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Need advice for improving garden fence

I recently bought a house and have begun to notice that the garden fence is not as opaque as it first seemed! As you can see from the picture attached, the lower half is a brick wall and then there is a small gap before the vertical fence boards, which are on the roadside of the support rails. The boards are separated by just a couple of millimeters, which is enough that when a car drives past you can see it clearly.

My initial idea was to get another lot of fence boards, stain them to match the colour of the existing ones and nail them up on the garden side of the support rails, offsetting the gaps in the new boards, so that the two gaps don't line up. (Are these gaps inevitable, even if I nail the boards in side-by-side, or are the deliberate to cope with expansion?) The new boards would also be about 50mm lower than the existing boards to cover the gap at the top of the brick wall.

However, I then worried that people on the roadside could push rubbish between the boards and it would be trapped (there is a bus stop there) and that any knot holes in the boards (there are a few in the existing fence) might still allow light through.

So, my second thought was that I could get more fence boards and put them horizontally, screwing into the existing fence boards. I wouldn't want any screws to go right through the existing fence and snag people on the road, so I would probably want to use screws that only went halfway into the existing 14mm thick fence - would this be enough to hold? Would it cause any problems having two layers of wood so close together? I think it would be quickest and easiest to only drill pilot holes through the new fence boards and then screw straight into the existing fence - is that likely to cause the existing fence to split and I should drill through both or will I be likely to get away with that?

The main reason for doing this is to stop being able to see through the fence, but I assume the three layers of wood would also help to insulate the noise from the road more than currently and more than two.

Thanks for your help,




  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    Fencing like that is usually done with overlapping featheredge boards to prevent gaps, so is it an option to replace the boards themselves?
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,201
    Just put vertical boards on the inside, screwed onto those two horizontals. You could do them full length if you wanted to hide the wall. 
    A staggered fence - ie boards attached on both sides with the gaps not aligned  - is quite common.
    Gaps allow wind to filter through, as a solid barrier is more vulnerable to strong wind, and it also allows for some expansion in different weather conditions.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • We're in a conservation area, so anything that changes the roadside of the fence will probably cost more than it's worth.
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 4,053
    If you wanted it to be a bit more 'arty' you could use vertical boards screwed to the horizontals which are only half the width of the existing boards. It would make it a bit more interesting (and cheaper). 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,978
    If you want horizontals could you fix to the rear side of the posts? I like those contemporary looking slatted fences. Otherwise just tack the boards to the top and bottom rail of you go for verticals. 
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,978
    Of course you could just get some vine eyes and wires and cover it with climbers 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,201
    WillDB said:
    Otherwise just tack the boards to the top and bottom rail of you go for verticals. 
    Exactly what I said @WillDB. By far the simplest solution, and very easy to do. No great DIY skills required other than sawing and using a screwdriver. You don't really need a spirit level either.
    Always paint both sides of the timber before attaching too. You can't do it once it's on  ;)

    I reckon you're slightly overthinking this @fencequestion :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,978
    It does make me wonder what the OP gets up to in his backyard, that makes him so concerned about prying eyes. Taking the paranoia to a higher level you could staple black geotextile between the layers of fence to be absolutely certain no-one could possibly see through.
  • PeggyTXPeggyTX Posts: 556
    Silly me, but I thought those tiny gaps in vertical fence boards were there to accommodate swelling in rain to avoid warping, and you folks get so much rain in Britain.  So WillDB's idea sounds more practical to me.  :)
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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,298
    Best to be prepared ... some folk take things very seriously

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

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