If you need to put up a fence without spending a lot of money, installing a picket fence may be the solution. Wood pallets usually measure 48 inches long by 40 inches wide and are typically made of hardwood. The pallets can be had for free from some local stores and are easy to work with because they consist of pieces cut into uniform size. Using pallets to build a fence will reduce the cost of material to almost nothing, and installing the fence yourself will allow you to save on hundreds of dollars.
Drive a 12-inch stake at each point where a section of fence will begin or end to create a layout. Stretch twine along the layout, tying it to each stake approximately 6 inches above the ground. If you plan to attach a gate, measure its width, locate the spot where you want to mount it, and then drive a stake into the ground marking each side of the gate.
Mark the locations where each post will stand, keeping the distance between the posts evenly spaced and under 8 feet. Remove the first stake and dig a 12-inch wide by 24-inch deep hole using a post-hole digger, making sure that the spot marked by the stake becomes the center of the hole. Add a few inches of gravel at the bottom of each hole for drainage.
Measure the height of the pallet, and then add 30 inches to cover the depth of the hole including the 6-inch clearance from the ground to the base of each picket. Cut a 4 x 4 wooden post according to your measurement, then insert the post into the first hole. Adjust the post to make it level and plumb, then brace it temporarily with 2 x 4 boards. Pour quick-drying cement into the hole and allow the cement to set. Follow the same procedure for each succeeding post, but make sure the tops of all posts are horizontally aligned with each other.
Measure the distance between the first and second post. Cut a 1 x 4 pressure-treated board according to your measurement to form the horizontal rail that will hold the pickets. Screw a galvanized ”L” bracket to each end of the rail then place the rail in between both posts. Align the rail 6 inches lower than the top of each post and screw each bracket onto the post. Follow the same procedure to install the lower rails, but leave a space of 28 inches between upper and lower rails.
Remove the pickets carefully from one side of the pallet using a claw hammer or pry bar. Place each picket vertically against the upper and lower rails, but align the top of each picket horizontally with the top of the posts. Fasten the pickets onto the upper and lower rails using screws, but space the pickets out evenly from side to side.
Cut two pieces of 1 x 2 boards to serve as upper and lower horizontal rails according to the width of the gate. Mount each picket vertically onto both rails. Follow the previous measurements for spacing the rails and the pickets. Screw heavy-duty hinges onto one end of the gate's upper and lower rails. Align the gate rails with those of the fence, and then screw the hinges tightly onto the post.
- Check with your local building permit office regarding building codes and other applicable regulations before starting your project.
- Check with utility companies to make sure you will not cause damage to gas or electrical lines buried beneath the ground.
Raul Avenir has been writing for various websites since 2009, authoring numerous articles concentrated on business and technology. He is a technically inclined businessman experienced in construction and real estate development. Aside from being an accountant, Avenir is also a business consultant. He graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in business administration.