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7 Tips for Making a Fence Out of Landscape Timbers

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People have been using landscape timbers to line flower beds and build retaining walls for decades. The treated wood stands up very well against harsh weather conditions and keeps its rich look for years.

But what about making a fence out of landscaping timbers? Is it possible?

A lot of properties use landscape timbers for posts but done right, they can also look fantastic as railings. One of the biggest benefits of using landscape timbers for your fence is that it is economical.

You can find bargains on treated timbers at your local hardware store or lumber distributor. Depending on the size of your fence, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by using landscaping timbers.

landscape timber beams

However, using landscape timbers comes with certain nuances. There are certain things you’re going to need to do to make sure your fence stays secure and looks the way you want it to.

Here are seven tips for making a fence out of landscape timbers.

Tip 1 – Make Sure Your Posts Are Secure

Landscaping timbers can be thick, but it’s hard to find them in large sizes meant for heavy fences. As a result, you’ll need to pay more attention to how secure your posts are.

First, you’re going to need to dig holes for each post along the marked fence line. Each post should have about a quarter of its length buried underground to stay firmly in place.

Place each rail on the two posts using a combination of notches and galvanized framing rails. You may have to make small cuts to adjust for the notch positions, but once in place, they will be more secure.

The notches on each rail will depend on the size of your timbers and the distance between posts.

Tip 2 – Let Your Timbers Breathe for a While

When you buy landscaping timbers from a store, they’ve likely recently been treated for the weather. This process involves treating them with a chemical solution that will help them keep their shape and color while they are outside.

It’s a good idea to let the timbers you buy breathe for a week or two after the purchase.

It gives the chemicals and any leftover fluids the time they need to come out of the timbers. This will be an especially important step if you are planning on painting your timber fence.

Tip 3 – Flat Sides Should Be on the Inside and Outside of the Fence

Depending on the shape of the timbers you buy, or how much effort you’re going to put into shaping your timbers, you should do what you can to make sure the flat sides are facing the same direction.

Your fence will look more uniform if you align the flat sides together. It will help with the strength of the fence and do a better job of keeping wind or small animals out.

Fence of wooden boards

Tip 4 – Painting Your Landscape Timber Fence

A lot of homeowners and people on homesteads love the look of a natural wood fence.

Others, though, want something painted that adds a bit of flavor to the property. If you’re planning on painting your fence, you’re going to need some primer for your landscaping timbers.

The treated wood can absorb several coats of paint. A primer will make it so the wood is sealed and the paint goes on a lot easier.

Put some primer on and let it dry before putting on your first coat. Then add coat after coat until it looks the way you want it to. It should only take two or, at the most, three coats to look great.

painting a fence

Tip 5 – Think About Wind Factor

Landscaping timber often isn’t designed to take on a large wind load, so if that’s a concern on your property, you need to either use a different material or dig your posts deeper.

You’ll also need to think of ways to secure your fencing more and perhaps spend a bit more to buy larger pieces.

To combat heavy wind loads, consider cementing your posts into the ground for added strength. Cemented posts will do well in all conditions, including heavy rain.

Tip 6 – Treat for Termites

A lot of people have concerns about using landscaping timbers because of how they will do once buried underground.

Some soil compositions will indeed be harder on the wood than others, but another concern is the presence of termites.

To combat termites and keep your landscaping timbers in better condition for longer, think about getting pest control treatment or doing it yourself regularly. This will help protect the integrity of your fence for longer.

landscape Fence

Tip 7 – Give the Timbers a Test Run

If you’ve got the time, buy some landscaping timber and build a portion of the fence or place a post or two and see how it performs.

If the posts break or rot quickly, then you may have to evaluate the material you are using. If they do well, on the other hand, it’s the green light you need to complete the rest of the fence. 

Making a fence out of landscape timbers can be a lot of fun and will help you save money. Using the more affordable timbers will make you feel more comfortable giving new things a try. There’s not so much on the line than if you spend thousands of dollars on high-grade lumber.

Give it a shot, remember to always use the proper safety gear when you’re cutting wood, and adjust as needed to get the best results.

Done right, your fence will look great and perform the way you need it to. Whether you’re keeping in pets or want something nice around your property for aesthetics, a landscape timber fence will fit the bill nicely.