Fretwork Garden Fence

Fretwork Garden Fence

Perseverance really does pay off, and I am so happy with this little fretwork garden fence I built this weekend.

Fretwork Garden Fence Close

It was probably not the best project for this novice at DIY to start with, but I really am happy with how this second attempt at the idea turned out!

Fretwork Corner Garden Fence
My first attempt was a complete failure.

After last weekend’s complete failure at building a garden fence you would think I’d just give up, but I still couldn’t get the idea of making this fretwork garden fence out of my head.

I went back and read the instructions for the fretwork folding screen that inspired the idea, and they called for 2 1/2″ screws.

After pounding post in
I really should have read the instructions!

On last weeks failure I used 2″ screws, which might explain why nothing was holding together. So this weekend I figured since I still had a pile of 2 x 2’s leftover I would try it again – with the right screws and glue for good measure.

Fretwork Garden Fence
The dogs will be munching on my calibrachoa again.

I also made a few changes to the measurements. The fence is shorter and the center squares are just a bit smaller. In order to avoid having a post where my eaves trough drains, I am keeping it as two separate sections.

I convinced myself that I just needed to take my time and it would work. And it mostly did, but it took most of the weekend to complete one section and partly assemble another one. Granted most of that was the sanding, but this was still definitely not a quick project.

Lumber Cut
Halfway through cutting my pieces I finally figured out that if I cut each piece more slowly there were less splinters on each cut.

Friday night I cut my pieces and started sanding.


And sanding and then sanding some more.

All Pieces Stained
Stain isn’t so different than paint – it really does need that second coat to look nice.

On Saturday I finished sanding every piece and then stained all the wood. After my first attempt at using stain last weekend, I am fully sold on staining wood before assembling it. I kind of want to stain my deck now too.

After seeing how pretty the stain looked, I was so excited to start putting everything together I hardly slept Saturday night. I just couldn’t wait for morning to get started.

Center Square Pieces

I attached all of my 4″ pieces first. I used some scrap pieces to brace against and keep everything uniform.

Center Squares assembled

And then I assembled all the middle squares. Which is when the crap hit the fan. It seems someone (me) cut all the 4″ pieces at 4 1/8″, which across the width of the panel adds up to 1/2″. It was enough to really cause a problem, and problems on no sleep are not cool. If everything had been measured properly, or at least checked and fixed before starting to put it together, I probably would have finished both sections today. Maybe I’ll get the next one put together one night this week.

Tools Used:

  • Orbital Sander
  • Miter Saw
  • Impact Driver
  • Drill


  • Glue
  • 2 1/2″ Screws (attach the two 4″ pieces to the center upright last – they are the only ones that have to be driven in at an angle)
  • 2 x 2 x 8″ lumber. I lost track of how many on this second attempt, I think it took 7 for two sections. I used spruce, but would look for something better if I were to do it again. Whatever I saved in cost, I wasted in time sanding.
Garden Fence Panel
Don’t forget to add whatever length will be in the ground to each end piece!

Fretwork Garden Fence

After spending two weekends on this idea it’s so nice to have something I’m happy with!

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Author: The Shade Gardener

Hi there! I'm Vanessa, the Shade Gardener. I live in a tiny little house in Ontario with my 2 grown boys, 2 dogs and a cat, where I do my best to grow plants in a heavily shaded yard and soil like cement. I am passionate about my family, my pets, MCM furniture and cheese. When I'm not in the garden I do a bit of crafting and sewing. Sometimes I build topiary animals from chicken wire for fun.

2 thoughts on “Fretwork Garden Fence”

  1. Look at you building a garden fence! This project is awesome! It’s beautiful and useful. Great job:) I learn more every time I build a new project. It makes the next ones easier. Pinning!

    1. The Shade Gardener says:

      Thank you so much. It was wonderful to finally see it turn out the way I was imagining it .

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