How to Build a Two Rail Wood Fence

Single Girl's DIY
by Single Girl's DIY
9 Materials
5 Hours

Does part of your yard border the street, where people walk their dogs? Do people let their dogs wander into your garden and make a mess?

That was the problem I was having. I love dogs, just not when they're tearing up my yard.

Plus, I needed a structure to support my peonies. I solved two problems with one simple, easy to make fence. Follow these steps to build your own.


Before you begin, measure the total length of the area you want to fence. Then head to the store for materials. You will need:

  • 4" x 4" treated wood posts – I used 36″ long posts to build a 24″ tall fence
  • 5/8" x 3.5" fence boards – I used 6′ long boards
  • Post hole digger
  • Crowbar
  • Hammer & nails
  • Screw driver
  • Bubble level
  • Measuring tape
I scored FREE fence posts

As I was shopping for my materials, I spotted some posts in the scrap wood pile at my local Home Depot. I thought these would work well for my project, and picked them up for free.

This thrifty find helped me do this whole project for just $25. Keep an eye out for scrap materials you might be able to use.

1. Dig your post holes

Right. Now the real work begins.

Decide where you want your fence, and dig your first post hole. A post hole digger will make this task much easier than trying to use a shovel.

Since my fence was just going to be 24" tall, I dug my holes 12" deep. If you're planning a taller fence, you'll want to dig deeper holes for more support.

2. Set the posts

Once the hole is the correct depth, set your post.

Use your bubble level to make sure the post remains plumb in both directions as you compact dirt back into the hole.

(I chose not to use concrete, because this fence is mostly decorative. You may want to set your posts in concrete if it's taller, or will get more heavy use.)

We worked by setting the first and second posts, and then attaching the rails before moving on to the next post. This made it a little easier to know where each post should go, because we just used the rails to measure the distance to the next hole.

3. Attach the rails

To attach your rails, lightly secure one end of the board at the height you want it on your first post. Then use your level to determine where the board should attach to the next post.

Securely nail or screw both ends of the board to each post.

I braced the post with my leg while I hammered in the nails, just for a little extra support.

4. Finish the fence

Keep working your way across, adding posts and rails, until you've spanned the whole space.

Now I have a pretty two rail fence across my yard, to keep the dogs out and the plants in. For more tips and photos, be sure to check out my full post at the link below.

You might also like this full tutorial on How to Build a Simple DIY Pergola. Check it out, and while you're there, snag your free copy of our Outdoor Living Idea Guide.

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Single Girl's DIY
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Zelda Zelda on Aug 05, 2018

    How does this keep the dogs out?

  • Cindy McLaughlin Cindy McLaughlin on Aug 05, 2018

    How did you do the edging on your yard?

  • Dee Dee on Aug 11, 2018

    Wow! You did a great job! Are you going to paint it white to go with you house trim? Fence post closet to your driveway would be an excellent place to add your street address as well!  👍

Join the conversation
2 of 73 comments
  • Bun10605347 Bun10605347 on Jun 19, 2022

    You could add wire netting along backside to keep dogs out otherwise they can go under rail between ground and railing wire netting top to ground will keep dogs out

  • DJ DJ on Jun 20, 2022

    You don't mention checking with your city to see if there are codes for fences, especially since this is close to the street. Also, DigSafe or other local agency should check for various lines, especially electrical, water, sewer, or even old phone lines.