How to Make a Privacy Fence With Trellis


"Trellis," when describing a material, is the familiar term for "lattice"---a panel made of crisscrossed slats of milled wood. Lattice offers several advantages for privacy fencing. It's attractive and visually less imposing than a solid panel or plank fence, its open-weave construction allows for some airflow through the fence and it's the perfect structure for supporting vines and climbing plants. Lattice is commonly available in cedar, redwood, pressure-treated wood and plastic. Wood lattice panels come in 2-by-4-foot, 2-by-8-foot and 4-by-8-foot pieces, with a total panel thickness of 3/8 inch, 3/4 inch and greater. Available patterns include both diamond weave and square patterns with large and small openings.

Things You'll Need

  • Stakes
  • Mason's string
  • Excavation tools
  • 4-by-4-inch fence posts
  • Concrete
  • Basic carpentry tools
  • Line level
  • 2-by-4-inch lumber
  • 1-by-1-inch lumber or trim
  • 4-by-8-foot lattice panels
  • Exterior nails or deck screws
  • Lay out the fence line using stakes and mason's string. Mark the post locations on the line, spacing them at 8-foot or smaller intervals. Dig a hole and set each post in concrete so that the post is straight, using a level to make sure each post is perfectly plumb.

  • Mark one of the posts at the desired height (6 feet is the maximum allowable fence height in many areas), and then string a line level across the posts. Mark the posts at the line, and then trim the posts to height.

  • Cut two 2-by-4-inch rails (stringers) to fit horizontally between each pair of posts. Fasten the rails near the top and the bottom of the posts, spacing them to accommodate the lattice panels.

  • Mark layout lines on the inside faces of the posts for positioning the outer retainer strips (made with 1-by-1 lumber or trim as desired). When installed, the panel and inner and outer retainer strips should be centered on the faces of the posts and rails. Cut all of the retainer strips, and then install the outer strips onto the posts and rails.

  • Cut a lattice panel to fit each frame of rails and posts, leaving a gap of about 1/4 inch for expansion. Set the panels in place and secure them with the inner strips, fastening the strips to the posts and rails using exterior nails or deck screws.

Tips & Warnings

  • Contact your city's building department to learn about any height restrictions, construction specifications and zoning and permitting requirements pertaining to your project.
  • All lumber must be pressure-treated wood or a rot-resistant grade of cedar or other wood species.

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  • Photo Credit Latice image by J Elkins from
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