DIY Guide: Building a Cheap Lattice Fence with Ease

Hello friends! Andrew here, your friendly neighborhood gardening guru. I love nothing more than coaxing life from the earth and watching gardens flourish with bountiful blooms and vibrant veggies. But an essential garden aspect is often overlooked – the fence surrounding it!

Fences define a property’s perimeter and provide privacy and support for climbing plants. Traditional picket or panel fences can undoubtedly do the job, but they lack personality, don’t you think? That’s where lattice fences come in! With their classic crisscross pattern, lattice fences add aesthetic appeal to your outdoor space.

And here’s the best part – you can quickly build a customized lattice fence on a budget using basic DIY skills and affordable materials. Intrigued? Well, don’t just stand there. Grab your gardening gloves, and let’s get started! Here’s my complete guide to constructing a cheap lattice fence that’ll make your garden the talk of the town.

Understanding Lattice Fences

Before we dive into the building process, let’s quickly go through what exactly lattice fences are and their many benefits:

How to Make a Cheap Lattice Fence

What Is a Lattice Fence?

A lattice fence consists of a grid of intersecting wood or vinyl strips, usually arranged vertically and horizontally. This creates a stylish, see-through pattern that defines boundaries while allowing air and light to filter through.

Lattice fences are typically 4 to 6 feet tall. Wood or vinyl are the most commonly used materials, but metal or plastic lattice can be used for a more modern look.

Why Choose a Lattice Fence?

Here are some key reasons why lattice fences are a great choice:

  • Aesthetics: The crisscross lattice pattern adds a decorative flair to your garden or yard. You can stain or paint it to complement your home’s exterior.
  • Versatility: Lattice fencing has diverse designs, including diagonal, square, and diamond grids. You can easily match it to your needs and style.
  • Plant Support: Lattice provides the perfect backbone for climbing plants like roses, jasmine, and more, allowing them to cling and grow upwards securely.
  • Privacy: Lattice fences allow light and air to filter through while offering privacy and demarcating property lines.
  • Cost: A lattice fence is cheaper than solid wood or metal fences. And you can save further by repurposing materials!
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Now that you know the what’s and why’s, let’s get down to the DIY process. Grab an iced tea and your toolbox, and let’s start planning.

Planning Your Lattice Fence

Proper planning is vital to any DIY project, so let’s assess your needs, layout, budget, and material options before we begin construction.

Determining Your Needs

First, decide what primary purpose your fence will serve:

  • Privacy: A 4-6 feet-tall lattice fence with minimum gaps provides privacy while allowing some visibility.
  • Plant Support: A generous space fence is ideal for roses and other shrubs to climb up and thrive.
  • Garden Accent: A 3-foot-tall lattice fence can demarcate a boundary without impeding views or light.
  • Property Definition: Medium-height lattice fences with even gaps can establish property lines aesthetically.

Setting a Realistic Budget

After finalizing the fence height and dimensions you need, make a budget accounting for the following:

  • Materials: You’ll need the strips of wood or vinyl, posts, nails, and sealant. Buy in bulk for discounts.
  • Tools: Assess rental or purchase costs if you need more critical tools. I recommend avoiding power tools for safety reasons.
  • Labor: Will you do it yourself or hire a handyperson? My advice is to DIY smaller fences under 100 square feet.

Account for ancillary costs, like permits. Search for deals online or buy salvaged materials to save.

Create a lattice fence

Measuring the Area

Take out your measuring tape and chalk to map out the fencing area. Note any slopes or obstacles like trees. Use wooden stakes and string to mark the fence line.

Refer to zoning laws in your area regarding fence height and proximity regulations. If required, seek permits before you get to the fun part – choosing materials!

Selecting Materials for Your Lattice Fence

It’s time to decide on the perfect materials to build your dream fence! Here are your standard options:

The Classic Choice – Wood

The most popular pick, wood lattices, are natural, durable, and easy to customize.

Types of Wood: Cedar and redwood naturally resist decay. But pine and fir work, too, if adequately treated. Avoid using pressure-treated lumber due to its toxicity.

Customization: Unfinished wood lattices can be painted, stained, or varnished to personalize their look. Match your fence to your home’s character!

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Sustainability: Seek FSC-certified, sustainably harvested wood. Better yet, use salvaged wood, saving trees and money!

Low Maintenance Vinyl

Vinyl is rot-proof and requires barely any upkeep. It withstands harsh weather easily.

