How to Build a Shadowbox Wood Fence | Ultimate Guide

This ultimate guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of constructing your own shadowbox wood fence, from selecting the right materials and tools to installing the posts and attaching the boards.

What Is the Advantage of a Shadow Box Fence?

In addition to the airflow benefit, a shadowbox fence also offers enhanced privacy compared to other types of fences. The spacing between the boards is designed in such a way that it minimizes the visibility from both sides of the fence. This makes it a perfect choice for homeowners who value their privacy and don’t want their neighbors or passersby to have a clear view of their yard.

The alternating pattern of the boards creates an eye-catching design that adds visual interest to your outdoor space. The shadow effect, created by the overlapping boards, adds depth and dimension to the fence, making it more visually appealing than a traditional solid fence.

When it comes to maintenance, a shadowbox fence is relatively easy to care for. Regular cleaning and occasional staining or painting will help to keep the fence looking it’s best.

How to Incorporate Landscaping and Plants With a Shadowbox Fence

  • Select the type of shadowbox fence that fits your aesthetic preferences and budget.
  • Before installing the fence, plan the landscaping around it.
  • Consider planting tall trees or shrubs near the fence to provide shade and privacy.
  • Add colorful flowers or plants along the perimeter of the fence for an attractive border.
  • Create a small garden bed with a variety of plants and flowers within the fenced area.
  • Add climbing vines or creepers to the fence itself for a natural, green look.
  • Install hanging baskets or window boxes on the fence to showcase more plants.
  • Use decorative pots or planters to display your favorite flowers and greenery.
  • Consider incorporating a trellis against the fence, allowing climbing plants to grow vertically.
  • Maintain the landscaping regularly by watering, pruning, and fertilizing as needed.

In addition to increased durability, the larger gaps in a shadow box fence also provide better airflow and ventilation, making it an ideal choice for areas prone to high winds. This unique design feature helps reduce the risk of wind damage and ensures the fence remains intact even during severe weather conditions.

What Is the Difference Between Picket and Shadowbox Fence?

Another key difference between picket and shadowbox fences is the level of privacy they offer. A picket fence is typically made up of evenly spaced vertical pickets that provide a clear view of the other side. This type of fence is often used for decorative purposes and to mark boundaries, but it doesn’t provide much privacy. On the other hand, a shadowbox fence has overlapping pickets that create a alternating pattern of full and partial coverage. This design effectively blocks direct lines of sight, making it a great option for homeowners who value privacy.

In terms of installation, both picket fences and shadowbox fences require similar steps. First, you’ll need to mark the fence line and layout the posts. Then, you’ll need to dig holes for the posts, ensuring they’re deep enough to provide stability. Once the posts are firmly set in place, you can attach the pickets or panels to create the desired fence style. It’s important to carefully measure and level each piece to ensure a uniform and professional look.

Both fence styles require similar installation steps, but it’s important to carefully measure and level each piece to achieve a uniform and professional look.

Different Types of Picket Fence Designs

  • Traditional picket fence
  • Scalloped picket fence
  • Gothic picket fence
  • French Gothic picket fence
  • Flat top picket fence
  • Arched picket fence
  • Spaced picket fence
  • Shadowbox picket fence
  • Basketweave picket fence

When it comes to the spacing of boards on a shadow box fence, our standard measurements are as follows. With a ruff sawn picket that measures 6″ in width, we space them 3.5″ apart on one side of the stringers. On the other side, another 6″ wide picket is used to fill the space.

How Far Apart Are Boards on a Shadow Box Fence?

When it comes to building a shadowbox wood fence, one of the most important considerations is the spacing between the boards.

Typically, we use a rough sawn picket, measuring a true 6″ wide for our shadowbox fences. On one side of the stringers, we space the pickets 3.5″ apart. This allows for adequate airflow and light to pass through the fence while still maintaining privacy. Additionally, this spacing ensures that the fence is strong and durable.

On the opposite side of the stringers, another 6″ wide picket is used to fill the remaining space. This alternating pattern creates a visually appealing shadowbox effect, as well as providing extra stability to the fence.

It’s important to note that the spacing can vary depending on personal preference and the specific requirements of the project. Some homeowners may opt for a more open design with wider gaps between the pickets, while others prefer a tighter spacing for increased privacy.

Proper installation of a shadowbox wood fence is essential to ensure longevity and functionality. Each picket should be securely fastened to the stringers, with nails or screws that are resistant to weathering and wood decay.

How to Install a Shadow Box Fence: Step-by-Step Guide

  • Measure the perimeter where the shadow box fence will be installed.
  • Mark the positions of the fence posts using stakes.
  • Dig holes for the fence posts using a post hole digger.
  • Place the fence posts into the holes and fill them with concrete.
  • Use a level to ensure that the posts are straight and upright.
  • Allow the concrete to set and dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Attach the horizontal rails to the fence posts using screws or nails.
  • Space the pickets evenly between the horizontal rails.
  • Secure the pickets to the rails using nails or screws.
  • Trim any excess picket length using a saw.
  • Apply a coat of paint or stain to the shadow box fence for protection and aesthetic appeal.
  • Allow the paint or stain to dry completely before using the fence.

Source: Shadow Box Fence – Good Neighbor Privacy


By carefully planning and executing the necessary steps, you can create a durable and attractive fence that provides privacy and security. From selecting the right materials and tools to calculating the correct measurements and following proper installation techniques, this ultimate guide has provided you with the knowledge and guidance needed to successfully complete this project. Remember to always prioritize safety, consult local regulations, and seek professional advice when needed. With patience and dedication, you can proudly stand back and admire the results of your craftsmanship while enjoying the benefits of a stunning shadowbox wood fence for years to come.

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