Friday, April 4, 2014

Temporary Pallet Fence

This week I wanted to put up a quick fence to keep the horse and sheep out of the area into which I'm expanding a veggie garden. Putting up fencing on my land is a real painful task because anywhere from zero to 6 inches down you hit solid lava. Pounding or digging in fence posts is just about impossible. Putting up fencing usually requires the use of a hydraulic hammer or drill. 

I wanted a quick fence and I wasn't interested in it being permanent. So I began to fiddle around with ideas. A hotwire would work for the horse but not the sheep. So that easy solution was out. Next idea was using saplings for a tripod n rail fence or a wattle fence. That might work but it would take an awful lot of saplings with reasonably straight trunks, something I didn't have. Besides, it would take days and days to cut and transport those saplings since I'd need a lot to effectively contain sheep & horse. Toss that idea out. Next- wood pallets. I had access to plenty free ones. I first thought to cut them up and build a picket fence of some sort. But the KISS principle kept nagging me, so I said, "Why cut them? Why not use them as is?" I couldn't think of a reason why not. 

My first attempt at a fence was to line the pallets up like a normal straight line fence. I tied them together. They fell down. So I nailed them together. The next day the gusty tradewinds blew it down. 

Next attempt - set the pallets up in a zigzag so that were more stable. That night the trades blew sections down. Even with open slats, there was too much wind resistance.

There had to be some simple way to make those pallets more stable. Something cheap, easy, quick, simple. I finally came up with a solution that worked. Let me show you how. 
This pallet fence really works. It follows the contour of the land with no problem. Gusty winds have not blown it down anywhere. And it is not nailed together so it would be very easy to remove, add to, or change the direction. 
Right now it's not painted, but if it were a nice natural tone of green or brown, it would look better. 
I erected the fence by placing one pallet perpendicular to the fence line. I tied a pallet to either side. Then continued adding pallets using this same pattern: one perpendicular, two on the fence line, then repeat. You can see the pattern pretty well in the photos. 
I didn't need to use a perpendicular pallet at the corners. The corners met at a 90 degree angle, so it was stable enough. 
I just tied the corner pallets to each other top and bottom. I'm using electric fence poly "wire" for tying. It's strong and not apt to break, is easy to tie, the knots don't slip. And on a farm, I always have a roll of it handy. 
This photo shows how I tie the pallets top and bottom to the perpendicular pallet. Just two ties appears to work. 
Left side. 
Right side. 

I've had this pallet fence up for several days and so far so good. High enough to discourage the horse and the sheep ignore it after their first investigation. 

I bet if I used the nicest pallets, leveled them up and used a string line to set them straight, nailed them together, and painted them that they would make a rather nice farm fence. And boy, you can't beat the price! 


  1. Genius! Pure genius! Looks very sturdy, might be nice when all the wood weathers to that silver-gray color, makes great use of free stuff, easy to modify, tall enough for horses and sheep, able to take a lot of wind, easy to repair.
    How do you set up a gate with these? I can see tying the center of two straight pallets with a section of chain, maybe, and double looping the end-ties loosely, to allow them to be swung open, singly or both, depending on what needs to pass through.
    I wonder if the deer fence mesh could work for smaller critters, too, with ties or staples to attach it on the perpendiculars.
    But again, I salute your ingenuity!

    1. I used some old chain link panels that in their past life had been part of a dog pen. They are four feet high, so it's very convenient. I am also using some old chain link gates that I picked up at a flea market very, very cheap because they were damaged.

  2. . I did add a smaller ramp on the other side for an escape if I needed one but that one fills up with tumbleweeds, rain and snow as well. This isn't a huge issue. It just adds some mud where I want to wear my flip-flops. wood fence panels for sale