disclosure: This post is sponsored by Sherwin-Williams®.

Looking for an easy way to update the fence in the backyard? Why not paint it? Here’s the step-by-step on how to paint a fence.

I was trying to think up titles for this post and so many came to mind. Here are my top five:

  1. You’ve come a long way.
  2. Look where we started.
  3. Wait until you see what the fence looks like now.
  4. I still can’t believe it.
  5. I think I’m in love.


When you see where this fence started?

And how far of a journey it has made this summer?

You will be thinking up titles, too.

And now?

Here are all the details, the paint we used, the steps we took and some commonly asked questions.

How to paint a fence.

Here’s where we started.

This is what the backyard looked like after we recently constructed a smaller fence on the side of the yard.

We are going to build a workshop/studio on the right-hand side and on the left-hand side we built this smaller fence. It’s a fenced-off area where we are adding a cutting garden and an herb garden and a patio area with chairs and a fire pit.

But first?

We needed to paint it.

If plans to paint a fence are in your future, here are all the details and FAQ’s about this fence project.

How to paint a fence

Q: What supplies and tools do you need to paint a fence?

Make sure to gather these supplies before you start your fence project:

  • a good exterior paint (I recommend Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior paint)
  • a small roller
  • primer (I love Sherwin-Williams Exterior Latex Wood Primer)
  • sandpaper
  • paint tray
  • an extension rod for the roller
  • good quality brushes

You will save so much time if you make a list of everything that you need and have it ready on hand before you start painting. It’s easy to lose momentum on a project like this if you have to press pause and go back to the store for something that you forgot.

Trust me.

This is the voice of fence painting experience talking.

Q: What is the best paint to use for painting a fence?

You want to choose a really good exterior acrylic latex paint.

I cannot stress this enough.

This is the time to invest in paint that will stand up the elements and provide lasting coverage. We used Emerald Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint in the color Extra White SW 7006. I cannot recommend it enough. It goes on smoothly with amazing coverage. For this project, we used two coats of Extra White.

If you are looking for a good white color for your exterior spaces, Extra White SW 7006 is a true white with a crisp clear color that translates well to fences, moldings, and other exterior surfaces.

Q: Where’s the best place to start painting a fence?

We tried a little different approach to painting this fence. We constructed the basic posts and frame and painted that first.

Here are the steps we took to paint it:

  1. If your fence is new construction, make sure that any holes are filled in with wood primer and any rough surfaces are smoothed with 110-grit sandpaper.
  2. Next, using a roller and brush, paint on the primer. Sherwin-Williams makes an incredible Exterior Latex Wood Primer.
  3. Then it’s time to paint. Start on one side and paint the entire side of the fence. Roll the flat surfaces of the fence, using the extension rod to save time. After you’ve rolled the flat surfaces, touch up the rest of the fence with a brush.
  4. After one side of the fence is finished, go back and paint the other side of the fence.
  5. Let the first coat dry and add a second coat if needed.

Q: how do you paint the fence pickets?

We painted the pickets before they were attached to the fence. It was so much simpler and easier to cut the pickets to size, lay them across sawhorses and paint both sides of the pickets before they were attached.

It prevents drips and excess paint in the corners and crevices because you’re painting a flat surface.

Prime and paint one side of the pickets, allow that side to dry, then flip the pickets over and paint the reverse side.

After the pickets were attached to the frame, we went back and touched up any places that needed paint.

Painting the pickets and then attaching them later was so much easier. We estimated we saved several hours of painting time using this method.

It also created a much smoother finish and prevented excess paint drips.

Q: how do you paint a fence next to the grass?

Painting a fence next to the grass is a little challenging. We came up with a creative method that saved time and gave us a clean finish on the posts.

  1. Using a roller, we rolled the paint and primer down to the bottom of the post, leaving about 2-3 inches of unpainted post next to the grass.
  2. Then, using a brush, we carefully painted the rest of the post to grass level.
  3. Some of the posts were surrounded by dirt, so we placed a wide paint scraper flat against the dirt to prevent it from getting on the brush and painted the remainder of the post.
  4. You could also use the wide paint scraper when painting a post in the grass as well.

Here’s the color palette I used for the project:

Fence: Extra White SW 7006

Furniture: Tricorn Black SW 6258 

Pavers: Extra White SW 7006 and Stamped Concrete SW 7655

And now?

The backyard looks like this.

I took an overhead aerial shot of the space so you could get an overview of how it fits into the backyard.

I love the Crepe Myrtle tree on the corner that anchors the space.

Eventually, the landscaping beds will wrap around the corner on both sides of the fence and incorporate the tree into the landscape design

We also added a seating area inside the fence.

There’s a fire pit in the center and urns full of flowers.

We spruced up the chairs by painting them Tricorn Black SW 6258 with Emerald Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint.

It’s my go-to black for all of our exterior furniture.

The chairs are sitting on a patio we created from gravel and pavers.

