The types and styles of wood fences

Updated February 21, 2017

Wood fences come in a number of styles and types depending on the purpose of the fence. Fences in general serve as dividing lines between properties, block the unintended viewing of the property to provide privacy and contain animals and children. A good fence may meet several needs or may be specialised to meet just one desire of the owner.

Privacy and semi-privacy fcences

Wood fences constructed with vertical boards placed tightly together block any viewing of the property from outside the fence. If the boards are spaced about 5 cm (2 inches) apart, the fence is considered a semi-privacy fence. A semi-privacy fence still blocks the sight of most viewers, especially if they are at a distance from the fence, although it will not stop anyone from peeking in between the boards. Both fences provide enough structure to prevent pets and children from entering or exiting the fenced area. The privacy fence requires the most material of wooden fence types and usually has the highest materials expense and requires the most labour for installation.

Post and rail

Commonly decorative, post-and-rail fences utilise posts set into the ground with horizontal rails to form a fence. These fences are occasionally used to contain large animals such as horses or cattle. The spacing of the rails is often too wide to keep pets and children from roaming. Split-rail fencing, utilising rough timber, and board fencing, using dimension timber, are both examples of post-and-rail fencing.

Picket fencing

Picket fencing is similar to semi-privacy fencing but commonly includes a decorative top to the vertical boards. This provides a more decorative look while meeting the requirements of containing pets and children. A wide variety of decorative cut patterns allow picket fences to complement many types of exterior home styling.

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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.