How to Build a Wooden Lattice Fence

This post is sponsored by Lowe’s Home Improvement. All opinions our own. Not too long after buying our house we quickly discovered the value of installing a wooden lattice fence. Our house is historic (Ulysses S. Grant smoked his last cigar here!) so we had to take the historic nature of the house into consideration. Plastic is not an option if you are a working with a historic property. We completely understand it’s easier to maintain, but for us the historic feel of our home and surrounding property are more important than maintenance. We looked at the product a few local fence places offered and the cost to install – that’s when we decided to DIY. No joke it’s a lot of work, we get it! But sweat equity keeps cash in our pocket to reinvest in our home elsewhere.

Why Wooden Lattice? We wanted some visibility and didn’t want to completely block off the view between the yard sections. Plus, it looks nice! Once we have this all painted, it will fit right in with the house and landscape.

Let’s talk about lifestyle. Every renovation project we consider gets moved to the top of our list if it makes our day-to-day life better. The fence is a high priority on a personal level because of our dogs. We have two dogs (Nero, a boxer and Sugar, a pibble) who need a place to run and get their energy out. Our dogs don’t really have a place to run off leash without the risk of them taking off after a deer. No invisible fence will help with that, plus we live close to a busy road and are concerned about the dogs being hit by a car. This fence will provide peace of mind.

Wildlife! We notice lots of wildlife like deer and moles in the back yard. The deer eat everything and carry ticks. We need to stop the deer! We’ve had a 6 foot fence by our garden for the past two years and the deer have not bothered with it. Hopefully we have the same luck with this fence – deer can topple a fence if they are hungry! I think we’ll have to watch out in the winter.

Ticks and Lyme disease are very prevalent in the area we live. The fence is the start of claiming a perimeter for our yard and focusing on tick control over the next few years. A fence will help keep the big animals out, and we are going to use tick tubes to address the small critters like mice that are big carriers of ticks. I’ve talked to a few people who started using these years ago and have found positive feedback. It’s still experimental, but we’re willing to try anything. I was talking to a friend and they suggested a few more simple things we can do to reduce the ticks in the yard. I’ll follow up with another post specifically on tick control.

How to Make a Wooden Lattice Fence

We broke this project out in three phases to make it easier. After working on it and boiling down the steps, it’s not that bad. Get comfortable with different tools, cause you are going to use a lot of them.  All of the tools used for this project are things we’ll use for house projects in the future. If we could provide any insight on how long or hard certain steps are we added notes in each section. These frames are about 6 feet tall by 8 feet in length. Measure your property perimeter and divide by eight. This should give you an approximate number of frames minus gate openings. Grab some spray paint and map out your fence!

First we make the lattice frames, and second the frames are nailed between two wooden posts set in concrete. Lastly we focus on finishing details. This project is custom design based on research and going on many garden tours to see how fences were constructed. We figured if our house was built before there was electricity (in 1850) we could build this fence! You could make design changes, or adapt this design so it’s 4 feet high rather than the 6 feet. Our dogs could clear four feet in the blink of an eye, plus our friends the deer. We opted for the higher fence.

 

Phase 1: Make the Wooden Lattice Frames

How to Build a Wooden Lattice FenceFor this step we’re going to make a lattice sandwich. Yupp, your two pieces of bread are the wood that goes on both sides, and your sandwich filling is the lattice in the middle.

– Set up your work area: You’ll need to set up a little workshop on your lawn. We used two 4×8 pieces of plywood and 4 saw horses for our work station. Set up another table for your saw, plus an area for your compressor and saw. When you have your frame supplies delivered, make sure they are close to this area so you don’t have to carry them a distance.

– Place a 2 x 8 ft piece of lattice and 4 x 8 ft piece of lattice on your work table. Take two pieces of 4x8s and sandwich the lattice on the top. Making sure the lattice is aligned at the top of the 4×8, nail together. Repeat for the bottom, aligning the lattice at the bottom. Avoid the lattice hanging out beyond the board.

– Square up the top and bottom to each other as closely as possible. Measure each side and use the larger number. Using the larger number will help you square up your panel. Cut four 1x8s to length using a chop saw – you’ll need four pieces – two for each side.

– Sandwich the lattice between the cut 1x8s on each side and nail together. Take care you don’t see any gaps and everything fits tightly together.

– Measure the length of the inside frame where the two pieces of lattice meet, you’ll create a cross bar. Cut two 1x8s to fit and nail in place. Take care to use extra nails to secure the lattice. Some of the lattice was not square and we had a gap on one side. This piece of wood covers anything so you don’t see the lattice seam when the fence is completed. Plus it acts as a cross bar for support.

– Lastly, trim any lattice overhang. The edges of your frame should be flush so you can add a cap and nail the edges to the 4 x 4 posts with no gaps. We used a saw to quickly trim off any over hang.

