Using Built In-Place or Pre-Built Fence Panels
There are three basic types of fence panel. Which you choose depends
on your preferences, skill level, and available time.
Traditionally, fences are built in place. The posts are set, stringers
are installed, and then boards are attached to the stringers. This method
is by far the most versatile because it allows you to design your own
fence and adjustments are easily made during construction. With a built
in place fence, it is easier to adjust for posts that need to be shifted
slightly or uneven section sizes dictated by changes in elevation or
the presence of other landscape features. Board spacing can be varied
and features such as flower planters planned into the fence. Building
a fence in place is also the easiest method if you are working alone.
Building your own modular panels is also an alternative. This is a
great option for areas that are difficult to work in, such as steep slopes
or where there a lot of bushes. It is also a time-saver since you can
build panels while the posts are being set or the concrete is curing.
Much of the versatility of a built in place fence is retained but because
the panels are built, then put into place, you also gain many of the
advantages of pre-assembled panels purchased from a home store or lumber
Pre-built panels are a great time
saver and can save you money if you are paying for labor. They
are also a good choice if your access to tools is limited or you are
unsure of your carpentry skills. On the down-side they are more expensive
than the other choices and they limit the design versatility. Pre-built
panels require precisely spaced posts, do not allow for variation in
the fence layout and when used on a slope can only be installed in a
No matter whether you choose to build your fence panels in place, assemble
them yourself and install them as units, or purchase pre-assembled panels,
each has advantages and drawbacks. These should be considered from the
beginning of the planning process.