Tall Fences for Privacy

Most privacy fences are built like the picket fences shown on pages 199 to 200. Standard pressure-treated lumber nailed to simple post-and-stringer frames will yield a variety of attractive fences; prefabricated panels can be nailed directly to posts or framed inside posts and stringers.

Tall fences are typically supported on frames of 4-by-4 posts and 2-by-4 stringers. The simplest privacy fence is made of vertical boards or tall narrow slats nailed directly to the top and bottom stringers (and to a middle stringer if the fence is taller than 6 feet). Almost as simple is a fence of horizontal boards or plywood panels face-nailed to the posts and to 2-by-4 studs that are toenailed to the top and bottom stringers 24 to 36 inches apart.

TOOLS T-bevel Combination square Water level Clamps Hammer Screwdriver Circular saw Router and ¾" straight bit Paintbrush MATERIALS 1 × 2s, 1 × 4s, 1 × 6s 2 × 4s, 2 × 6s Galvanized common nails (2" 3½") Wood screws (1¼" No. 6) Wood glue (exterior) Wood preservative


Since the stringers are attached face down, the fence is weaker than if the boards were set on edge. To compensate for this, use the lightest possible materials and reduce the distance between posts to 6 feet or less. Another approach is to screw an extra 2-by-4 on edge underneath one or both of the stringers.



When routing in tandem with a jig, clamp or nail the jig to the workpiece and make sure the lumber is steady. Keep the router at chest height or below. To make the high cuts in the posts, stand on a stepladder steadied by a helper.


Put on goggles when routing. Wear gloves when handling pressure-treated lumber; add a dust mask when cutting it.

Three screens for your yard

A board-and-board fence admits a breeze and looks good from either side. Vertical boards are nailed to both sides of the frame, separated by less than their own widths. The thin slats (½-by-6 inch) that make up a basket weave fence are woven around vertical 1-by-1 boards, and fastened in vertical grooves on each post. The boards on one side are positioned opposite the spaces on the other. Ready-made panels in elaborate styles like latticework are mounted against 1-by-2s nailed to the posts and stringers.