Fun with Fence Building

Attaching rails to a wood fence.
Danny Lipford and Allen Lyle building a wood fence.

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We’re building a wood privacy fence, along with a lattice screen and stone fire pit, to enhance the backyard of Chelsea Lipford’s first home.

Wood Privacy Fence

Before building a fence, make sure the fence is located on your property and check your local building codes and neighborhood covenants for any restrictions or requirements. Call 811 to have the utility companies come out to mark any utility lines on your property before digging.

Start by pulling a string along the fence line to make sure the fence is straight, and mark the location of the fence posts on the ground at 8’ intervals.

Danny Lipford working on fence.
Setting fence posts.

Use a post hole digger or motorized auger to dig 2’ deep holes for the pressure treated 4”x4” fence posts. For a long lasting fence, ,make sure the posts are rated for ground contact.

Pull a string at the top of the posts as a guide to make sure the posts are the right height, then use a level to plumb the posts. Fill the holes around the posts with fast-setting Quikrete concrete mix, and add water to set the concrete.

Install horizontal 2”x4” rails at the bottom, middle, and top of the posts to support the fence boards. Stagger the joints in the rails to improve the strength of the fence. Always be sure to use hot dipped galvanized or stainless steel nails, screws, and other fasteners when working with pressure treated wood.

Use a string to align the top of the fence boards. If the treated lumber is still wet with preservative, butt the boards tight together, since the wood will shrink when it dries. If the wood has been dried after treatment, use a nail or thin spacer between each board to keep the boards from buckling when the wood expands.

Completed pressure treated wood privacy fence.
Completed pressure treated wood privacy fence.

To find out more about building a fence, check out:

Lattice Air Conditioner Screen

A trellis was constructed from pressure treated lattice to hide the central air conditioner unit from view, with 2″x2″ grooved wood channel used as a frame around it.

Completed lattice trellis screen hiding air conditioner unit.
Completed lattice trellis screen hiding air conditioner unit.

Attach the lattice between 4×4 posts with 2×4 boards screwed to each side of the posts at the top. Climbing Carolina jasmine vines were planted next to the lattice.

To find out more, watch our video on Adding Lattice Around a Deck.

Building a Fire Pit

Stone fire pits make a great gathering place in your yard for outdoor entertaining. RumbleStone Round Fire Pit kits from Pavestone include a metal bowl, fire screen, and the stones necessary to complete the project.

Completed Pavestone fire pit.
Completed Pavestone fire pit.

When installing a fire pit, use a flat shovel to remove the grass and level the ground. Next, position the bottom layer of stones using the fire screen in the middle as a guide. Apply construction adhesive between each layer of stones to hold them in place.

To find out more, watch our video on How to Build a Backyard Fire Pit.

Other Tips from This Episode

Locking pliers clamped to base of circular saw for ripping.

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Tip for Ripping on a Circular Saw

A quick and easy way to rip strips of plywood using a circular saw is to clamp locking pliers to the metal base or shoe of the saw the distance desired from the blade. For narrow cuts clamp the pliers on the blade side of the saw. For wider cuts clamp the pliers on the motor side of the saw. (Watch Video)

Veranda Slide Lock Fence Brackets installed on vinyl fence.

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Veranda Slide Lock Fence Brackets

Veranda Slide Lock vinyl fence brackets install 50% faster with no exposed fasteners. Simply screw the brackets to the fence posts, insert the matching brackets in the fence panels, and slide the section of fencing on the posts. Veranda Slide Lock brackets are available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)

Danny Lipford showing the proper nozzle to use on a pressure washer to keep from damaging wood.

Ask Danny Lipford:
Preventing Pressure Washer Damage

To keep from damaging soft wood surfaces when cleaning with a pressure washer, use a machine rated at 3,000 Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) of water pressure or less, use a wide pattern wand top (40° angle tip), and keep a consistent 12″ to 16″ distance away from the surface with the wand. (Watch Video)


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