How to Build a Six Foot Cedar Fence


Great fences make good neighbors...

There is something to be said about the deliniation of your property in comparison to the world.

A fence is functional, it is a security item and it is also a statement to the world.

Things You'll Need

  • Accurate design sketch
  • Building Permit
  • Tools (listed in article steps)
  • Materials (listed in article steps)
  • Create an accurate sketch of the area that you want to enclose with a six foot cedar fence. Layout and design work always comes first and is important to be able to plan for the amount of fencing material that you need. Use a sharp pencil and straight edge ruler to create your sketch on an over sized clean sheet of paper.

  • Create an accurate list of materials required for the job by looking at your design sketch and then making a mark along the fence line every eight feet to indicate the location of a vertical fence post. You will need a minimum of one eight foot long fence post every eight feet.

  • Determine the number of horizontal boards (stringers) that you will need for your fence by marking the lines between the posts with a number "2" or "3". Two stringers at the minimum but three will provide a much better fence. Use three.

  • Determine the number of fence pickets that you will need. Cedar pickets usually come in six in wide or three inch wide standard sizes. Multiply the number if eight foot sections on your design sketch by 18 for six inch wide pickets or by 32 for three inch wide pickets. Add and additional ten percent for damages, you can always return the unused material.

  • Using your design sketch, layout the fence line on the ground using a spool of nylon construction string and wood stakes hammered into the ground.

  • Use basic trigonometry to create square corners by applying the 3-4-5 triangle theory to the corners.

  • Dig a post hole into the ground at each loaction on your design sketch. Use a post hole digger and a spade shovel or rent a power auger if you have a large number of holes to dig. The post holes should all be dug to 24 inches deep.

  • Add two inches of crushed gravel to the bottom of each post hole and then place an eight foot cedar post into each hole.

  • Fill each post hole with a 90 pound bag of dry pre-mixed concrete. Use a four foot level to make sure each post is perfectly vertical and then add water to each hole making sure to force water all the way into the dry concrete mix.

  • Attach three horizontal eight foot cedar 2-by-4 boards between each vertical post. Space the horizontal boards by placing the first one at the center of each post and then measure eight inches from the top of each post for the top stringer and then measure eight inches from the bottom of each post for the bottom stringer. Use three inch long deck screws to attach the stringers to the post.

  • Attach either 3 inch wide or 6 inch wide vertical pickets to the horizontal stringers by using 1 1/2 inch long galvanized wood screws. Run a line of nylon construction string between the two posts you are working between to maintain a straight line at the top of the fence that is even with the top of the posts. It's okay to place the pickets right next to each other during the installation but make sure to use a four foot level to insure that each picket is perfectly vertical.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clear the ground area along the fence line
  • Take the time to run string between each section when attaching pickets
  • Wait several weeks before applying any wood sealant to the cedar to allow for wood drying.
  • Replace any split pickets after a few weeks of drying time.

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