How to Build a DIY Fence on a Slope

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While few yards come close to being perfectly flat, significantly sloped yards present specific challenges for homeowners who want to build their own DIY fences. However, don’t be discouraged—a challenge doesn’t make the project impossible by any means. Many a homeowner with an uneven yard has prevailed and built their dream fence anyway. Besides, the contours of your yard create interest and add to its beauty, especially with a new fence. Let’s look at some of the techniques you can use when installing a fence on a slope or a hill. 

Contoured fences: Smooth lines for gentle curves

A scalloped Shadowbox partial privacy fence from The Fence Authority, built on a slope.
A scalloped Shadowbox partial privacy fence from The Fence Authority, built on a slope.

When building a fence on uneven terrain, one option is to follow the contours of your yard. This means that the horizontal rails of your fence will follow your yard in a smooth line that is parallel to the ground rather than level. The contoured method works best when the slope is slight rather than dramatic.

However, in order to avoid gaps underneath the panels, your fence may need to be custom-cut. Pre-cut panels such as those available in DIY fence kits may not properly hug the ground of your yard.

Wondering what style of will look best with this method? Scalloped fences are a great idea because the rounded arches of the panels complement the smooth contours of your sloped yard. 

Stepped fences for more dramatic slopes

An ActiveYards PVC panel fence built on a slope.
A stepped PVC panel fence from ActiveYards. Note the garden that helps cover the gaps.

For a steeper slope or hill, following the contours of your land is more difficult. In this case, you probably want to opt for a stepped fence. This installation style is referred to as such because each panel is a bit higher (or lower) than the next, creating the appearance of stair steps. Stepped fences can be easily created with preassembled panels. However, your posts will need to be individually cut to fit the height of each panel. 

Filling gaps in a stepped fence

Because you’ll want each panel to be even and level, there will be gaps underneath the panels, and these gaps may not be consistent throughout your yard. Gaps can be a problem if you need to prevent a pet from escaping, in which case you will need to find a way to fill them. You may also want to fill your gaps for aesthetic purposes.

One way to do this is by adding planters along the fence, which not only covers the unsightly gaps but allows you to add some living color to your yard. You might also consider growing some delicious fresh veggies in those planters to make them even more functional!  

Don’t look at the unique features of your yard as limitations—consider them opportunities to get creative in your design. However, if you do not feel comfortable building a DIY fence in your sloped yard, having a custom fence installed by a fence contractor is also a solid option. Whatever you choose, adding a fence to any yard is an excellent way to give you privacy while increasing the value of your home and making your yard look lovely.

Have you installed a fence in your sloped yard? What challenges were you presented with, and how did you overcome them? Share your experiences in the comments section. Have a uniquely curved yard and still struggling with the solution? You can also use the comments section to ask questions, or contact one of our Outdoor Living Experts.

Contact us to talk about your yard!

2 Comments

  • sean quinn says:

    You mention installing planters as a means to “fill in the gaps” that a sloped install might produce. Do you have a visual aid or schematic to show planter placement and/or ideas?

  • Chris Gatlin says:

    My back yard has slopes not real bad but still a lot of up and down, I’m trying to do 5 feet fence with wood post and metal fenceing but I don’t know how to measure each post and then have wire look good so it has no gaps in bottom to keep dog in. Please help

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