A picket fence is one of the most stereotypical signs of an American home. If you want to build one, you may wonder how far the pickets should be from each other.
That way, you can make the fence look good but also ensure it supports itself. Consider the distance whether you build the fence yourself or hire a professional.
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How Far Apart Should Fence Pickets Be?
Fence pickets are about 1.5 to 2.5 inches apart. Placing the pickets closer together can make the fence look cluttered. On the other hand, placing the pickets farther apart can make the fence look like you need to do more work to finish it.
If the pickets are really far apart, they might not support the weight of the fence well. So the fence could fall over easily.
How to Space Out Fence Pickets
If you want to build a picket fence, you have a lot to consider. One of the most important aspects is how much space will go between the pickets.
That may sound like a silly thing, but it can have a huge impact on the fence. Here are some things to keep in mind as you design your fence.
Consider Fence Posts
First, you should consider where the fence posts are on the picket fence you’re building. In many cases, posts are about six to eight feet apart. You should decide if you want to cover the posts with pickets or if you’re okay with them being visible.
If you want the pickets to cover the posts, that can serve as the basis for the spacing. You’ll have to cover every six to eight feet, and you can go from there.
Cover the Posts
Assuming you want to cover the posts with pickets, you’ll want to cover those first. You can do this by laying the fencing out on the ground.
Place a picket over each post, and try to center them as best as you can. You don’t need to nail them into place now. If the spacing isn’t quite right, you may need to move a picket slightly to the left or right so that the pickets line up correctly.
Measure the Spacing
Next, you’ll want to measure the spacing between the pickets you placed over the posts. Consider how wide each picket is and how many pickets you want to place in each section.
Then, you can decide if you want the space between each to be closer to 1.5 or 2.5 inches. If you want the space to be even, you might need to move the pickets slightly to the side of one of the posts.
Map Out the Fence Pickets
After you get an idea of the design, you can start placing the pickets along the fence. Don’t nail them into place just yet. Instead, place them along the fence on the ground.
Use a ruler or measuring tape to ensure the spacing is even across the whole section. Move the pickets as necessary so that they’re the same distance apart. Then, you can start nailing the pickets into place.
Why the Right Spacing Matters
Not all picket fences have the same space between pickets. However, getting the right space for your fence is crucial.
Consider the following advantages of measuring your picket fence carefully.
If you place the pickets too close together, it won’t look like a picket fence. You may just have what looks like a wood fence, which is okay. But it’s probably not the look you’re going for.
On the other hand, placing the pickets too far apart makes the fence look bad. People might think you’re still working on the fence, especially if the spacing is significant.
It’s okay if your spacing is slightly above or below 1.5 to 2.5 inches. However, if it’s far off from that range, you may get some questions about your design choices.
Match the Neighbors
Maybe you live next to someone who already has a picket fence. In that case, you should ask if you can measure the distance between pickets on their fence.
That way, you can use the same measurements on your new fence so that they match. A small discrepancy might be hard to see. But if your neighbor’s pickets are 1.5 inches apart and yours are 2.5 inches apart, it can look odd.
In this case, you may also want to get pickets of the same width as your neighbor. Then, everything can look more cohesive.
Having the pickets too far apart could also make your fence more vulnerable. If a person or animal runs into it, the fence could fall over.
While the pickets don’t go in the ground as far as posts, they add some support and structure. When you put the pickets too far apart, you could lose that support.
You don’t need to place the pickets right next to each other. But take a look at other picket fences in your area to see what looks good and seems to be the sturdiest.
How Close Should You Place Fence Pickets?
You should place fence pickets anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 inches apart. That’s close enough to make the fence look finished. But it’s far enough apart to make the fence look like a picket fence and not a wood fence. Be sure to coordinate with your neighbors if others already have a picket fence so that yours doesn’t look bad.