How to Install a Wood Fence on Uneven Ground

Henri Bauholz

Installing a fence on uneven ground is not as difficult as it sounds. The most important tool for such a task is a chalk line or ball of string. Otherwise, installing the fence would not be much different than if you were working on level ground.

How to Install a Wood Fence on Uneven Ground

  1. Lay out the perimeter of your fence and decide on the location of each post hole. The holes should not be more than 8 feet apart.

  2. Determine the height of your fence. This depends on how much privacy you want. There is a big difference between a 6-foot fence and a 4-foot one.

  3. Dig the holes for the posts, so the top of the posts are 6 to 8 inches below the intended height of the fence. Make sure each post is straight. That is what the 2-foot level is for.

  4. Once all the posts are installed, run the 2-by-4s around the perimeter of the fence. There should be two rows of 2-by-4s, one near the top of the post and one near the bottom. Height should not vary too much, but perfection is not critical at this point. The 2-by-4s can be on the outside or inside edge of the fence.

  5. Install the vertical boards one section at a time. Place one vertical fence board directly on the 2-by-4s, using galvanized wood screws. Make sure the board is perfectly plumb and at the height you want. Go 8 feet down the line and install a temporary board at the same height. Make sure the board is also plumb, but remember this board will eventually come out.

  6. Attach a taut string from the top of one board to the top of the other. Begin with the permanent board and start installing the fence, one board at a time. Make sure the top is flush with the string. If you are going uphill or downhill, split the difference on the string, but keep each board straight and plumb. When you complete the span, remove the temporary board, go 8 feet down the line, reinstall the temporary board and repeat the process. Do this all the way around the fence enclosure. Make sure the overall length of your stock is longer than what you need, so that you can make adjustment cuts on the bottom. If a snug bottom is not critical, use a standard length board and set your overall height accordingly.

  7. Tip

    Purchase boards with the corners notched off or do the notching yourself. The end result will be much better in appearance.


    There may be city guidelines or building codes that apply to installing fences.