Modern Wood Fence – Step 4: Progress

I don’t have a concise title for this post. I was going to call it staining posts, spacing and nailing planks and troubleshooting but that seemed to long. Also, the next step is going to be more of the same.

I failed to take any pictures while we worked on this first side of the fence so here it is. You’ll notice that about half-way between each 4×4 post (that’s either anchored to the concrete with an EZ Post bracket or concreted into the yard) Jason added another vertical 2×4. Each plank is nailed to this 2×4 to keep the planks from warping or bowing out between the 4×4 posts, which are a little less than 8′ apart.

This is where we left off when we had to go buy more wood. We just have a sedan so it takes a lot of trips to the hardware store to get all this wood.

Our handy EZ Post brackets cause a minor predicament because the planks couldn’t be nailed into the post for the bottom 6″ or so. That is enough room for pesky disgusting cats to get into our garden. Not acceptable.

Jason came up with this solution to add 2x4s along the sides of the posts at the bottom so he’d have something to nail the planks into.

That works.

Here’s a look from the other side. Lucy approves.

We’re using this scrap of wood as a spacer to make all the planks equal distance apart. When we’re working together (and I’m not taking pictures) it moves a lot faster because I get the next plank ready and place the spacer while Jason does the nailing. (Oooooh… I love those sexy arms!)

Proper fence etiquete is to put the outside, finished side of the fence facing your neighbors and to put the backside facing your own yard. Because this fence is not going around the perimeter of our yard—and we may some day add a perimeter privacy fence–we opted to put the finished side facing in. That created another slight problem when it came to the first corner. Jason came up with a clever solution using a 2×4.

Here’s an illustrated top view of the corner solution:

Nice and clean looking on the inside corner.

We’re using 8′ long planks and we purposely put the fence posts less than 8′ apart so we could trim off the excess and get all the ends clean and square at every post. Jason set his circular saw to the depth of the planks (they’re 1×3’s so approx 0.75″) and trimmed off the ends of the planks at the center point of the post.

It’s fun to watch.

Here’s what the other side of the post looks like. The planks are cut at the halfway point of the post so that Jason has room to nail the planks for the next section of fence.

We may or may not have learned this lesson the hard way on the first post: make sure you put all the horizontal plank nails only into one side of the post.

Because in the next step, you’ll be adding more planks to the other half of the post.

Excess post is cut off with the circular saw. (We got one 10′ post for this corner because of the height variance from the patio down to the yard. Not necessary, obviously.)

So here is where we left off. Out of wood. Out of time. And it got cold out.

We’re hopeful we can get it done in the next couple of weeks. Notice where Jason started testing out the stain/sealer.

The finished fence should end up looking just like this architectural trellis on the face of our house:


Step 1: InspirationStep 2: Planning, Step 3: Posts


27 Responses to Modern Wood Fence – Step 4: Progress

  1. Barbara says:

    I’ve never seen planks like that. What are you actually using? 1x2s?

    • mahlbrandt says:

      They’re 1×3’s actually. They’re a little tricky to find since it’s not a common size. We found that at Lowes and they only sell them untreated (so we have to stain & seal them so they’re outdoor ready).

      • Jarrett says:

        Hi, i just came accoss this post and am about to build a horizontal fence myself. Are those 1×3 furring strips or just an untreated 1×3? Im looking to build on a budget and id rather stain and poly untreated cheaper lumber than buy cedar but ive heard from people it wont last long. How is the fence holding up? Great job by the way, looks great!

        • mahlbrandt says:

          We moved from that house so I can’t speak to how long it lasted but we built a similar fence at our current house and it’s still holding up well 3 years later, although it could use another coat of stain/sealer. Yes, furring strips.

  2. SusanV says:

    I love it. I only wish we were that crafty on our own! You guys do so many awesome projects.

  3. Amy says:

    looks AWESOME so far!!!!!!!

  4. Lorraine Mory says:

    Looks like you’re making a lot of progress. Can’t wait to see it in person!

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  8. aaron says:

    so you used actual 1×2’s for the architectural trellis and 1×3’s for the fencing? what did you use for spacing for both projects? 1 inch? it’s hard tell from that one photo, but looks like a smaller sawed off section 1×2 or 1×3 turned sideways.

    • mahlbrandt says:

      Oh man… I can’t remember for sure now. Jason did the architectural trellis entirely himself in one day so I don’t remember much about the process. I was thinking it was the same 1x3s as the fence. 1x2s are very hard to work with because they’re brittle and rarely straight. For both projects we used a random piece of scrap wood out of our shed for spacing. I’d say it was approx a 1×3 (which of course is more like 0.75″)

    • mahlbrandt says:

      Sidenote: 1x3s are called furring strips

  9. John says:

    What size nails did you use to attach the furring strips to the posts? And how did you keep them from splitting out?

  10. Robert says:

    Just found your fence project after searching for ideas for my own upcoming project. I have to say, never thought of using furring strips! Clever and cheaper than cedar! The only thing is how durable it will be. Would you mind telling how it is holding up in the weather?

    • mahlbrandt says:

      We’ve since moved but from what we can tell driving past and from what our old neighbor tells us, it still looks good. We’ve just finished a fence at our new house using the same process.

  11. Guybo says:

    I’m so inspired by what you did!! My wife & I did our hot tub deck & surrounding area 27 years ago & now because of terminates it has to be torn down & rebuilt! It took us 8 straight days at 8 hrs each day! But now I will hire someone to knock down & rebuild. But I luv the 1×3 etc.. So because of your efforts I will read your entire story & have builders do it with your look! It’s a lot more detail than I’m explaining but it will look awesome because of your efforts!

    Thank You!

  12. Gail says:

    When you added the 2x4s so the planks wouldn’t warp did you put them on any kind of footing or are they a couple of inches off the ground when they aren’t over the patio section?

    I’m thinking I might also add planks on top of the spaces for additional privacy. I’m installing in a tiny back yard in the city, where people can be right up against the fence looking in. 😦

  13. Whitley Davis says:

    Can I ask how much this project cost? Start to finish?

  14. Julie wilds says:

    About how much was this fence by foot?

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