How to Build a Cheap, Stylish Horizontal Slat Fence

elegant garden fence with horizontal slats
  • 5-15 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 200-1,000
What You'll Need
Wood posts and slats
Nail gun
Paint brush

There are quite a few easy ways to give your yard a facelift. You can add shrubs and pull off a DIY landscape job that even the HGTV pros would be impressed with, you can add a DIY fire pit with custom seating, and you can fill your window boxes with plants. If you're looking for a DIY that adds value and a little more privacy to your backyard, try a DIY horizontal slat fence. This DIY isn't for beginners, but if you've got a few woodworking skills under your tool belt, this horizontal slat privacy fence is for you.

Check out wood fencing on Amazon.

A privacy fence is a great addition to your yard, patio, or outdoor kitchen if you're looking for a design-friendly way to add a little shade, and a little more privacy, to your backyard. You can create privacy fences to your backyard specifications, but here is what we used to create ours.

We used eighteen 1"x6"x8' pressure-treated common boards, two 2"x6"x8' pressure-treated common board, twp 4"x4"x8' pressure-treated common posts, 1/2"x6" lag screws, a bunch of finish nails, some 1 5/8" deck screws, water seal and stain of your choice, and of course some tools.

To create a slat fence, you'll need paintbrushes, an impact driver, a drill, a level, and a nail gun. To make this process much easier, we also recommend using a fence post digger, but it's not required.

Building The Fence

horizontal slat fence with golden wood

Start by setting your new posts in the ground. You need to go at least a foot deep. If you want your fence to be taller, you will need taller boards because you will lose a foot here. Take your post hole digger and make a hold that is eight inches wide and two feet deep.

Fill the bottom four or so inches of the hole with gravel and then drop the eight-foot 4x4 post into the hole. Fill the hold with quick-drying concrete and completely surround the post. Make sure to mix the concrete according to the bag instructions so you don't have any issues down the road.

Pull out your level to make sure the post is standing straight up and doesn't have a tilt or lean. Because there is likely moisture in the ground, you need to let the concrete dry overnight.

hand holding level next to concrete post

Place the next post over about seven and a half feet. Measure the distance between the two posts with one of your slats so you know how far to place it. You want the slat to cover the entire side of the post it's nailed to on both sides, so take that into account.

After your posts have set overnight, use a nail gun to add the slats. Take the slats and place them with one across the front and then one across the back, slightly lower so that a small bit of light peeks through. Keep alternating across the front and the back.

Use the level with every slat to make sure that everything looks straight and flush. Take your time with this part because you are going to see all of your work on this fence.

After you've nailed the slats, use brown deck screws (or ones that match your wood) to secure every post into place. You can fill the screw and nail holes after if you'd like, but it's not a must.

Your fence is essentially done at this point, but you can still add finishing wood to areas that need to look a little more polished or fence caps to complete the look.

darkly painted horizontal slat fence with bush behind it


They say that good fences make good neighbors, but what do they say about the backyard with the stunning privacy fence? Dress up your horizontal slat fence with hanging pants, outdoor decor, or hanging art. Whatever matches your outdoor aesthetic. Remember to maintain your fence by regularly pressure washing it and re-sealing and staining as needed throughout the years.

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