Fencing on a Slope: To Rack or To Step?

Fencing can seem pretty cut and dry at first glance. . . until you come to a hill. Many of our customers do not consider that there are multiple options when it comes to installing fences on a slope. The method used to install fencing in these areas can dramatically affect the look of the finished product. When choosing the right fencing for your slopped yard, you will need to decide if you would like the fence sections “stepped” or “racked.”




A fence is stepped when some or all of the sections along the fence line are installed lower or higher than the next. The sections are also completely level and parallel to each other at the same time. Stepped fencing can be done on virtually any degree of slope.

One important thing to keep in mind with this style is that there will likely be a gap between the bottom of each section and the ground. If you have small animals or are restricted by pool code, this is likely not the option you should choose when building fencing on a slope.



Racked fencing is much more aesthetically pleasing because it creates a very fluid fence line. Racked fencing follows the exact grade of your yard and therefore does not allow for gaps to exist at the bottom of each section. Racked fencing is a favorite among our customers because of its smooth look and ability to contain small pets.

There are two downsides to racked fencing. The first is that they cannot be installed on slopes that are steeper than approx. 15 degrees. The second is that not all styles/materials of fence can be racked. Wood privacy fences with square lattice, Trex fencing, and horizontal board privacy fences cannot be racked.



What about both?

Most wood fence styles can be stepped AND racked. The tops of each section appear stepped, but the bottoms are tight to the ground as it descends the slope. This is often a more expensive option due to the extra hours involved in creating these custom sections. Each picket must be meticulously measured and cut to the right height AND angle for this to work properly and fit tight to the grade of the slope in question.


Price comparison?

The price difference between racked vs. stepped fencing varies greatly depending on the style and material of the fence in question. Racked fences are most often more expensive due to the time and labor it takes to create each section; similar to what was stated in the previous section. They can also require special order material, which is often more expensive.


What’s right for me?

The only way for us to recommend the best option for you would be for us to come out and meet with you. Our sales reps will give you the best suggestions based on your space along with your needs and desires. They can also price up different options for you to choose from. Frederick Fence guarantees that you will be presented with the best solutions to be installed by the very best fencing professionals. Call us today to set up a free consultation!