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How to Make a Fence Out of Landscaping Timbers

Damon Hildebrand

Rustic split rail fences create a country charm to any site. One of the most economical materials for such a fence is landscape timbers. Often used as posts for many different styles of fencing, they are versatile enough to serve as fence railings as well.

Make a fence out of landscaping timbers.

Notching the posts and rails is the secret to make a fence out of landscape timbers.

  1. Dig the postholes along the route where the fence is being constructed. Bury at least one-quarter of each post in the ground for a sturdy installation.

  2. Face the flat surfaces of the posts to the inside and outside of the fence when setting the posts. Set each post and back-fill post-holes with concrete. Level each post before the concrete starts to set by using a bubble level. A torpedo level is not long enough to give an accurate reading; a purpose made post level is preferred.

  3. Determine how far off the ground the bottom rail should be located, and mark each post accordingly. From this lower mark, measure the desired distance up to the top railing. Place the top railing mark the same distance above the lower mark on each post.

  4. Measure the width of the landscape timbers to determine the width of notches for the posts. If the landscape timber posts are 4 inches wide, mark the notches to be cut on each post. Place the tape at the previously drawn line for either of the rails, and measure up the post 4 inches. Allow an extra 1/4-inch and mark the second line. Each of the two lines marked 4 inches apart, represent where the notches are needed.

  5. Cut each of the two notches from the fence posts using a chain saw. Be careful to only notch half-way through the post by sawing half into each cut, and then cutting out the notch.

  6. Place the landscape timber railings on a pair of saw horses or something similar. Each end of the landscape timber should have roughly 3-inches notched out with the chain saw. Make sure to notch the same side of the rails on both ends.

  7. Set each rail into the two adjacent posts by fitting the notches together. Nail each end of the railings to the posts using galvanized framing nails. Make minor notch adjustments, or cut to size, to the rails and posts with the chainsaw as needed for a perfect fit.


Measure each landscaping timber rail twice before cutting. Use concrete to secure posts when used in loose soil.


Wear proper safety equipment when using chain saws.