You're planning to add a fence to your backyard. You don't care for vinyl and you're trying to decide between wood and wrought iron but you're not really sure how to make the decision.
Before you decide on a fence material, consider which fence styles meet your requirements, i.e. you'll need a solid, panel style fence (wood or vinyl but definitely not wrought iron) or hedge if you want privacy. If you're getting a fence to add sizzle to your landscaping, an intricate wrought iron fence or rich stone wall might offer just the right touch.
Here's your chance to review different fence styles. Many are available in more than one material, i.e. picket fences are available in wood or vinyl but split rail fencing is always wood. Don't forget to consider not just the initial cost of your new fence, but the ongoing time and cost to maintain the fence you purchase.
Pick Your Favorite Fence Style
- Picket fences are those where the vertical boards are wider than they are deep although they're more commonly known by the shape of the board at the top of each picket. A Gothic picket fence ends in a point while other picket fences may end with an arrow, a round ball or they might be relatively flat with the design coming from a series of pickets that are scalloped, dipping down or up.
- Baluster style fences are different from picket fencing with vertical slats that are square with the most common dimensions, 2 inches by 2 inches. A basic baluster might be flat or have a simple pyramid at the top, and then there are very ornate, carved balusters that more closely resemble those of interior staircases.
- With post and rail fences, the focus is on the posts. Originally used to contain livestock, these fences have between 2 and 4 horizontal rails running between the posts. With no vertical boards to nail, they're easier to build and homeowners who want a fence but don't want the feeling of being fenced in, find this style more comfortable.
- Split rail fences are the most common type of post and rail fences, with the horizontal boards made from rough lumber that is “split” and by tapering the ends, they fit into holes cut in the posts supporting them.
- Zig-zag fencing offers an alternative to most fencing that follows a straight line. The zig-zag is formed by where fence posts are placed and the split-rail fences are among the most popular style found with this layout.
- Privacy fences are made from solid panels with no space between the vertical boards. They may be plain on top or include some type of decoration from a top rail, to decorative post caps and even a short baluster style fence for the top 12 to 18 inches. The same scalloping found in picket fences is another style used for privacy fencing.
- Stockade fences remind us of history when people were put in the stockade, similar to today's jails. They're another type of privacy fence, with tall, solid boards (most often made of wood) that end in sharp points like a Gothic picket fence.
- Lattice fencing is a style that offers semi-privacy, with slats that criss-crossed diagonally. They're most commonly used to hide yard and lawn equipment stored under a deck or along the side of the house.
- Wrought-iron fences are more formal and offer a vintage feeling that works well when trying to match the style of your home or other landscaping features like brick and stonework. They are usually ornate
- Hedges or other living fences offer an alternative fencing style using the natural shape of the evergreens, hedge type shrubs or bamboo which is becoming more popular. They may take a few years to fill in and then you'll have fewer maintenance concerns.
- Stone walls are part of America's history as people cleared the land for farming, placing the rocks in lines that formed stone walls. Today's stone fences may be built entirely of stone or a combination of stone and another material like wrought-iron or vinyl. Brick fencing is another form of masonry style fence.
- Chain link fencing, galvanized or vinyl coated, provides maintenance-free security and access control. These fences can be made in various heights and offer a simple boundary marker to perimeter security for homeowners.
- Pool fencing must meet safety regulations with respect to height and access. They also play a major role in your overall landscape design because of their location and the semi-private coverage needed for safety.
- Garden and deer fencing is functional and meant to disappear into the visual background. Made from woven, metal wire for strength and durability, this type of fence is designed to blend into the surrounding landscape as much as possible.
- Decorative fences may not be as functional when they don't enclose an area. They provide an aesthetic touch to the overall landscape design, sometimes using only a few panels or forming a partial circle around a deck or patio.
- Invisible fences are meant to keep pets in the yard using electric wiring buried in the ground. Invisible fences are just that, invisible except to pets wearing a collar that get a zap when venturing to close to the fence.
Territory Wire Fencing
Thanks for writing about the different fence styles! Very helpful indeed! Before I installed my fence, I checked for fence regulation in the neighborhood. I have always liked wood for fencing because of it’s natural beauty. Although the downside with wood is that it needs regular upkeep but I’m cool with that. We picked pressured-treated wood for our privacy fence.
