Popular Fence Styles and Practicality

Fences can be used to create borders, both physical and abstract. They are defining boundaries between public and private, and occasionally create strange in-between spaces. Sometimes fences make good neighbors but often, there is collateral damage. They go beyond delineating space to creating barriers. These barriers affect how we navigate, understand our neighbors, and determine our sense of security.

There are a variety of different types of fences for homeowners to consider. Among the many different options in materials and styles are available, there is likely one that is a perfect fit for your outdoor living space. Which one is right for you? 

Picket fences, widely associated with English cottage gardens, bring a homey feeling to a landscape that few other fences can match. The homey feeling is due to more than just the choice in fences. The plants, shrubs, vines, and trees around your fence all give the yard a welcoming feel.

The post-and-rail fence style may be grouped under the more general heading of “ranch-style” or “horse” fences. These fences were originally designed to contain livestock. They usually have 2-4 horizontal rails. True to their practical origins, ranch-style fences are less work to construct than the more decorative fences: they are sparer, lacking vertical boards that have to be nailed up.

As their name suggests, privacy fences are designed to keep prying eyes out. The rather plain privacy fence accomplishes just that, interposing a tall, solid surface between the yard and the outside world.

Wrought iron fences are one of the more elegant types of fences. Wrought iron fences are especially appropriate if you seek a formal landscape design. They bring out other elements (like brick) that we associate with formal landscape design.