How to Make a Grave Fence

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Things You'll Need

  • Trellises (such as 5-foot ladder trellises)

  • Newspaper

  • Black paint, preferably ecofriendly paint or spray paint, if needed

  • Finials (the decorative tips of lamps, curtain poles or old fences -- optional)

  • Extra-strength adhesive designed for wood and metal

  • Metal garden stakes

  • Long black twist ties or green floral wire

A grave fence adds atmosphere to a Halloween graveyard or haunted house.
Image Credit: Jupiterimages/ Images

In the 19th century, individual graves sometimes had fences, known as a grave fence. These were sometimes wooden, such as a picket fence, or wrought iron fences. Old wrought iron grave fences often have decorations along the top, including spikes, flowers and designs. Grave fence also applies to a fence surrounding a graveyard or cemetery. A grave fence can be simple or ornate, and adds realism as a Halloween prop for a graveyard or haunted house. Build a grave fence with common tools and garden materials to add a chilling atmosphere to a party, event or theater production.


Step 1

Spread newspaper on a worktable or the ground outside. Lay the trellises on the newspaper. Spray-paint or hand paint the trellises and allow them to dry for at least an hour. The drying time can vary, depending on the humidity and how heavily you painted the wood.

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Step 2

A grave fence adds atmosphere.
Image Credit: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Turn the trellises over and paint the other side. Allow the paint to dry until the trellises feel dry to the touch.

Step 3

Prop a trellis up on its side to create a low fence. Have someone hold it for you or lean it against anything that's handy at the location you want to erect it. Use metal garden stakes to anchor the grave fence in place every 2 to 3 feet on each side to hold it up securely. Place the next piece of trellis at a 90-degree angle to create a corner, or place them end-to-end for a longer grave fence. Secure the second piece of trellis the same way. Wire the trellis ends together with twist ties or wire 8 to 12 inches apart. Continue adding trellis pieces for the desired size and shape of the grave fence.


Step 4

Add finials to one edge of the trellises to decorate the tops of the grave fence, if desired. Apply extra-strength adhesive to the base of a finial and press it against the trellis at the top of a vertical slat. Hold the finial in place for a slow count of 30 to allow the adhesive to take effect. Space the finials along the part of the fence that will show the most when guest's arrive. It's fine if the finials don't match.


A ladder trellis has three parallel supports with evenly spaced crossbars. When you turn a ladder trellis panel on its side, it looks like a short fence.


Use enough lighting to make sure guests won't trip over the grave fence.


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