- Calculate the distance that will have to be covered by the fence. You will need to know how many feet of fence you'll need.
- Decide between a wood privacy fence and a vinyl one. The maintenance on a vinyl fence is easier, but it is more expensive than a wood fence.
- Use a post about every 6 feet for a wooden fence. Calculate how many posts you will need. Posts are one of the most expensive parts of the fence because of their large size. You will also need concrete to set the posts. Also calculate about how many nails you will need. About 3 nails will be used at the top, bottom and middle of each board. Or you may choose metal posts, which are more expensive but also considerably more durable.
- Choose your fence height. Most people choose a 6- or 8-foot fence. Because lumber is sold in 6-foot and 8-foot lengths, getting a 7-foot fence would actually be the most expensive height for a wooden fence. It would entail buying 8-foot boards and then having them cut down to a 7-foot length.
- Add in any extras that you want, such as caps for the top of the posts or a scalloped top for the fence boards. For a vinyl fence, the cost of caps is minimal and the option of a scalloped top may not exist. For a wood privacy fence, the cost of the caps will be added into the cost of the posts. The caps are usually a part of the post board. Scalloped tops on a wood fence will not require extra supplies, but the cost of labor will be higher. Add all of the costs together to determine the cost of the fence.
- If you will hire someone to erect the fence for you, you will also need to add in the cost of the labor.