Here’s a close-up of the stenciled pavers in the patio.

We painted the pavers using Porch and Floor Enamel in the color Stamped Concrete SW 7655 and stenciled a fun design in the color Extra White SW 7006.

The gravel fills in the spaces between the pavers and creates the rest of the patio.


This is my view when I walk up to the gate.

Isn’t it amazing?

Can you see why I spent so much time thinking up titles? I’m going to compose an ode and a sixteen line sonnet to the fence and all its posts.

Because just between us?

It deserves every word.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Sherwin-Williams.

All opinions are my own.

Please see my disclosure page for more information.

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  1. Image for Eileen Eileen

    A beautiful transformation!! Isn't nice to gain some real estate that you already had??? Always fun. Enjoy!!!

  2. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    Love the whole area and a great tip on painting the fence posts!!! I can see lots of hanging out and enjoying the fire pit 🔥 Your Crape Myrtle is so pretty....they are one of my favorite trees💜

  3. Image for Karen Mary Karen Mary

    How beautiful!! Love it! My husband and I just painted our front porch railing with the same method and paints. It took us 30 hours (each, working together), but I'm so glad we did it. Just hope it lasts; I wouldn't want to have to repaint it in a year! :) Love your gravel area, too! Thanks, as always, for the inspiration!

  4. Image for Lyn Lyn

    It looks beautiful. Maintaining a painted wooden picket fence is a bear. After about 20 years most of our fence has been taken down leaving just a short section near a small patio. I use it as a background for flowers, water fountain, etc. I have been spray painting it for a couple of years now, but wish I had done a solid wood stain instead initially instead of paint.

  5. Image for Cindy@CountyRoad407 Cindy@CountyRoad407

    That looks awesome! Now all you need is some chickens! Does McKinney let you have chickens? Maybe you can get those extra fuzzy furry chickens?!. Maybe they are quiet? Maybe your neighbors will think they are so cute they won't snitch?! Maybe you could bribe them with a fresh egg breakfast?

  6. Image for Nancy Nancy

    Oh my goodness, so much work. It is well worth it as you create the perfect traditional outdoor space. Simply wonderful. I am saving the pst because next summer we are replacing the wooden fence that backs our property. How do I save this post please? I am typing on anApple Ipad.

  7. Image for Mary S Mary S

    It's so pretty and fresh! Painting pickets is quite a pain, but worth it in the end. Look forward to the finished product of the entire space. Very nice. Kudos to your hubby!!

  8. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Looks GREAT! What a job painting all that- we love Sherwin Williams too. We built a fence by the road of our house and painted it with that same paint- more farm fence looking with horizontal rails. Ya'll will really enjoy your backyard!

  9. Image for Susan Johnston Susan Johnston

    A cutting garden!!! And an herb garden!!!! And a lovely place to enjoy from within the fence and from your back windows!! So very nice, and good paint directions!

  10. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    Love the fence, the crepe myrtle, the stenciled concrete, and I especially love Purdy paint brushes. I will not use anything else!!! What you have done so far looks amazing. I can't wait to see your entire dream come to life. :)

  11. Image for JC JC

    Oh, these plans are dreamy! Will you make your garden like a potager garden? I love those! Love the chairs, SW Tricorn Black! Isn't it the best black? We used it in a home we flipped last year and it was so perfect.

  12. Image for Michael @ CraftyDad.com Michael @ CraftyDad.com

    Looks GREAT! My wife and I are big fans of Sherwin-Williams paint. In fact, we're paint snobs. We ONLY use SW paint for our projects. Goes on super-smooth and has beautiful coverage. And hey, those Purdy paint brushes are great too. We usually pick up a couple the SW store. (Especially when they're on sale!) I'm excited to see the Studio project. Keep us posted!

  13. Image for Sandy Sandy

    Hi Karianne! Can you do a post on the paver patio? I love the look and would like to do something like that under our deck. Thanks!

  14. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    What a great place for your gardens and looks so pretty. Now i can't wait to see what you do with this space.

  15. Image for PJ PJ

    Okay, KariAnne, you have inspired me to get to the fence painting that has been on my to-do list. It may finally be cool enough to be outside!

  16. Image for Jean Jean

    Creative, fun and beautiful! I’m just not clear on why you wanted a fenced in area. And the patio pavers are wonderful too !

  17. Image for Juliet Juliet

    It looks spectacular! Nothing says home to me like a white fence. The painting part though ... I don’t know. I’m a little paint shy and might delegate this task. Is my husband listening??? xo

  18. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    I have a dog-earred fence that needs painting, but I am waiting until the temperature cools down. It's gonna be a bear; but nice when it gets done!!!

  19. Image for Jayne McLeod Jayne McLeod

    YOU have the best blog on the block !!!!!!!!! ......too funny and chalk full of great ideas and fun !! I can't wait to read that sonnet ha!ha! Thank you! Jayne

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