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Building A Shadow Box Privacy Fence

Updated on October 20, 2012

Starting The Project

First measure the length of the area that you are wanting to put up your shadow-box privacy fence.

Basically, I built my fence in 8 foot sections. I did very little cutting on the lumber purchsed. I placed the 4x4 pressure treated post apx 8 feet center to center. This way, I didn't not have to trim the 2x4's used as braces too much. Only towards the end, and where I placed a gate.

1. Drill with phillips bit, used to screw in all the screws. (i used screws instead of nails) The screws help when having to adjust slates if they didn't line up like you would like. Nails would be faster and probably cheaper, but once one of those slates are nailed, changing a slate would mean replacing a slate, because the likely hood of one cracking or splitting was high possible.
2. 4' Level - uses when installing the 4x4 posts, and with the slates at times to make sure i was aligning everything up.
3. String - used for post and fence top alignment
4. String Level - used for the fence top alignment.
5. Miter Saw - used when needed.
6. Reciprocating Saw - used to cut tops off of 4x4 posts, below the fence slate top.
7. Post Hole Digger - used to dig the post holes.
8. Wheelbarrow - used to mix up the concreate.
9. Hole or Shovel - used to mix up the concreate and shovel the concrete into the holes.

MATERIALS: (8' Section)
1. 23 pieces 5/8" x 6' dog ear fence slates, pressure treated.
2. 2 pieces 8' 4x4 pressure treated posts
3. 3 pieces 8' 2x4 pressure treated.
4. 2 80lb bags concrete
5. 3" Premium Exterior Screws
6. 1 5/8" Exterior screws

You will need to locate your property line. I was lucky and I found the metal pins in the ground that helped me locate my property line. Once this was determined, I measured the length, and figured out my lumber costs. Again, I used 8' sections as my template for estimating lumber and cost.

I started by digging a post hole, which was about 18" deep. I used 1 80lb bag of concrete for each post. I was able to sink my starter post on each end of the property line. I actually let my concrete set up for a day before i started back on the project.

I than ran two strings. one string in the middle section of the post to the other. This string will be used for aligning the other posts in-between as i sink them. The other string was used at the top for the top alignment of the top of the fence slates to ensure i keep the fence slates running at the same height.

Once my strings were in place, and i double checked the string the alignment, i started digging the hole for the second post at 8' from the first. I wanted to do as less cutting as possible. So, i used the 8' 2x4, which is actually about 8' 3/4" as a guide to where i would sink my post. Once I determined the spot, the post was sunk and leveled.

Once i felt like that post was strong enough to handle me screwing the 8' 2x4 fence frame, i started. I placed the first 2x4 about 8" from the ground, and screwed it in with the 3" exterior screws, using the 4' level to make sure it was level. I placed the 2nd 2x4 apx 26" inches up, and the top 2x4 another 24" from the middle one. You can adjust these to fit your needs. Since this is the start of many posts, I made sure that the 2x4 ended in the center of the post, so that I had something to screw to and half the post still available for the next 8' run and 2x4 frame.

Once the 2x4 frame for the slates are up, you can start by installing the fence slates. I used a 2x4 as a guide for the gapping between the fence slates. This 2x4 guide won't be exact when you start getting to the other end, you may have to adjust the gapping between slates to fill in the 8' section. I started on one end, and went more than half way using the 2x4 as a gapping guide. I than installed a slate over the post, so that it covered it. I than filled in the remaining slates by adjusting them a little to fill the space. I made sure the a slate on the outside was in the same position as the post, so that the post was covered by a fence slate on the outside of the fence. Once I competed the outside, I started on the inside. Again, you can use the 2x4 guide for gapping, but it wont' be perfect towards the end, so you will have to use your own good judgement for the gapping towards the end of the section. This is why I use screws, so that I can adjust them as needed. Keep an eye on the top alignment with the string. Make sure the string is still tight and level.

Once I was done, I stained my fence using a bug sprayer. I have an article on this also. The light is battery powered, and motion sensor.


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