rail and the fence boards on a wood fence.
What You'll Need
Work gloves
Boards and posts
Power saw
Measuring stick
Post hole digger
Ready-mix concrete
Nails or screws
Outdoor paint or stain

Whenever you need to build a fence, you will find that building one from wood is not a very difficult task. Wood is typically inexpensive and can be a great way to build a fence that you will be able to rely on for years to come.

Step 1 - Choose Where You Want the Fence

Decide where exactly you will want your fence to run. Whenever you have chosen a location, set up a post on either end and run a line from one to the other. This will help you to build the fence in a straight line. Also make sure that you know exactly where your property line is before you decide on the location, and check to see if you will need a permit to build this fence.

Step 2 - Put Stakes in the Ground

metal stake with rope attached

Drive stakes into the ground where your posts are going to go, along the straight line you marked before. Each of the posts will need to be at least six, but no more than eight, feet apart. With your post hole digger, you will need to dig the holes deep enough so you can get about a third of the post’s length into it. For example, if you have eight foot posts, about 2.5 feet of it should be underground.

Step 3 - Fill the Post Holes

The post holes will need to be filled with gravel or a big stone at the bottom to help with drainage. Once you have done this, you will need to pack the posts in with dirt. Tamp down the dirt as much as you can around the post. You will also need to have a mound surrounding the base made of concrete so you will not have to worry about any standing water later. Be sure to keep the post plumb while it dries.

Step 4 - Attach the Fence Rail

landscaping and a wood fence

After the posts have had a few days to set, you will be ready to attach a fence rail to the posts. The rail will need to go on the bottom as well as well as the top. First, you'll want to mark and cut your rail boards down to the appropriate size, so they end in the middle of your posts, butting up against another rail. Then, position and hammer them securely into place. A measuring stick or level should be used so that you know that the rails are properly aligned before you nail them.

Step 5 - Attachment

A simple board fence is the least expensive type of fence you will be able to build out of wood. Attach all your boards, cut to the height you need, to the outside of the fence rail, using two nails or screws for both the top and bottom rails.

If you wish to make the design look more unique, you can alternate which side of the rails you attach each board to. Also, make sure that you paint or stain the fence when you are finished to protect the wood from the elements.