How to Build a Pallet Fence (And Why)

by Oliver Guess | LAST UPDATED July 6, 2021

pallet fence
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Making a pallet fence is quick, cheap, and a great way to spend the day.

That last point will kind of depend on the type of person that you are, but if you’re anything like us, then you’re just looking forward to the weekend when you can come up with new pallet fence ideas for your garden. While this initially might not seem too interesting, the sheer amount of different pallet garden fences that you can build can really bring out the arts and crafts spirit in just about anyone.

However, if you’re not really the creative type and are just trying to make a simple pallet fence, then this particular material can really prove to be both economical and reliable. Additionally, most pallet fence projects usually take around two days tops, so you’ll be able to create a functioning garden fence in a single weekend.

We’ll go over everything in more detail as we go through the article, but the first thing that we should probably address is the price of this sort of fence.

Cost of Pallet Fencing

The most obvious reason why people build pallet fences is obviously going to be the insanely cheap price. Depending on the size of your garden and the dimensions of the area that you want to fence, you could probably get away with using half a dozen to a dozen pallets as the building materials.

This will also depend on the number of slats that a wood pallet has, since certain types have 6, while others have 7, which doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but it still means that you get one more fence post per pallet.

You’ll be able to find pallets in three sizes: 42” x 42”, 48” x 48”, and 48" x 40" pallets. The difference in the dimensions doesn’t mean much for the price tag since you’ll easily be able to find GMA-certified pallets for $11 or $13 apiece. 

If you take our earlier estimation of needing 6-12 to complete an entire fence, then that means that your wooden pallet fence is going to set you back anywhere between $70 and $160. I think that you’ll agree with the fact that even the highest estimate that we came to is a ridiculously low price tag for a fence.

Additionally, you might also be able to buy a stack of around ten pallets for much cheaper than buying 3 or 4 at a time. This will depend on where you get your pallets from since GMA themselves don’t really offer discounts, but specific warehouses might be able to lower the price for you if you’re good at haggling.

Speaking of warehouses, a lot of them are also going to have broken or old pallets, and while they might not be able to support any weight for transportation purposes, the pallet boards can still be useful to you as long as they’re mostly intact. This means that you can probably score some free pallets from warehouses that are just looking to get rid of their useless wood.

They Are Great for Woodworking

The other reason why people really like to use pallets as building materials is because of how easily they lend themselves to DIY projects. What we mean by this is that the wood itself is already there and very easily accessible.

All you really need to do in order to make a wood pallet fence is to find pallets, get a crowbar, and remove the boards from the pallets. Since pallets are essentially just a few boards nailed onto three deck boards at the bottom, it’s very easy to turn them into materials you can use to make a new fence.

A pallet can be made out of various types of wood like hickory, mahogany, maple, oak, teak, walnut, or various pine types. Some of these are hardwoods, while others are a lot softer, but they can all be used to make a great-looking pallet fence without fear of the wood bending or breaking.

Of course, the wood itself isn’t indestructible and will shatter if enough force is applied to it, but the boards that you can extract are as reliable as they come, which stands to reason since their primary use is the transportation of heavy materials.

DIY Pallet Fence Designs

There are probably more ways to use wooden boards than stars in the night sky, so we can’t possibly go through all of the different fence designs and ideas. What we can do, however, is run you through what we believe to be the three best pallet fence designs that you can make. 

Additionally, we’ll also go through all of the necessary preparation that you need to do beforehand and the step-by-step instructions. So without further ado, let’s just jump into it.

Picket Fence

Wooden fence

The first thing that you’re going to need to do is to get a crowbar and pull out all of the pallet boards from the deck boards at the bottom. After you’ve done that, you’re going to need to separate all of the boards you’ve collected by length.

As we mentioned before, there are pallets of different dimensions, so if all of your boards aren’t the same size, you’re going to use the longer ones as ground stakes and the shorter ones as the horizontal connector boards between the stakes.

We should mention that you’re going to need a lot more stakes than connectors, so if you have more short boards than long ones, you can simply make the fence itself a bit shorter and have more stakes on a single connector.

