a close up of a wooden gravel board under an overlap fence and sitting on a bed of gravel

A fence panel isn't complete without a sturdy gravel board, but you might ask “what are gravel boards?” Well, gravel boards protect the panel from moisture rising from the soil and will help retain aggregates in the garden. You should not forget about installing gravel boards when erecting a fence. Read on to learn more on related topics.

Editor’s Note [25.03.2024]:

Our article about what are gravel boards and how to fit them was originally published on August 22, 2016. Today we have added a new section for “What are gravel boards,” and a conclusion and contact details section. We have also added other updates throughout the article.

What are gravel boards?

Although usually unseen, in our opinion, gravel boards are indispensable. Comprising of sturdy slabs, they are the filling in a sandwich between your garden fence panels and the wet ground below. They act as a buffer, keeping out dampness, soil, bugs and slugs from reaching your fence panels. Buy these to have pristine fence panels, which last much longer.

Should I have a fence without a gravel board?

You can erect a fence without a gravel board set-up. You can, of course, have a wish to replace that fence earlier than you otherwise would! Even when a wooden fence has a guarantee against rot, it can become damaged either physically from stones and errant lawn mowers. Other possibilities are damage through insects, they will also rot quickly when in direct contact with wet ground. A solid concrete or timber gravel board will always make a fence look better and provide a strong foundation compared to a fence without a gravel board.

Types of gravel boards

Gravel boards can be classified into two main types, wooden gravel boards and concrete gravel boards. These work well with both traditional fencing and contemporary fencing, we discuss the types of gravel boards below:

wooden gravel boardwooden gravel board
Forest 6' x 6" Pressure Treated Wooden Gravel Board (1.83m x 0.15m) - Click Image to View
wooden gravel boardwooden gravel board

1)    Wooden gravel boards

Wooden gravel boards have a natural look and are easy to cut to size. Our recommendation is to always include them with any fencing order. Make sure that each of your timber gravel boards has been pressure treated with a preservative to ensure longevity.

Concrete Gravel BoardConcrete Gravel Board
Forest 6' x 6" Lightweight Concrete Gravel Board (1.83m x 0.15m) - Click Image to View

2)    Concrete gravel boards

Many people opt for concrete gravel boards, especially when fixing fence panels between concrete posts. They simply slide into the grooves in the concrete post. However, if any need cutting to size, they do take a bit more work and create clouds of dust. The plus side is that they last for decades and are relatively maintenance free. A wash down will clean things up and get rid of algae buildup.

Installing gravel boards

Do it every time you fit a new fence panel (unless the existing one is still in good condition – a poke about with a screwdriver will find rotten areas) and fix them in position once the fencing panels are up and solid. That's because fence panels may vary ever so slightly from one to the other and if they have to fit a fixed space you will have to cut them down to size (shaving a centimetre of the end of a framed panel is a real pain). It's so much easier to saw through timber gravel boards. If you do get the saw out, treat any cut ends with wood preservative to reduce the risk of rotting.

How to fit gravel boards:

It's easy to fit a wooden or concrete gravel board. There are three methods you can use, which we explain in this how to fit gravel boards section:

  1. With slot-in fence fencing posts:make sure the posts are secured for the correct distance for your fence panels. Measure and cut the gravel board to match the distance. Slot the gravel board in before you slot in the panels. Easy! (this is the method used for concrete gravel boards as well as wooden gravel boards)
  2. With clips:install the clips into the centre width-ways of your fence post at the height you require. We recommend creating pilot holes to prevent the wood from splitting. 
  3. With wooden blocks:make some wooden blocks out of pine or cedar. These can be the same width and thickness as the gravel boards. Position them on either side of where the board will meet the post. Screw them in place. Then "slot" the gravel board end between the blocks. Screw through the blocks to secure the boards. Repeat at both ends, of course.

Use galvanised screws throughout your fence installation to ensure ease of replacement and to reduce rusting.

Methods 2 and 3 make it easier to replace gravel boards. They are the most likely part of your overall fencing to rot first - that's their job! Replacing a wooden or concrete gravel board is far cheaper than having to replace a whole panel or even worse, a run of a few rotten fence panels.

The importance of spirit levels

Don't for one second consider fitting a gravel board without a spirit level. In fact, that goes for all your fence panels. 'I'll judge it by eye' will only highlight one major flaw – that your eye cannot judge levels!

It can be a challenge knowing how to fit gravel boards on a slope. All you need to do, if the ground is sloping, is to step the boards and fences.

Take your time, pencil it all out on paper before you break the soil with a spade and use that spirit level till the bubble bursts (they don't – but you get the sentiment).

spirit level lay on a wooden floorspirit level lay on a wooden floor

Top tips and techniques:

Here are a few extra tips to be aware of when installing gravel boards.

Direct or suspended?

Some people place the gravel boards directly on the soil. Others raise them a little off the soil surface. The thinking is that if they are directly on the soil all aggregates will be held in the garden.

However, raise them a little and it allows water to run through preventing all chances of localised flooding or puddles. I like a little gap between the bottom of the gravel board and the soil surface. I like the idea of air circulation, access and exit points for water and a board that will last longer.

If you are 'on the surface' make sure the soil is level, firmed and even add a layer of sand to bed the board into.


Hedgehog watch

Everyone loves hedgehogs in the garden for their voracious appetites for all things slug-like. However, they are becoming scarcer partly due to gardens becoming more secure. All a hedgehog needs is a hole in a fence the size of a small football and bingo, they are free to roam around a wider territory munching on more molluscs as they go.

Now, obviously, a solid wall of gravel board stops that freedom of movement. Before erecting a run of fencing, including gravel boards, of course, you could create hedgehog-friendly gaps in the fencing. Perhaps cut the gravel board to help the hogs in our hedges. Your garden will be better for it.

If you'd like to learn a little more about the other fencing accessories we offer, why not take a look at the following video? It's packed full of extremely useful information.


When using your garden, you will not notice gravel boards. Unheralded they keep your fence panels in pristine condition and increase their expected lifespan. Irrespective of whether you choose wooden gravel boards or concrete gravel boards, you will want to buy these to help protect your lower fencing area.

Another bonus is that gravel boards are easy to install too, although you must use a spirit level to keep the board balanced. we documented the entire process in the how to fit gravel boards section earlier on. So, why not buy some gravel boards and give your fencing some extra protection that it certainly needs?

Sharing this guide

We hope you enjoyed this guide! If you found it at all useful, please share it with your family and friends on social media or leave a comment down below; the whole team, here at Buy Fencing Direct, would really appreciate it. If you're interested in other garden tips and tricks, click here to read a few more of our helpful blog posts. See you shortly, for the next instalment of Buy Fencing Direct's blog!

Contact Buy Fencing Direct

Well, we have now answered the question “What are gravel boards” and advised on how to fit them. Why not speak to the Buy Fencing Direct team about any aspect of your fencing project including wooden or concrete gravel boards or ordering any fencing products and supplies from our extensive range?

Contact methods to choose from are:

  • Phone us at - 0333 003 0515
  • Emails – use our contact form to send emails
  • Text chat – you can speak to us in real-time using our live chat app