If you are looking for a low-cost way to temporarily fence off a small area that is relatively flat and level, recycling old pallets can be a great option. While not suitable for large sites, sensitive areas that require additional security, or areas with uneven terrain, pallets can provide a ready-made fence framework that can be erected quickly. Below is more information on how to easily build a temporary fence from pallets and a few extra materials:
Tools and materials needed
Wooden pallets - while any size of pallets are acceptable, choosing from a uniform size and style of pallet will provide the best results. The pallet laid on its side will give you the height of the fence, so let that dimension be your guide.
Polypropylene rope - a ¼-inch rope will be sufficiently-strong to hold the fence sections together, but use a larger size if you happen to already have it available. You will need as many feet of rope as the desired length of the fence, multiplied times two. For example, if you are building a 100-foot fence, buy 200 feet of rope.
Galvanized flanged steel edging stakes - used for securing landscape edging, these sturdy stakes will also keep the pallets fastened to the ground. Purchase stakes that are at least 8 inches in length and have a flanged top that provides extra hold-down strength.
Electric drill with 1-inch spade bit
Small sledge hammer
Steel earth tamper
Building the fence - step-by-step procedure
1. Decide on a location for the fence line - for a pallet fence, the fence line should be straight as possible with 90-degree corners whenever it is necessary to change directions. Avoid building over areas with excessive mud or boggy soil. Mark the location of the fence line by stretching the polypropylene rope and tying it down to edging stakes temporarily driven into the soil. Don't drive the stakes too deep since you will need to uproot them as soon as you build the fence.
2. Prepare the fence line - once you decide on a fence line and have marked it with the rope, use a line trimmer to cut the grass along the rope as short as possible. In addition, remove any large stones or other debris that will interfere with the stability of the fence. Next, pack the soil thoroughly with a steel tamper to create a firm surface for the fence; try to make the surface as level as possible with the tamper and avoid creating sloped areas.
3. Erect the pallets - after the fence line is cleared and packed, place pallets on their sides so they sit adjacent to one another with about an inch or two of space between each one. Align the pallets so the framework on each one is consistent across the fence line.
Once you have the pallets adjusted appropriately, use the drill and 1-inch spade bit to drill a hole into each of the boards facing the ground about halfway along their length. Insert a landscape edging stake into each hole, and drive it into the soil with a sledge hammer. Be sure each stake's flange overlaps the board so the pallets are held firmly to the ground.
4. Tie the pallets together - after erecting the pallets and staking them to the ground, divide the height of the pallet fence into thirds, and drill a 1-inch hole into the sides of each pallet one-third of the way down from the top and one-third of the way up from the bottom. This will result in each pallet having 4 holes drilled into it with 2 per side.
Insert the polypropylene rope into the top hole drilled in the first pallet at the end and tie a large stopper knot to hold it in place. Thread the loose end of the rope through each of the holes in a straight-line course from one pallet to the next. Continue threading the rope until you reach the last pallet and thread the rope back into the lower hole you drilled in step 4. Now, thread the rope through the lower holes in a parallel line to the rope threaded earlier. Once you reach the first pallet where you began, tie the rope ends together. This will leave you with a pallet fence supported by ground stakes, and two horizontal rope lines will maintain the fence's integrity by using the combined stability and strength of the pallets tied together.
If you don't have the time to build this fence yourself or need something bigger or sturdier than pallets, you may want to have a construction fence placed by a fencing company. You can visit http://rent-a-fence.com/ to learn more.