That’s it! Get into a workflow and these will go fast. We worked as a team of two and found it took about 15-20 minutes to build one frame.

All supplies and tools are from Lowe’s. You’ll probably need more lattice and wood than what’s stocked in the store. Go to the Pro Services Desk to place a special order and you can have it delivered directly to your home. We broke out the list of supplies in two areas, one for what supplies you’d need for each frame, calculate how many frames you need and multiply the list. The second list, ‘Tools and Supplies’ are items you might have or things you’ll need for building or installing that you’ll use over and over.

Supplies for making one wooden lattice frame

Tools and other supplies needed for making wooden lattice frames

 

Phase 2: Installing the Panels

– Take a string and mark your fence line. This will ensure you’re installing the fence in a straight line! We had to ensure we were within 3 feet of our property line and lots of measuring was required. The line really helps to visualize where your fence posts will go.

– Using a can of spray paint, mark your first hole and auger away. If you have documentation for electrical, sewage, wells, etc. make sure you stay clear! You need to make a 2 foot or 24 inch deep hole. This places your posts so the frost line won’t push them up. **Augering is the part of the project that is down right time consuming. You hit a rock, you stop and get the rock out. It’s physically challenging. We hit a lot of rocks. Plan to work on cooler days and get a few friends to help out.**

–Set your first post! Using a level make sure your post is level and attach a temporary jack. Add Quikrete  (follow directions on package). Wait for this post to completely set. We used 1/2 bag to 1 bag for each hole, depending on how wide the hole was.

– Figure out how far you want your frame from the ground and make some supports to hold the frame up until you set the next post. We used scrap 4×4 posts.

– Attach a frame to the first post using a framing nailer with 3 inch nails.

– Add a jack to the post and make sure it stays level! Set the post in cement.

– Keep going down the line for your fence. We attached one post at a time, then marked the hole to aug for the next post. If we would have augged all the holes at once and were off five inches or so, we could have created a lot more work. Working one at a time, while slower, guarantees our measurements were spot on.

Supplies for installing each panel

Tools and Supplies needed for installing the panels

 

Phase 3: Finishing Touches

– You’re gonna have to make your post tops look fantastic. Trim the post to the desired height, and attach a post cap. We used a reciprocating saw. Make sure you let your concrete complete set up before you do this step.

– An optional but nice looking finishing touch it to cap the top of the frames. We used a 1x4x8 and nailed it in place.

– If you want to paint of stain your fence, you’re gonna have to wait. Believe me, I so wanted a TV show reveal here, but this is real life. The wood we used is weather treated, meaning it’s treated with a sealer to make it repel water. If you put water on it, it’ll bead up. As you can imagine if you are using a water based paint of stain, this is not going to end well. The paint or stain will not stick properly to the wood. You have to wait 8 months to a year before you can stain or paint. One way to test, is to spray water on the wood and see if it soaks in or beads up. If the water soaks in, you are ready to paint. Trust me, I was dreaming of walking the length of our fence spraying the paint with a paint gun, but alas, we must wait. Follow us on Instagram and you’ll see us paint the fence in the summer of 2019.

Supplies for finishing the fence

Tools needed for finishing the fence

 

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7 Comments

  1. Reply

    Nadine

    August 10, 2018

    You did a really really good job! I love that you maintain the authenticity with natural materials. It will be interesting to see the fence weathering and finally being painted.

  2. Reply

    Lori

    August 15, 2018

    What a huge job! I’m sure you guys are so relieved to be done with this part. I can’t wait to see how it looks once you’re able to paint/stain it! One word of caution, though: when I bought my house, the front porch railings were all constructed like this, and every one of them sagged in the middle. It might be a good idea to add some center supports under the bottom rails, just as insurance.

  3. Reply

    Lauren Starkey

    August 18, 2018

    Your fence looks fabulous! I noticed your comments about tics, though, and am wondering of you have Seresto collars for your dogs? We walk our dog off leash on the woods a few times a week and she used to have multiple tics each time. Since we started using it she has literally never had another tic. I have no ties to the company–just saying it has been amazingly effective. I have heard mixed things about tic tubes, spraying, getting chickens, and other forms of “tic control.” I know there are a lot of ideas out there, but the collars really work.
    Thanks for all of your lovely, inspiring work. Your aethestic is wonderful.

  4. Reply

    Rachel

    August 20, 2018

    so the people i bought my house from made a fence just like this….and it has not aged well. it’s about 11 years old now, and the lattice has bowed, the caps have disintegrated, the framing around the lattice pops off from time to time, and the gates barely open. and unlike a fence with vertical slats, where you can remove and replace one broken slat, if you break the lattice, or it needs to be replaced, it’s a huge deal.
    and one of the previous owners was a master woodworker, so it was constructed as well as the materials allow.
    i wish you good luck on the longevity of your project, but i’m not optimistic for you.

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