How To Build A Horizontal Fence On A Slope

A fence is important to homeowners since it offers privacy. If you live in a sloped area, you may be faced with the problem of building a fence. To help you with this problem, we have done the necessary research, and here's what we found. 

Building a horizontal fence on a slope can be accomplished using the stepped approach. Alternatively, you can use the rake method which is more suited for shallow slopes. Here are basic steps for building a step method horizontal fence on a slope:

  • Begin at the highest point.
  • Fix the panels and rails.
  • Merge the slats to the rails with screws.
  • Fill in the space underneath the panel.

Building a horizontal fence on a slope may seem challenging, but it can be done without the help of an expert. In this post, we will work through the details of building a fence on a slope -for both methods. So, please, keep reading. 

Horizontal fence of wooden planks, How To Build A Horizontal Fence On A Slope

Building A Horizontal Fence On A Slope

When building a fence on a slope or in uneven areas, you can use the step method. But there are other methods that can also be used.

In the step method, pre-assembled pickets or boards are used. Using the slope's rise and run as a guide, the pieces can be installed one after the other.

Backgarden flower bed with fence

However, this method leaves a gap between the fence and the ground. Here's how to build a horizontal fence on a slope using the step approach.

1. Begin At The Highest Point

To set up the first post, you should draw a line 4 inches from the ground to the location of the second post, then secure and level the string. Measure the distance from the ground, and deduct 4 inches from the measurement result. 

The next step is to cut the post for the second location to be three times as long as the first one, with an extra third of that distance added to the bottom of the post to allow for a deeper setting.

Determining the length of the next post will be based on the length of the previous post.

2. Fix The Panels And Rails

To set the rails or panels, measure the baseboard of the first wood panel or section of metal fencing in relation to the 4-inch marking on the first pole. 

Ensure the lowest rail is attached to the post and then stretch the rail until it meets the next. If the top and bottom rails on both posts are equal in length, the top rail will be horizontal by default.

3. Merge The Slats To The Rails With Screws

Make sure each slat is level with the rails before screwing. Always check if the tops are at the same height as the rest of the board before attaching the slats.

4. Fill In The Space Underneath The Panel

It is better to fill up the gap under the panel or bottom rail to prevent animals from passing through the space. Attaching horizontal boards to the bottom rail and one of the posts is a way of closing the space. 

Watch the process of laying out and installing a stepped fence, below:

Rake Method Fence Installation

The raking method is another way of building a horizontal fence on a slope. Generally, there will be no gaps at the bottom of your fencing when you use this method. Follow the steps below to install a horizontal fence on a slope using the rake approach:

1. Set The Post

The posts can be different or the same lengths. If they are cut unevenly, set the first post at the highest ground, measure the height, and stretch a line level to the following post. 

2.  Measure The Height Of The Line

One-third of the extra distance between the line and the ground should be added to each succeeding post. This will make your fence follow the contour of the sloped land.

3. Move The Holder To The Appropriate Angles

It's essential to make sure metal rails are angled correctly before connecting them to posts. Erecting a wood fence necessitates angling the rail ends before screwing them to the posts. 

Using appropriate fasteners, you should attach metal rail holders to posts by adjusting their angles. This improves the overall appearance of the fence.

4. Set Up The Fence

To set up the fence, the mesh should be cut at an angle to follow the rails, but the ends should be straight in relation to the posts when installing metal mesh. 

Spacing between wood slats or pickets should be the same around the fence. Alternatively, you can place them perpendicular to the rails. Finally, you may have to cut the bottoms to match the slope.

How Much Space Is Needed Between Horizontal Fence Boards?

Built new horizontal wooden fence construction in dutch backyard

Space between your horizontal fence boards should range from 1/4 to 1-inch. Always make sure the boards are as close together as possible to achieve privacy. 

For a wood fence, the distance between the boards should be no more than 5/8-inch to 1/2-inch. Picket fences, on the other hand, should have a gap of about 2-1/2 inches. 

Can I Use Fence Panels On A Slope?

Two panels of a classic wooden featheredge garden fence with concrete support posts

As long as the slope isn't too steep, pre-assembled panels can be used to construct fences in sloped areas. Using plumb posts, each panel rises or falls as the grade changes. This allows the overall fence line to follow the incline in a stair-step manner.

You can purchase fence panels in varieties of sizes. Overlapping panels, feather edge fences, and picket fences are just a few of the many fence panels available for building horizontal fences.

How Do I Prevent A Horizontal Fence From Warping

Warping develops as a result of moisture variations in different parts of the fence board. This causes deformation over time due to the tension it experiences.

To avoid warping, you should install back rails no more than 8 inches from the top and bottom of the fence. Then, install a second back rail in the middle of a fence taller than 6 feet. To further prevent warping, two back rails should be installed in the middle at a height of 8 feet.

Living green with solar panels

Should I Nail Or Screw Fence Boards?

Experts in the field have been debating whether screw or nail is a better choice for fence boards. However, in some circumstances, it may just come down to a matter of personal preference. 

Screws hold wood together better than nails. In addition to their long-term stability, screws are also more durable than nails.

Nails, on the other hand, are easier to use than screws, which means less time will be spent on installation, reducing costs as well. However, nails are more likely to loosen.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages. So, it is better to consider your fence materials and other factors to determine which option will work best for you.

What Type Of Wood Is Best For A Horizontal Fence?

Certain types of wood will require more upkeep than others, and they may be more susceptible to rot decay and insect attacks than others. Pressure-treated pine, cedar, and redwood are some of the most commonly found softwoods that are vulnerable to these problems. 

Cumaru, ipe, massaranduba, tigerwood, and garapa are suited for horizontal fences. These woods are naturally resistant to deterioration, fungi, and wood-boring insects. They are also easy to care for and good-looking.

Garapa wood

Is Building A Horizontal Fence Cheaper Than A Vertical Fence?

Building a horizontally erected fence is more expensive than building a vertical fence. This is because horizontal fences necessitate the use of higher-grade lumber for the fence boards to eliminate the possibility of sagging. In uneven areas, vertical fences follow the contour, regardless of the slope.

To Wrap Up

It may seem difficult to build a horizontal fence in sloped areas. But you can employ the step or rake method to construct a horizontally erected fence on a slope without the help of a professional. All you need to do is to follow the steps carefully.

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