Pros: You don’t need to seal, stain, or paint vinyl. Just hose it down occasionally to keep it clean.

The cons are that vinyl can become brittle and crack over time, and it lacks the warmth and charm of natural wood.

Costs: Vinyl is pricier than wood but compensates by being virtually maintenance-free.

Durable and Sturdy – Metal

Pre-made aluminum lattice fences offer sleek, modern aesthetics and robust construction.

Pros: Aluminum is solid and weather-resistant with minimal upkeep. It adds a contemporary vibe.

The cons are that it is significantly more expensive than wood or vinyl and cannot be easily modified or customized after installation.

Attach the fence to posts or existing fencing

Unique Options – PVC, Bamboo, Reclaimed Wood

For something uncommon, explore materials like PVC, bamboo, and salvaged wood lattices.

Repurposed wine crates, pallets, and barn wood lend a vintage, rustic flair. PVC also provides texture and longevity.

Building Your Lattice Fence – Step-by-Step

Now comes my favorite part – rolling up your sleeves and creating something with your own two hands! Follow these steps closely for a smooth construction process:

Assemble Tools and Materials

Gather your chosen materials and tools, such as a mallet, circular or handsaw, hammer, nails, screwdriver, measuring tape, levels, and safety gear like gloves and goggles. Inspect all materials and tools before you begin.

Install the Fence Posts

Fence posts serve as the “bones” holding up your lattice panels. Here’s how to install them correctly:

  1. Dig holes for the posts according to your fence height – generally 2 to 3 feet deep and spaced equally apart.
  2. Place the posts in the holes and hold the plumb. Fill the holes around the bases with concrete. Allow the concrete to set fully before proceeding.
  3. Use a spirit level to ensure that posts are perfectly vertical and aligned. Then, using a saw, trim post tops evenly.

Attach the Frame and Lattice Panels

With sturdy posts in place, we can now attach horizontal, vertical, and diagonal frame pieces and lattice panels:

  1. Nail frame pieces to the inner side of the fence posts to support panels. Ensure they are level.
  2. Place the lattice panel on the frame and align it properly before nailing/screwing in loosely. Don’t tighten yet.
  3. Similarly, attach panels one by one to the frame pieces and posts. Check for even spacing between panels.
  4. Once aligned, secure by hammering nails/screws in entirely through the lattice into the frame and posts.
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Apply Protective Finish

Unfinished wood will eventually crack, warp, or rot. So it’s vital to apply a protective sealant:

  1. Lightly sand any rough edges. Wipe away sanding dust.
  2. Use a paintbrush or sprayer to apply water sealant like varnish, lacquer, or polyurethane.
  3. Allow the sealer to dry thoroughly before exposing the fence to rain or sun. Re-apply a fresh coat every 2-3 years.

And that’s it – step back and admire your brand-new DIY lattice fence! Not only did you save buckets of money doing it yourself, but you also gained immense satisfaction.

Enjoy your new lattice fence

Maintaining Your Lattice Fence

Like any garden element, your fence will need some TLC to grapple with nature’s characteristics over time. Here are my top care tips:

  • Annually inspect for any warped, rotten, or missing wood. Replace damaged strips right away.
  • Use a pressure washer (at the lowest setting) to remove dirt and moss accumulated every 2-3 years.
  • Re-stain or seal unfinished wood lattices annually to protect them from weathering.
  • Clear vines, leaves, and weeds regularly grow on or around the fence. They can promote decay.
  • Immediately wipe away any paint splatters or other stains before they set in. Avoid abrasive cleaners.

Like a good friend, your lattice fence will reward your care and diligence with lasting service! Set a reminder to tidy up your fence periodically.

Enjoying the Fruits of Your Labor

Who knew that a simple lattice fence required so much planning and construction? But now, the fruits of your diligent labor are there for all to enjoy!

Transforming any bare-bones space is incredibly rewarding. My DIY guide has shown that building a customized, beautiful lattice fence is reasonably achievable, even on a tight budget.

So take that blank canvas of a yard and turn it into a tranquil oasis with hints of privacy and personality. Trust me, your garden will thank you for it!

If you have any other questions regarding lattice fences, post them in the comments. And once your new fence is up, share pictures – I’d love to see your handiwork! Let your creativity shine bright as your blossoms. Happy gardening, my friends!