The Five Best Ways To Build A Privacy Fence

Here Are the 5 Best Ways Homeowners Can build a DIY Privacy Fence

Many homeowners looking to save money are choosing to build their own DIY wood privacy fence, and if that’s you – Here are the Five best ways to build a privacy fence – on your own.

In these cheap privacy fence ideas for your backyard, you will find five descriptions, photos, and the best features (pros & cons) of each fence, to help you choose the best Privacy Fence style for your yard.

We’ve also included a few resources and tips to help you build a DIY privacy fence as cheaply as possible.

Here are the Five Best Ways For Homeowners To Build a Privacy Fence:

1)   “Traditional” 

The Traditional Privacy Fence is the most common method of building a DIY wood privacy fence. A traditional Wood Privacy Fence is built using “Vertical” fence slats positioned adjacent to each other, as this photo shows:

traditional wood privacy fence image
Traditional Privacy Fence –

Best Reasons to build a Traditional privacy fence:

  • Classic and versatile: The traditional style fence offers complete privacy and a timeless look that complements any home style.
  • Sturdy and durable: When built with pressure-treated wood and proper hardware, a traditional wood fence can withstand the elements for years.
  • Customizable: Choose from various wood types, stains, and finishes to create a fence that perfectly matches your taste and property.
  • Cons:  Typically you would install the “Bad side” (posts and rails facing your yard), vs. your neighbors.  A traditional fence is the easiest to build – but looks worse on your side.

Best Way to Build a “Traditional” Wood Privacy Fence (Video)


2)  “Shadowbox” 

The “Shadowbox Privacy Fence” is a more popular, higher-end-looking privacy fence over the standard Board-on-Board Privacy Fence design. 

Offering dimension and a more attractive look, the shadowbox fence is constructed by staggering each vertical slat on Both Sides of each Horizontal Rail – by using a 3″ wood spacer for each fence slat you install.

While the Shadowbox privacy fence uses the same amount of fence material as a board-on-board fence, it does require additional labor by attaching the vertical fence slats from “Both Sides” of each rail, as this Shadowbox Fence photo illustrates:

Shadow Box Privacy Fence Photo -
Shadowbox Privacy Fence –
  • Modern and stylish: This contemporary design features alternating gaps between the boards, creating a visually interesting play of light and shadow.
  • Good for airflow and ventilation: The gaps allow for better air circulation and prevent the fence from feeling oppressive in enclosed spaces.  This feature is especially important in warmer climates, where air circulation is critical for backyards
  • Allows Both Sides (You and your Neighbors) to see an identical-looking fence:  Unlike the Traditional fence shown above, where there is a good side and a bad side (typically facing your yard), the Shadowbox fence has the same attractive side on both sides of the fence.

Best Way To Build a “Shadowbox” Wood Privacy Fence (Video)


3)   “Horizontal” 

The “Horizontal Privacy Fence” is perhaps the most “trendy” or “modern” approach to building a DIY wood privacy fence currently being installed.  A horizontal privacy fence is built with a sleeker design – installing the fence slats horizontally, creating a longer linear look.  

You can see from the photo below of a Horizontal Privacy Fence that this is an “Elevated Version” of a normal DIY wood privacy fence, guaranteed to look great in any homeowner’s backyard.

horizontal privacy fence image -
Horizontal Privacy Fence –
  • Unique and eye-catching: This unconventional style features boards laid horizontally instead of vertically, adding a touch of modern flair to your property.
  • Strong and wind-resistant: The horizontal orientation provides greater structural stability, especially in windy areas.
  • May Save Time & Labor:  By installing the fence slats Horizontally vs. Vertically, you can use 8′-0 long fence slats, vs the 6′-0 high typical slats used in Vertical fencing, you will install fewer fence posts and finish building your privacy fence quicker, and cheaper.

Best Way to Build a “Horizontal” Wood Privacy Fence (Video)


4)  “Board-and-Batten” 

A Board and Batten Privacy Fence can be installed as a “Variation” of either a Board-on-Board or Shadowbox privacy fence by simply adding a horizontal rail (batten) or two battens to the side of the fence facing your yard.

