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.