After you’ve decided which boards are going to be your stakes, you’re going to do the next steps in the following order:

  • Sharpen the stakes to a triangular point on one end;
  • You can either leave the other side as it is, or you can make more of a rounded triangular shape in order to get the classic picket fence look;
  • Dig a narrow hole for the initial stake;
  • Measure out the distance that you want your stakes to be placed at;
  • Dig holes for each individual stake that are evenly spaced out;
  • Insert the stakes point-first into the holes and use a soft mallet to hammer them down;
  • Fill the holes and tamper down the soil around the stakes;
  • Add a line of connectors near the bottom and the top of the fence;
  • If you only have enough board for one line of connectors, then either place them near the top or close to the middle;
  • Nail the connectors to the stakes, or use some rope to tie them on.

As for the fence gate, you can simply get around five or six boards, fasten them together with a connector, and attach them on one side to a fence board using door hinges in order to get a pallet gate. The other side can be fitted with a latch or handle of your choosing.

Privacy Fence

Privacy wooden fence

A privacy fence is simply a fence without any gaps that you can see through. As the name might suggest, the point of this sort of fence is to shield you and your property from onlookers, which means that it’s going to need to be stacked pretty high.

Most people usually stack two pallets on top of one another horizontally, but you can also do it vertically if your particular pallets are longer than they are wide and if you’re looking to get a few more inches of fence height.

For this fence, you’ll want to keep half of the pallets intact and remove the boards from the other half. The removed boards are then going to be nailed onto the intact pallets so that they cover up the gaps in between the already existing boards. Alternatively, you can simply buy pallets that don’t have any spacing in between the boards.

The next step is going to be getting a few sturdy stakes to connect the fence panels. Then you’re going to do the following:

  • Dig a hole for the stake;
  • Place the first stake in the ground;
  • Nail the first pallet to the stake by the middle deck board;
  • Place the second pallet on top of the first and nail it to the stake and the bottom pallet;
  • Place a pallet next to the grounded fence panel in order to measure out where you need to place the next stake;
  • Repeat.

As with the picket fence, you’re going to want to leave a gap for your door, which you’re going to make by nailing two pallets, one on top of the other and attaching two hinges to each. 

Potted Plant

Pallet fence potted plant

We should clarify that you won’t really be able to make a raised garden out of your pallet fence. This isn’t really meant as a homesteading solution that will allow you to grow veggies in gardens that don’t really have a lot of outdoor space. This is simply a way to add a bit of color to your fence that’ll make it a bit more fun to look at.

There are two ways that you can tackle setting up this sort of fence:

  1. You can dig a shallow ditch where you want the fence to be that’s as wide as the deck board is wide. Then you’re going to place your pallet in the ditch, cover the bottom-most deck board with soil, and line the pallets up next to one another.
  1. You can use stakes and nail all three deck boards to it in order to keep the fence stable and repeat the same process for every pallet down the line.

It’s very important that the deck boards are kept horizontally since that’s what we’re going to be using as our planters. To accomplish this, all you need to do to accomplish this is to get a few boards, cover the bottoms of the deck boards, fill them with soil, and plant your seed of choice.

You can either use all of the deck boards as planters or just the topmost one since that’s the one that will be visible from the outside of the garden.

Conclusion

As you might have noticed, we mostly stuck to either using the original shape of the pallets themselves or the boards. This means that our pallet fences are easy and quick to make but might disappoint some people that were expecting instructions on trellis fences.

If that’s the sort of tutorial you’re looking for, then you might want to go to Instructables or Hometalk and simply learn how to make anything from a coffee table to Halloween decorations from a pallet.

However, if what you were looking for was an easy and cheap way to fence off your property, we believe any of our solutions would be an excellent option for you.

Oliver Guess
Oliver is an off-grid living enthusiast currently residing in the mountains of New Mexico. His interests in sustainability originally lead him down the path of an off the grid lifestyle. When he's not tinkering with his broken solar panels, Oliver enjoys searching out hot springs, whittling and cooking.

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