How to DIY a White Picket Fence

A white picket fence with blue hydrangeas around it.
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Cedar stock or redwood (2x4 inch pressure-treated lumber)
Table saw
Posthole digger
Weatherproof screws
Gate Hinges
Gate Latch
Paint, stain, and/or sealer

Is there anything more idyllic than a yard lined with a white picket fence? It’s actually quite simple to build your own instead of paying to have one installed. They're a cinch to construct, especially because they are not typically very tall in height. Read the steps below to learn how easy it is to DIY your own white picket fence.

Step 1- Get the Measurements

Measure the perimeter of the space you will cover with your fence. This will help you to determine how much material to purchase. You will need enough to build posts around four feet high, with pickets two to four inches apart from each other. You will also need enough posts to have one every eight feet.

Step 2 - Cut Out the Pickets

Decide on your design for the top of each and create a template. Using the jigsaw setting on your table saw, cut your pressure-treated lumber into your pickets.

Step 3 - Dig the Corners Holes

Using a posthole digger, dig the holes for the corner posts. These holes should be deep enough to allow the posts to be driven about one-third of the way into the ground.

Step 4 - Set With Gravel and Concrete

Set the posts by filling the hole with gravel, topping it off with about six inches of concrete, with two to three inches of that being above ground. Let the concrete completely set overnight.

Step 5 - Install the Line Posts

Stretch a string between the corner posts to mark off where the line posts should go. Dig the holes the same way you did for the corner posts and install the line posts, letting these set overnight.

Step 6 - Cut the Rails

Use a table saw to cut two rails out of your 2x4 lumber to put between each set of posts.

Step 7 - Install the Bottom and Top Rails

Set the bottom rails, attaching each with 3-inch weatherproof screws. Install the top rails the same way.

Step 8 - Install the Pickets

Now it’s time to begin installing your pickets! Align the first with one of the posts so that it lines up evenly, screwing it onto the rails it intersects with. Install the next picket two to four inches apart from the first. Continue with your pickets until they fill the space in between all posts.

Step 9 - Install the Gate

Now it is time to install the gate, if you want one. Cut two rails the width of the gate opening, subtracting half an inch from that measurement. Set the rails parallel on a flat surface, matching the spacing of the rails on the rest of your fence. Screw the pickets to them, enforcing it by installing a brace that goes from one corner of the top of the rail to the diagonal corner to the bottom of it. The pickets should then be screwed onto the brace.

Step 10 - Install the Latch

Screw the gate hinges to the front as well as to the post. On the other side of the gate, install a latch.

Step 11 - Weatherproof

To finish, seal, stain, or paint your fence to your tastes and weatherproof it accordingly.

While this is a project that takes a few days, it is well worth the hard work once you have a beautiful fence lining your yard. Not only will it be the envy of your neighbors, but it will quickly become the crown jewel of your yard!