The Board and batten fence image below shows one batten strip (1 x 4) installed approximately 14″ below the top horizontal rail.  A double batten rail fence would include an additional batten located 14″ above the bottom rail (not shown).

Board and Batten Privacy fence image -
Board and Batten Privacy Fence –
  • Traditional with a twist: This charming style combines vertical boards with narrow battens (strips of wood) spaced evenly across them, adding a touch of architectural detail.
  • Easy to customize: You can adjust the width and spacing of the battens to create a unique look that complements your home’s style.

5)   “Lattice Top” 

Yet another variation on the more typical DIY wood privacy fence is the Lattice Top privacy fence.  The Lattice Top fence in the photo below is easily achieved by adding 8′-0 long Lattice Top sections – found at most big-box home supply stores, such as Home Depot and Lowes.

Lattice Top Privacy Fence photo -
Lattice Top Privacy Fence –
  • Open and airy: This style features a solid lower portion with a lattice top, allowing light and air to flow through while still providing privacy.
  • Ideal for small spaces: The open top makes the fence feel less imposing in smaller yards.
  • May require additional fence Height: Many homeowner associations or towns restrict rear privacy fence heights to 6′-0″ high.

If this is the case in your city or neighborhood, you will need to cut each of the vertical fence slats, so that the Top of the Lattice does not exceed the height of 6′-0″ above the ground, ie: 5′-0 fence + 1′-0 lattice or 4′-0 fence + 2′-2 lattice = 6′-0 high fence.

How To Install Lattice Top to Privacy Fence

The easiest way to Install a decorative Lattice to the Top of your privacy fence, in my opinion, is to buy “Framed” pre-made lattice panels from a lumber store like Home Depot

Note:  If you have a height restriction maximum of a 6-foot high fence, You need to account for this, by building your privacy fence 24″ shorter (4-foot high) and allowing the 24″ high lattice to complete the 6-foot high fence.

On the other hand, if you’re wondering “how to make a privacy fence taller” – this is a great option.

Once you have the “framed” lattice panels in hand, you can install them using weatherproof (galvanized) steel brackets, or by tacking in 3/4 x 3/4″ furring strips.

Likewise, there is another option which is to install an “Unframed” treated wood lattice.  In this Lattice Top Fence Video, the builder is using “Unframed” 24′ x 96″ Untreated Lattice Panels to complete the Lattice Top with furring strips.


What are the Best Materials For Building a Privacy Fence?

The Best materials for building a privacy fence, are those that will withstand the weather while remaining affordable for the average homeowner.

Each of the following privacy fence materials is weather resistant, and is rated in order of least expensive to most expensive:

Best Privacy Fence Materials:

  • Pressure Treated Pine 
  • Cedar
  • Redwood

A good idea is to ask your local lumber yard to quote an option for upgrading your fence materials from pressure-treated pine (least expensive) to redwood (most expensive)


No matter which Privacy Fence style you choose, remember to plan your project carefully, obtain any necessary permits, and use high-quality materials and hardware for a long-lasting and beautiful wood privacy fence.

Don’t forget to obtain a free fence estimate from your local lumber yard or home improvement store, including all the DIY fence materials you will need based on the design, number of gates, and linear foot length fence you choose to build.

Ultimately, the best way to build a wood privacy fence depends on your needs, design preferences, and budget.

Be sure to consider the above factors to help you make an informed decision and create a fence you’ll love for years.

Additional Reading & References:

How to Build a Wood Pergola –

Home Depot Fence Installation Estimate –

Building a Privacy Fence on a Tight Budget –

Kevin Carroll
Kevin Carroll
Kevin is the author and editor for Best Home Gear, and uses his 25+ years experience in Commercial and Residential Construction Management to author and publish the work for this website. In addition to publishing Best Home Gear; Kevin enjoys the outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, hiking, cycling, fishing, golf, and completing DIY projects at his Home and Garden.


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Author and Publisher for Best Home Gear

Kevin is the Author, and Publisher @ Best Home Gear, which he began In 2018.

As a Professional in Construction, Real Estate and Property Management, Kevin uses that experience to publish Useful Articles, and help homeowners improve (DIY) their own homes, lawns, and outdoor spaces.

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