Can You Use Fence Panels On A Slope?

Fence panels are a great way to save time and labor when you are installing a fence on your property. But can they be used on a slope? We researched fence installation techniques from multiple professional sources so you'll know for sure what you can and cannot do.

A fence panel can be used on a slope. You can install the fence panels using a method called stair-stepping, which will save time and labor.

Now that we know that you can install fence panels on a slope, we'll take a look at the process. You might also be wondering if a fence should be level or follow the ground or what the best fence is for a sloped yard. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post and see what our research has uncovered.

Perspective view of long wooden fence in the green farm. Wooden fence and shadow in the middle of the green grass field. - Can You Use Fence Panels On A Slope?

Installing a fence panel on a slope—What to know

worker installing welded metal mesh fence.

No matter what the slope of your yard is, installing a fence will take a good amount of effort. Fence panels are a great way to save time, however. In order to make your fence look as good as possible, a method called stair-stepping is recommended when your yard has a significant slope.

There will be sizable gaps

A yard will rarely slope evenly. This means that there will be gaps of varying sizes between the bottom of the fence and the ground. Some of these gaps will allow for pets (and even small children) to escape, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a fence in many cases. 

This problem can be solved in one of several ways. Fill can be used in the gap so that the fence bottom and ground touch. Dirt and small rocks are the most commonly used form of fill in this case.

Another option is to have the fence pickets cut at varying lengths. Where there will be a gap, the picket will be cut longer. It will still be uniform across the top of the fence but of different lengths at the bottom.

Consider leveling the slope some

You can save time on installation if you level the slope a bit. Any larger dips or holes can be graded out or even filled in before the fence is installed. This can save you from having to fill in big gaps later. This will not eliminate all of the gaps, but it will give you a bit of an edge.

Should a fence be level or follow the ground?

One of the most commonly asked questions is whether or not the fence should be level or follow the ground. For aesthetic and practical reasons, a fence should be level at the top. Try to picture in your mind what it would look like if it followed the ground.

The top of the fence would have pickets that would be significantly taller than others. It would be unsightly, to say the least. By leveling the fence, you will create gaps in the bottom, however.

These gaps can be filled with small rocks or dirt, just like you would do if you were installing a panel fence on a slope. Grading the yard where the fence is being installed is recommended, as it will eliminate many of the larger gaps that will present themselves after the fence is in place.

Brown wooden fence isolated on a white background that separates the objects.

What type of fence is best for a sloped yard?

We know that stair-stepping a panel fence can be done on a sloped yard. But there is a type of fence that is better. It is a fairly new development known as rackable fence panels.

A rackable fence panel has each picket attached with an upper and lower hinge. When the panel is in place, the hinge will adjust the picket to the contour of the land. Having this type of technology saves you a TON of effort.

You will not need to fill in gaps at the bottom of the fence with fill. You will also not need to worry about having to cut individual pickets to varying sizes to narrow the gaps. 

Image of a Beautiful decorative cast iron wrought fence with artistic forging.

What type of fencing lasts the longest?

There are almost more varieties of fencing than you can count. When it comes to deciding which one is right for you, there are many things to consider. Your budget, the desired aesthetic, and the property layout are all important. But for some, longevity is key.

Galvanized steel fencing is the type of fencing that will get you the most bang for your buck. The solid steel version of this type of fencing is reported to last a lifetime and is very low maintenance. All you need to do is occasionally rust-proof it.

This fencing material is not the most desirable, however. Even though it lasts the longest, its chain links do not give you any privacy. It's also not the most pleasing to look at.

Aluminum fencing is almost as durable

A more popular choice than galvanized steel is aluminum. This fencing material will not rot like wood or crack like vinyl. It is also rustproof and waterproof.

Many fence manufacturers will offer limited lifetime warranties on this fencing type. Because it is both maintenance-free and long-lasting, it is a more popular choice than galvanized steel, even though the latter will last a bit longer.

Wrought iron has a great lifespan

A wrought iron fence gives a solid look to the border of any property. These fences are built to last, giving the property owner an estimated 50 to 60 years of use. 

They are susceptible to the elements, however. It will require you to apply rust protection every couple of years so that the material doesn't oxidize.

The cost of wrought iron can be quite high, making it not as popular an option as some of the others. But if you have it in your budget, this type of fence looks great and won't require much aftercare on your part.

Wood fencing lasts a long time but requires a lot of maintenance

If you use treated lumber, a wood fence can last up to 40 years. These are the most common types of fencing for privacy, surrounding the backyards of many suburban homes. As great as they look, they do have some caveats, however.

A wood fence is built tough, but it will require a great amount of maintenance from you. It's recommended to inspect both sides of the fence once a year and look for signs of dry rot, mold/mildew, bug infestation, and other damage. The fence will also need to be treated and painted every few years so that the elements don't take their toll on the wood.

You'll find that you'll have to replace boards here and there. You might also need to reset a fence post as well, as they can work their way out of their post holes. But if you take care of this fence, it should last for decades.

Vinyl fencing has come a long way in recent years

An alternative to wood fencing is vinyl. Vinyl requires a lot less labor and maintenance than wood but will generally not last as long.

The downside to vinyl is that it will become brittle and crack in cold weather, so it might not be suited for every climate. But this material lasts a lot longer than it used to, averaging a homeowner about 30 years of useful life.

The only maintenance you'll need to do is occasionally hose it off. Vinyl will attract grass stains, pollen, and other elements that should be powered sprayed off now and then.

White vinyl fence fencing of private property grass plastic.

In conclusion

Fence panels are a great time and labor-saving product and will work great on a sloped yard. There will be gaps that need to be filled, which can be done in one of several ways. Weight out all of your options carefully and decide which one will look best for your property.

You made it to the end! We hope this post on fence panels answered all your questions. For additional information, we recommend reading the following posts:

How To Fill The Gap At The Bottom Of A Fence [Inc. Vinyl, Wood, And More]?

Will Gel Stain Eventually Dry? [What To Do When It Remains Tacky Or Sticky]

Shadow Box Fence Vs. Board On Board: Pros, Cons And Differences

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