Fences do more than define borders between your property and the house next door. A well-designed and well-chosen fence provides a decorative accent that can be the perfect finishing touch to your landscaping. Choosing the right fence is a matter of finding the type of ornamental fence that best suits your property and the style of your house. When deciding what kind of fence to use on your property, consider your neighborhood, your home’s architecture and the purpose of the fence.
The white picket fence is the classic symbol of small-town living. Picket fences come in many heights, with pickets of varying widths. They can be simple, with all the pickets the same height and width. More decorative picket fences use varying heights to create curves along the top of the fence, or incorporate arched gates and arbors. Short picket fences make ideal garden accents, setting off areas or defining paths. The classic picket fence is white, but you can paint it in any color to match or contrast with your home. Choose wood picket fences if you’re a traditionalist, or a PVC picket fence for easier maintenance.
Wrought Iron Fence
Wrought iron fences evoke the image and solidity of a baronial manor estate. The fence sections consist of pickets, either set into concrete or attached to rails. The pickets may be round, square or cast into another shape. You can choose from plain picket styles, alternate them with lacy metal-work panels, or pick decorative fence sections with pickets of varying heights to create arches and curves. Finials, fence posts and gates give you additional design choices. Metal fences are especially popular for gated homes, or to create railings for balconies and patios. Easy-care aluminum replaces wrought iron in many classic metal fence styles.
Post and Rail Fence
Originally used for farms, post and rail and split-rail fences became popular choices for suburban homeowners of the 1960s and 1970s. Rail fences offer the advantage of clearly marking borders without obscuring the view. They’re among the easiest fence styles to install — you just need a post-hole digger and modest handyman skills to put up a post and rail fence in an afternoon.
PVC fences come in many styles, colors and heights, making them suitable for nearly any yard or garden. Like post and rail fences, their ease of installation makes them them popular with do-it-yourself landscapers. Most styles come in standard-size panels that fit together to make fences of any length. They may simulate wood or metal, and many incorporate lattice work along the top throughout the entire panel. PVC is low-maintenance — no painting or refinishing needed to keep them looking their best. Just wash them down with a hose and let them dry.