How to Build a Cheap Picket Fence

How to Build a Cheap Picket Fence

Picket fences instantly add charm and character to any home, but the cost of having one installed can be enough to leave you reeling. The good news is that you can still spruce up your property with a picket fence, even on a tight budget.

With a little planning, effort, and some basic construction know-how, you can build your own picket fence for a fraction of the cost. In this post, we’ll guide you through the practical steps on how to build a cheap picket fence that’s sturdy, stylish, and budget-friendly.

Can You Build a Cheap Picket Fence?

Picket fences are a charming addition to any yard, but their cost can quickly add up. However, with a little creativity and some DIY skills, building a picket fence on a budget is possible. One way to save money is to use inexpensive materials such as reclaimed wood or even old pallets.

Another cost-saving tip is to source your materials from a local salvage yard or home improvement store. By building the fence yourself, you can also save on labor costs. So, if you’re willing to put in the effort, a beautiful picket fence doesn’t have to break the bank.

Why Should You Build a Cheap Picket Fence?

Are you looking for a way to add some charm and character to your yard without breaking the bank? Consider building a cheap picket fence! Not only does a picket fence provide a classic and timeless look, but it can also serve practical purposes such as keeping pets or children safely contained in your yard.

Plus, with some effort and creativity, you can customize your fence to match your personal style and preferences. So why not roll up your sleeves and take on this project? You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the impact it can have on your home’s curb appeal.

How to Build a Cheap Picket Fence: A Practical Guide

1. Plan Your Fence

Measure the Area You Want to Fence

The first step to building a picket fence on a budget is carefully planning it. Measure the area you want to fence and determine how many posts, rails, and pickets you’ll need. You can use free online fence calculators to help guide you.

The fence posts should be spaced at intervals of no more than 8 feet apart and set in cement to ensure they are sturdy and can withstand the elements. For cheap pickets, consider purchasing rough-cut lumber that is less expensive than pre-finished wood. You can leave the rough texture as is or sand it down for a more polished look.

2. Set Your Posts

Now that you have your picket fence materials, it’s time to dig some holes and set your posts in them. Dig the holes to a depth of at least 2 feet and a width of approximately 8 inches. Make sure the posts are level before you set them in concrete. Wait for the concrete to dry before continuing with the project.

3. Install Your Rails

Ensure That the Rails Are Straight

After the posts have dried and cured, you can then install your rails. Use a level to ensure that the rails are straight. You can choose to either attach the rails flush with the post or staggered in between them. Once you have mounted the rails, you can install the pickets.

4. Add Your Pickets

This is the final step to give your picket fence that classic look. Pickets can be installed at regular intervals, or you can vary the spacing to your liking. You can use a jigsaw to cut any pickets to fit between any posts that are too far apart. Screws are the best option for mounting pickets, as they are more secure than nails. Make sure the pickets are level as you install them to avoid having crooked, uneven pickets.

5. Paint or Stain Your Fence

Now that your picket fence is installed, you can choose to paint or stain it for added protection and aesthetics. Paint will give your fence a clean, uniform look, while stain allows the natural beauty of the wood to shine through. You can also consider adding decorative accents, such as hanging flower baskets or climbing vines, to add charm to your fence.

Choose to Paint or Stain It

6. Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is necessary to keep your cheap picket fence looking its best. This includes cleaning the fence periodically with a mild soap and water solution and inspecting for any damaged or loose pickets. Replace any damaged pickets as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the rest of the fence.

7. Enjoy Your Budget-Friendly Picket Fence

By following these steps, you can build a cheap picket fence that adds charm to your property and saves you money. With proper planning and regular maintenance, your fence will last many years. So enjoy your budget-friendly picket fence and all the memories that will be made within its borders. Remember, the satisfaction of building your own fence is worth the time and effort put into it.

5 Considerations Things When You Need to Build a Cheap Picket Fence

1. Budget

When building a picket fence, the first consideration should be your budget. It is important to determine how much money you are willing to spend on materials and labor before beginning the project. You may also want to factor in any additional costs, such as permits or fees; your local government may require that. Once you have determined your budget, you can begin shopping for materials and hiring contractors.

2. Materials

The next consideration when building a picket fence is the type of materials you will need. Several types of wood are available for use in constructing picket fences, so it is important to choose one that is both durable and cost-effective.

Additionally, you will need to decide whether or not you want to use pressure-treated wood, which can help protect against rot and insect damage but may come at an added cost.

3. Design

The design of your picket fence is another important consideration when planning your project. It is important to choose a design that meets both your aesthetic preferences and functional needs. For example, if privacy is a priority, you may opt for a taller fence with narrower gaps between the pickets or install lattice panels on the top half of the fence for additional privacy.

On the other hand, if security is more important, you may opt for a shorter fence with wider gaps between the pickets or install wire mesh along the bottom half of the fence for extra security.

4. Installation

Start Thinking About Installation

Once you have chosen all of your materials and designed your picket fence, it’s time to start thinking about installation. If you plan on doing all of the work yourself, then ensure you have all the necessary tools and supplies before getting started. Alternatively, if you plan on hiring a contractor, ensure they are licensed and insured before signing any contracts or making any payments.

5. Maintenance

Finally, it’s important to consider how much maintenance will be needed once your picket fence has been installed. Wood fences require regular staining or painting to protect them from weather damage and extend their lifespan, so make sure that this is factored into your budget and any contracts with contractors if applicable.

Benefits of Building a Cheap Picket Fence

There are numerous benefits to building a cheap picket fence. First and foremost, it adds a touch of charming beauty to any property that can increase its overall value. Not only does it enhance the aesthetic appeal, but it can also provide additional privacy and security for your home.

A picket fence can also serve as a barrier to keeping children and pets safely contained within the yard. While many may assume that a picket fence can be costly, building one on a budget can actually be a viable option.

By using affordable materials or opting for a smaller fence, creating this classic look can be easily achievable. A cheap picket fence can be practical and stylish and is worth considering for homeowners looking to spruce up their yards.

Some Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Build a Cheap Picket Fence

Building a picket fence may seem like a simple DIY project, but people make some common mistakes when trying to do it on a budget. One of the biggest mistakes is using low-quality materials, such as thin and unstable wood, which will only result in a weak and short-lived fence.

Another mistake is overlooking proper measurements and planning, leading to uneven picket spacing and unbalanced fence heights. Lastly, attempting to cut corners by skipping essential steps such as sealing and weatherproofing can be a costly mistake in the long run. Building a cheap picket fence is possible, but it requires careful consideration and planning to ensure a quality and durable final product.


Building a picket fence on a budget is an achievable possibility for anyone with a hands-on mindset. By planning and setting aside a weekend, you can create a fence that will impress your neighbors and give your home the added curb appeal you have always wanted.

With the above steps, you can save a considerable amount of money and have a fence that you can be proud of. So why wait? Start planning and building your cheap picket fence today! Thanks for reading our post about how to build a cheap picket fence.

Leave a Comment