Building a pallet fence could 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 small 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 remember before forging ahead with your pallet fence project. Below are some pros and cons of using pallets as fencing material.
Pallet fence pros:
- Cost. Chances are you can find pallets very cheap with minimal effort. Check with businesses in your area or look at your local online classifieds and you’ll likely find business owners happy to be rid of their unused pallets. We’ve been able to find free pallets on our local Facebook marketplace.
- 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.Wooden 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 sit around in an unsightly pile for years. We see this happen all the time in our area; stacks of old pallets end up in piles behind warehouses indefinitely.
Pallet fence cons:
- Aesthetics. While some people like the rustic appearance of pallet wood, 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 come in various 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 determining whether 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 great ideas:
Using pallets to build a chicken run is brilliant, in my opinion. As you can see in this great 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.
Pallets are the perfect solution if you’re looking for an easy way to fence off your compost pile. 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 best thing about using pallets for compost (besides being a super cheap option) is that you can easily build multi-bin systems to accommodate compost at various stages.
Keeping critters out of the garden can be challenging, 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.
The creative garden below 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 simple pallet fence is another way to effectively fence off a vegetable garden. 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!
Decorative outdoor fencing
Pallets can make a beautiful way to fence off an outdoor area for relaxing or entertaining. Pallet boards can be customized to make a quick, easy privacy area in just about whatever layout you can fathom in any size space.
More pallet fence ideas
Want some more wood 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 different colors! 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 against this unique fence.
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 great options 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 design 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, a simple pallet fence can give a pretty, rustic look to any property. More importantly, they are functional and make great use of materials otherwise bound for the trash or junk pile.
How to build a pallet fence
Ready to tackle your pallet fencing project? Excellent! The first thing you’ll need to do is 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.
The greatest part of this project is the flexibility. You can fence off a small garden or an entire backyard. See the step-by-step instructions below.
1. Pallets (The number will depend on the size of the fence you want to build. Ensure they are all the same size)
2. Wooden posts (4×4’s or similar) or metal T-posts
3. Concrete (if using wooden posts)
4. Fence clips (if using metal T-posts)
5. Screws or nails (outdoor grade, at least 2.5-inch long)
6. Saw (handsaw or power saw)
9. Tape Measure
11. Paint (optional)
12. Sandpaper (optional)
13. Hinges and latch for the gate
1. Plan Your Design: Decide how high and long your new fence will be. Include the location of your gate. Make sure all your pallets are the same size. This is crucial to make your fence uniform and stable.
2. Prepare the Pallets: If necessary, clean your pallets and remove any protruding nails. Depending on the quality of the pallets, you might want to sand them down to avoid splinters.
3. Lay Out the Fence: Using your tape measure and string, mark the path of your fence. The distance between your fence posts should be the width of your pallets. The gate will also need two posts on either side.
4. Install the fence posts: If using wood posts, dig holes for your fence posts. The holes should be deep enough so that one-third of the total post length will be buried (for example, if your post is 9 feet long, dig a hole 3 feet deep). Then, mix your concrete following the instructions on the bag and pour it into the holes. Insert your posts into the holes. Use a level to make sure they’re straight. Then, let the concrete set according to the instructions on the bag.
If using metal T-posts, you can drive them into the ground with a post driver until only the T is above the ground. For both types, make sure they’re straight and in line.
5. Attach the Pallets: If you use wooden posts, you can directly screw or nail the pallets to the posts. If you’re using metal T-posts, you can use fence clips to secure the pallets to the posts.
6. Continue Adding Pallets: Attach the next pallet to the post and the adjacent pallet. Make sure the pallets are tightly butted against each other. Continue this process until you’ve covered the entire length of your fence.
7. Create the Gate: Pallet gates are easy to add to your fence. To create a gate, you’ll need to measure the space between the two posts where you want the gate to be. Cut a pallet to fit this space if necessary. Then, attach the hinges to one side of the gate and to the corresponding post. On the opposite side of the gate, install the latch hardware.
8. Add Finishing Touches: If desired, you can paint or stain your fence for a more finished look. This also adds a layer of protection to the wood.
9. Maintenance: Check your fence periodically for loose or broken boards, splinters, or protruding nails that could cause injury. Keep an eye out for rot or other damage, especially after severe weather.
As with all DIY projects, always wear appropriate safety gear when building your fence, including gloves and eye protection. Be careful when handling tools, and ask for help if you’re unsure about any part of the process.
As you can see from the ideas presented here, building a fence with pallets can be done in various ways. Your chosen method 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.
In conclusion, pallet fences are a great way to add a rustic and eco-friendly touch to your yard. With a bit of creativity and some basic DIY skills, you can easily build your own pallet fence.
Whether you want to create a boundary around your garden or simply a decorative accent for your outdoor space, a pallet fence can be customized to suit your needs. By following the tips and ideas we’ve shared in this blog post, you’ll be well on your way to creating a beautiful and functional wooden fence. So why wait? Start collecting those pallets and get building!