This guide will walk you through how to build a modern slatted fence. Slatted fencing has come into fashion in recent years and for good reason. It can be built quickly, it looks great and there are a wide variety of finishes available.
We build slatted fencing for many of our customers so we have simplified the process to get great results in record time.
This is our process and tricks of the trade along with diagrams to help you follow it well.
There are two broad categories of slatted fences; the first is slatted panel fencing which slots into concrete posts as an normal
The second is to build fixed slatted fencing which is the subject of this article.
Wood or composite slatted fence?
Slatted fencing can be constructed out of either wood or composite materials, composite materials are in fashion at the moment but are prohibitively expensive so for this example we will use wood.
Wood is the easiest material to build from but slatted wooden fences need staining or painting every few years with good quality fence stain.
Slatted fence materials
Slatted fence tools
Building your slatted fence
Here is our fictional house where we will build a slatted fence step by step.
1.Prepare the area
Mark out the area where the fence will be, you will want to clear and level the ground so that the fence will fit and won’t be touching the ground anywhere. If a fence touches the ground it will absorb moisture which will reduce its lifespan.
2.Dig post holes
The standard height for a garden fence is 1.8 m or 6ft. For fences of this height the post should be a maximum of 1.8 m apart. However it is best to evenly space the posts to get the best effect.
Here you can see that the holes will be evenly spaced but that the spacing is different at the end of the garden. This is so that the best effect is achieved with the smallest number of posts.
Use a strong spade to dig out a hole which is about the width of the Spade on every side. the whole should be 60 cm deep to accommodate the 8-ft posts with 6 feet of them above the ground.
Make sure the hole isn’t too wide otherwise the post mix won’t go far enough,post mix is really there just to make the post tight with the ground around it. Using more postmix won’t necessarily make it any more stable unless it is loose ground.
3.Set the posts
Move your posts into the holes then set the first post. The first post should be one of the corner posts because you will need to set up a string line between that post and the far corner on any side.
Using a tape measure and a spirit level ensure that these end posts are exactly the correct height.
To set the posts, get them in a fairly straight position then pour in one bag of post mix. Pour in enough water to ensure the post mix is wet and sloppy. then use a stick or something to hand to shuffle it around and ensure it is spread evenly around the post.
At this point you will want to carry out any adjustment using a spirit level and the tape measure to make sure it is at the right level and is completely straight before setting.
When the end posts are both set, fix a string line which will Mark out the exact level for the remaining posts to reach. it’s important that the string line is in exactly the same position on the top of every post including the end posts.
Using the string line and a spirit level line up and straighten all the remaining posts between the two endpoints.
Repeat this process for each remaining side
4.Attach the timber
There are many many types of timber cladding available how to build the front of the fence. when buying the timber here are a few things to consider.
- The lifespan (hardwoods are generally much better)
- Untreated or treated
- Tolerance to screws
An important point here is buying the correct length of planks. If you have mainly 1.8 m gaps then you will want to get either 1.8 metre planks or 3.6 m planks. Anything longer or shorter and you will end up with wastage because you want planks to to begin and end on a post.
make sure you know exactly how many planks it will be between the top and the bottom of the fence and exactly how big the gap will need to be for this to work.
it’s a good idea to plan all this out beforehand so you have the right amount of timber.
Grab someone to help with this part
Start with the top slat at one end of the fence. Set this slat perfectly and double check it with a spirit level to make sure.
To get the correct gap between each slat cut two bits of wood which are the exact size of the gap. this will speed things up hugely as you won’t have to measure every time. It also allows you to press a plank up then brace it to screw it in.
Depending on how wide your slats are, use 2 evenly spaced screws to fix the end into the post.
If you are using 3.6 m lengths which cover two posts you will still need to screw in the the centre of the slat to the Central post
Continue this all the way round and there you have it, a complete slatted fence which will look great for years to come.
Bonus for double sided designs
A single sided slatted fence is great for security but not so much for privacy because of the gaps. A solution to this is to build a double-sided slatted fence.
There are a couple of ways to turn a single sided slatted fence into a double-sided slatted fence but this one is our favourite because of its thin profile and overall look.
To do this you will need to buy some additional timber. We recommend 40 mm by 40 mm. This allows enough support whilst also being discreet.
First, cut a length which will be attached to the side of each post. it’s recommended to cut this slightly shorter so it’s not touching either the top or the bottom of the post. 10 to 20 cm shorter should do fine.
With the piece of wood uptight against the back of the current slats and attach it to the post with 60mm screws. We recommend only using two or three screw so you don’t end up clashing with the screws you will need for the next slats.
Next you will need to cut your rear timber slats to the exact length of the gaps between the posts.
Start with the very top slat which should be evenly fill the gap between the top 2 slats on the front of the fence.
From there use the same gap to attach the remaining rear slats until all the gaps are covered
If you are going to install your fence in winter there are a few extra things you need to think about. Take a look at our useful article which runs through all the additional considerations for installing fences in winter.