Building a pallet fence could very well be one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to meet your fencing needs. Wood pallets are abundant just about everywhere and can often be found for free from businesses in your area. With a few additional materials, you could turn a heap of pallets that would otherwise be bound for the dump into attractive, functional fencing on your property.
We’ve shown you some pretty cool upcycled wood pallet projects before, including a greenhouse made from old pallets and a beautifully upcycled pallet front porch. When it comes to fencing, pallets make the ideal building block and are certainly a logical and budget-friendly option for DIY fence builders to consider.
Pallet Fence Pros and Cons
While you’ll likely not find an easier or cheaper fencing material, there are a few factors to keep in mind before forging ahead with your pallet fence project. Below are some of the pros and cons of using pallets as fencing material.
Pallet fence pros:
Cost. Chances are you can find pallets very cheap or for free with minimal effort. Check with businesses in your area or look at your local online classifieds and you’ll likely find business owners that are happy to be rid of their unused pallets.
Convenience. Since pallets are pre-built into a sturdy square or rectangle shape, they are like fence panels ready to be placed with little additional preparation or assembly required.
Durability. Wood pallets are built to withstand very heavy loads and weathering, so they are naturally a stable and resilient fencing component.
Upcyle! If you build your fence with used pallets, you are utilizing a material that might end up in a dump or just sit around in an unsightly pile for years. We see this happen all the time in our area; stacks of old pallets that end up in piles behind warehouses for years.
Pallet fence cons:
Aesthetics. While some people like the rustic appearance of pallets, some find the look a little too rough. This could be remedied with some sanding and paint, but it depends on how much work you want to put into them.
Pallets also may not be a fencing option in areas with housing covenants that permit only specific types of fencing.
Size. If you need a tall fence, pallets may not work unless you stack them. As a privacy fence, for example, most pallets are too short. They may also be inadequate for some livestock and for dogs that are jumpers. Additionally, the space between the slats makes pallets inconvenient for keeping small animals contained unless the pallets are covered in chicken wire.
Pallets do come in a variety of sizes, however, so you may be able to find some that are ideal for your project.
Safety. Not all pallets are created equal. Some are treated with harsh chemicals to keep pests at bay, while others are heat-treated for this purpose. We have touched on this in previous articles, and Instructables has a great guide on how to determine whether or not a pallet is safe for use.
In short, opt for heat-treated pallets for use around your property rather than chemically-treated pallets.
Pallet Fence Ideas
Whatever it is you need a fence for, pallets are versatile enough to suit all kinds of situations. From garden fences to compost bins, here are a few inspiring examples:
Using pallets to build a chicken run is brilliant, in my opinion. As you can see in this example from Attainable Sustainable, these pallets are the perfect size for letting this flock of chickens out to roam. This was built using 4×4 posts as support between the pallets.
Many chicken breeds can fly over a fence this high, so covering the top of the run with chicken wire or netting may be necessary to keep your flock completely contained. This cute little DIY coop is a good example of using both chicken wire and netting along with pallets for a nice, inexpensive option for chickens.
If you’re looking for an easy way to fence off your compost pile, pallets are the perfect solution. This 3-bin compost system was made by Joe Gardener, and is similar to the DIY pallet compost bins we wrote about a few years ago.
I had a compost bin made out of pallets at my previous home, and it worked brilliantly. The fence kept my dogs and young kids out of the compost pile while containing everything in just the right amount of space.
The beauty of using pallets for compost (other than the fact that it’s a super cheap option) is you can very easily build multi-bin systems to accommodate compost at various stages.
Keeping critters out of the garden can be a challenge, especially when new plants are small and easy to walk on (or eat!). The folks over at Two Bears Farm built this pallet fence on the cheap to protect their beautiful garden.
This beautiful garden shows how pallets can be used within a garden as well as around it. In this case, pallets enclose sections of raised beds with contrasting colors for striking visual interest.
This stunning garden fence is another super simple way to fence off a garden with pallets. This one looks like it does the job quite well, with the added benefit of providing extra planting space at the top of the pallets! Do you know who made this beauty? If so, please let us know!
More pallet Fence Ideas
Want some more pallet fence inspiration? Whether you need a unique privacy fence, a dog pen, or just a quick way to fence off your yard, the following are more creative ways people have utilized pallets on their properties.
Add some color! Pallet fences can be pretty when left their natural color, but you can really up the appeal with a coat of paint. The turquoise fence at this outdoor cafe really pops!
Pallets are particularly striking when painted black, as you can see here. The yellow sunflowers in the background make a beautiful contrast.
Go vertical – and add planters! Though we said most pallets are too short for a privacy fence, some creative stacking and good support can make it possible. Pallets also happen to be ideal for hanging planters if you want a creative vertical garden.
Better yet – build a wall! And add more plants. 😉
Mix it up. This may be difficult for perfectionists (me), but you don’t need your pallet fence to be perfectly consistent. Use what you have available if you need something to contain livestock or pets, or just to keep critters out of your garden. After all, a big part of sustainable and off grid living is using what resources you have available. If it works, it works!
No matter how you build them, pallet fences can be really pretty, in a rustic way. More importantly, they are functional and make great use of materials otherwise bound for the trash or junk pile.
Building a Pallet Fence
Ready to tackle your fencing project with pallets? Excellent! First things first, you need to find the pallets and, as mentioned above, ensure they meet safety standards. Next, decide how many you’ll need based on the size of pallets you find and how big an area you plan to fence. Finally, decide how you’ll attach them to each other and anchor them into the ground.
As you can see with the ideas presented in this article, building a fence with pallets can be done in a variety of ways. The method you choose will depend on your preferences, budget, and intended use. See the videos below for a couple more ideas on how to build your pallet fence step-by-step.