There are various reasons why you might be interested in building a custom fence. Maybe your property has unique features that present challenges. Maybe you just want to enhance your curb appeal with something no one else has. In these situations, DIYing a custom fence may be the way to go. Plus, by building your own fence, you will save money on installation, and you’ll take pride in the accomplishment of making something that’s both functional and aesthetically enjoyable for years.
Many people are intimidated by customizing a DIY fence. After all, how can you follow a plan or set of steps when your yard is unique, and you want a fence that matches it? Luckily, customization is just a small part of the process, and building your own fence can actually be easy, especially if you have a little guidance. By using standard materials and installation techniques you can create even the craziest looking fence successfully. Here are some considerations to help you plan and build your custom fence.
Working with uneven ground or unique topography
One reason you may need to customize a fence is because of the topography of your yard. Do you want to fence off a yard on a severe slope or a terraced property? Do you have a jagged border with your neighbor or old growth trees you want to avoid cutting down? Maybe that rock climbing wall you installed is on an awkward angle? Whatever the reason, here are some ideas to help you build a customized solution.
- A stepped fence works well for sloped ground. Each panel maintains 90 degree angles, but the panels are connected in a step fashion: each panel will be slightly taller than the one next to it. While this solution does leave some gaps underneath the fence, those can be filled in with landscaping. A stepped fence is perfect for creating privacy or separation.
- A contoured fence works with gentle hills or slopes to create a fence that hugs the ground. This option also works well if you have pets you want to keep in, or if you want to keep small animals, like rabbits, out of your yard. Rather than being completely level on top, the fence may change in height depending on the ground beneath it.
- Rackable fence panels are a great option for slopes as well. With rackable panels, the pickets are able to move so that when you line the fence rails up with the ground, on an angle, the pickets still run vertically. This gives you a more uniform look with the benefits of a fence that contours to fit your property.
- Landscaping can help hide or highlight various areas and sections of your fence. For example, if your fence juts out or turns to go around pre-existing structures or trees, adding some shrubs or flowering plants may help hide an otherwise unsightly bump out. On the other hand, gravel, mulch and flower beds can use your fence as a pretty backdrop and better define your yard space.
With any of these options, pre-made fence panels are an easy way to install your fence. While you will need to connect the panels at different heights with a stepped fence and may need to custom cut a contoured fence, the pre-made panels will save you the work of building and measuring your own panels from individual pickets. They will give your fence design a more polished look as well.
Making a statement with unique design elements
Your town or city may have rules for what type of fence you can install, including height and how far the fence can be from your property line. If you have a homeowner’s association, it may have even more strict rules regarding the color, material and style of fence you can have.
If you have free reign over your fence design, however, you may want to go wild. Aluminum fences are a great option for customization, since they mimic older wrought iron fences, but are much more durable and weather-proof. Aluminum can be formed into contemporary designs for a modern home, or it can compliment a Victorian home’s decorative gingerbread-style elements.
If you are looking for a privacy fence with no spaces, as a wood or vinyl fence can provide, there is still room for customization. The easiest element to make into a unique statement is the post cap. While most people opt for post caps that match the color and style of the fence, so they blend into the overall design, you can choose post caps in a different color or material, or post caps with unique and helpful features, like solar lighting.
Adding customization after your installation
If you want to add a bit of creativity to a plain fence that has already been installed, paint or stain is a great option. It can also help freshen up the look of a fence that is slightly worn or that has been around so long that it’s starting to bore you.
Aluminum and vinyl fences are usually not great candidates for paint. While vinyl paint does exist for use on vinyl siding, painting your fence may void your manufacturer’s warranty. Painting aluminum or vinyl also eliminates one of the main benefits of this type of fence, which is that they are virtually maintenance-free. Having to touch up paint every few years means more fence maintenance than is needed!
A wood fence can actually benefit from paint, since the right paint can help protect the wood. A dark stain on white cedar may give your fence a richer look. If you want to be really bold, choosing a bright color for your fence would really be unique and make it pop. Just be sure you (and your neighbors) are okay with that much blue, green or purple. A little color can go a long way! Another option is to paint or stain your fence panels a neutral color and add brighter paint to your fence posts, post caps and rails.
Installing your custom fence yourself
No matter which customized option you choose, installing your fence yourself is easier than you think. When you purchase a DIY fence kit, like The Fence Authority’s EZ Fence 2 Go products, you’ll get high quality fence materials and easy DIY assembly instructions. Check out our DIY fence guide and leave us your DIY fence customization questions in the comments section below.