You’ve got some great tips for choosing a fence style. I like how you walked through basically every design and talked about it. I like the idea of a lattice fence for keeping my kids and dog safe while still leaving a view. Either that or a chain link fence.
I am glad that I found this article because I did not realize how many styles of fencing there is to choose from and I want to make sure I find something that matches the exterior of my home and the style of my yard. You make a great point that privacy fences are made from solid panels and there is no spacing between the panels. This would give us the privacy that we want when we have friends and family over for parties in our backyard. Plus, the fact that we can add a decorative style to the top of the fence means I can still make it unique to match my home.
Rosie, I like how you explained a fence with open or closed panels, plus a decorative top. Thanks for a useful perspective on how to pick your fencing.
It got me when you mentioned the privacy fence and how it is made out of solid panels with no space in between them and that they can also be used for aesthetic purposes. I like the privacy fence thing because I do not like it when neighbors take a look at what I am doing in the yard. Aside from this, my husband doesn’t like people seeing that he cares more about the flowers than I do. If we choose this, then we can go about our lives without worrying too much.
Thank you for mentioning that the wrought iron fence is the best option if they want one that will match perfectly the vintage design of the landscaping. I will mention this to my mom since she is the one who wants to work on the fence project. I think that the wrought iron fence will work best for the property since the style of the house and backyard is taken after a 1950s movie. I appreciate you sharing.
This is very helpful article on what fence is the best fence for your home.
It’s great that this article elaborated on the different types of fences that you can choose from, there’s so much out there it can be confusing. I never really thought about the cost that it takes to maintain a fence, but that it a great thing to consider when looking for a fence. My mom wants to have a fence installed in her yard so she can get a dog, I will be sure to share this article with her.
Thanks Hector & please send us a photo of your fence & Mom’s dog
Thanks for pointing out all of the different types of fences. I especially liked how you said that wrought-iron fences give your property a vintage look and feeling that works with brick. My home is Victorian in style, and I want to put a fence in so that I’ll be able to get a golden retriever. It seems like I should find a contractor who’ll be able to put a wrought-iron one in for me.
Amanda, You’ll probably have to look around a bit as not all fencing companies carry wrought iron fences but the end result will be worth the extra work.
I’m glad that you mentioned making sure your pool fence is tall enough to be safe. My wife and I have been looking for a fence to install around our new pool. It would be smart to choose something really tall so our kids can’t climb over it.
Riley, Not only tall but a design that isn’t easy to climb as your comment brought back memories of my younger son who learned how to pile up everything in his crib, in order to climb out … at 6 months of age, LOL
It’s good to learn about different fence styles. I like how you said that zig-zag is actually an option! I’d love to throw in that little artistic flare for our fencing. Can all materials do that?
This is a great article! Thank you -it’s actually a massive help! In terms of where to find the right fence though I do have a few questions for people! The thing is for years I’ve had the same fence in my garden – it’s a classic wooden one – nothing particularly special – it did the job of providing some privacy to the garden and that was pretty much it.
But a couple of months ago we got our new dog Maxie. We love Maxie to pieces, but I think all of us would admit he can be a bit of tinker to say the least! Needless to say after a few weeks in the garden, the fence has been burrowed under and jumped over a multitude of times! We really need to invest in a new fence that is both going to look nice but which will also help keep our little tinker in the garden!
Have you got any suggestions for where we can get this type of fencing? My husband’s friend sent us a link to Park Lane Fencing. Wondering if you’ve heard of them? Me and my husband are based in the Birmingham area so we really need someone within the nearby vicinity which is why I believe my husband’s friend sent us Park Lane. They look very good to me but I know very little about fencing and things so any insight or reviews and recommendations would be much appreciated. Many thanks – Izzy
Izzy, Afraid I’m in the US with no direct knowledge of fencing in the UK. Here are a few tips I can offer:
Good luck and love for you to share your story here once the fence is replaced (before & after photos are great).
I appreciate you helping me learn more about the different styles of fences. My husband mentioned that he wanted to put up a picket fence for our backyard. I was a little bit confused as to how it looks like, but I kind of envisioned it when you mentioned that it’s where the vertical boards are wider than they are deep.
Wow, there are so many different types of fences; I love it! Out of all of these different options, I think that I would have to pick either the lattice or garden fencing. They both seem like they would be great for blending with nature, which I really like. Plus, with lattice fencing, you can actually have vines grow over them to help them become more blended with the rest of the yard.