How Do You Build a Post-and-Rail Fence?

How Do You Build a Post-and-Rail Fence?

Build a post and rail fence by planning the fence, buying the supplies, planting the posts and assembling the rails. Depending on the location, it may be necessary to use different thicknesses of wood or treated wood, or to use cement to secure the posts. Required tools and supplies include wood, wooden posts, a drill, screws, shovels or a hole digger and a leveling string. Items like cement and gravel for leveling and securing posts are optional but good ideas.

  1. Plan the post and rail fence

    Plan out the size and location of the post and rail fence. If possible, check the ground to see if it requires leveling. Any fenced area for riding should be level. Plan the posts between 6 and 10 feet apart depending on how sturdy the fence should be. Placing posts closer together means that the fence is more durable but also that it costs more to build.

  2. Buy fencing materials

    Go to a hardware store with plans for the fence and buy the materials accordingly. Calculate the number of fence posts required based on the length of the fence. For example, a 30-by-3 foot fence with posts every 6 feet requires roughly 20 posts. Gate posts and corner posts are more important, and some builders use bigger and longer posts for extra stability. It is also a good idea to put a fence post on either side of the gate, no matter how wide the gate is. This may mean an extra post. Consider buying pretreated wood for durability.

  3. Sink the fence posts

    Use shovels or a post hole digger or employ a small backhoe to dig holes for the posts. Dig the holes at least a quarter of the depth of the post to ensure that it is solid. In loose ground, consider using gravel at the base and filling the hole around the post with cement rather than dirt.

  4. Attach the fence rails

    Use screws to attach the fence rails to the posts. Most fences require at least two rows to prevent animals from going through. Attach straight rails in even rows or create an "X' pattern for a different look. Make sure that the rails are on the inside of the fence to prevent horses or other animals from breaking out.