Projects & Inspiration

How to Attach Fence Panels to Posts

October 8, 2020

By Ashley VanderWall

Preassembled fence panels speed up a fence project because the panels are already built for you. All you need to do is set the posts and attach the panel to the posts.

There are two ways of attaching a panel to a post. You can attach the panel on the face of the posts (face mounting) or attach the panel between the posts. Face mounting provides more flexibility with post spacing but creates a “back side” of the fence. Mounting between the posts requires more exact post spacing but offers a neighbor friendly look. We’ll show you both ways.

Whether you’re mounting on the posts or between them, your first few steps are the same.

Step 1 – Preparation.

Check local codes and ordinances before you start your fence. Call the local utility companies to mark any underground cables or pipes. It’s also a good idea to talk to any neighbors along your proposed fence line.

Step 2 – Gather your tools and materials.


  • 4x4 treated posts
  • Preassembled fence panels


  • Cordless drill
  • 3-1/2 in. wood screws for attaching the fence to the posts
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • 2 in. pieces of scrap wood to prop up the panel

If you haven’t set your posts yet, you’ll also want concrete, gravel and a post hole digger.

Since the panels can be cumbersome to move around, the project will be easier with the help of a friend.

Step 3 – Set your fence posts.

Properly setting your fence posts is crucial to the long-term performance of your fence. If you’re face mounting your fence panels, you’ll measure your posts on-center. If you’re mounting between posts, you’ll measure your posts inside-post to inside-post. For detailed information on post spacing and setting fence posts, read this blog.

Bracing a fence post with 2x4s

Step 4 – Place your fence panel.

Face Mount

Carefully position your fence panel against the posts on top of your 2 in. pieces of wood. Be sure it’s centered on the face of each post. Check for level.

Shadowbox - Between the Posts

Position your fence panel between the posts on top of spacer blocks. The fence panel should fit snugly between the posts. Check for level.

Step 5 – Attach your fence panel to the posts.

Face Mount

Drive one screw into one side of the panel. Hold the panel level and drive one screw into the other side. Now the panel should be relatively stable as your drive in the rest of the screws. We recommend using two screws per backer rail on each side. Be sure you’re driving through the backer rail and into the post.

Shadowbox - Between the Posts

Drive one screw through the backer rail on one side at about a 30-degree angle. Hole the panel level and drive one screw into the backer rail on the other side. The panel should be relatively stable as you drive in the rest of the fasteners. Use two screws per backer rail per side.

Step 6 – Continue down the line.

As you continue down your fence run, be sure that the tops of the fence panels are installed at the same height and check for level and plumb frequently.

Finished Face Mount Privacy Fence
Finished Shadowbox Fence Mounted Between Posts

You can find out where to buy our Outdoor Essentials preassembled fence panels here.