Wooden Fence Types

Updated February 21, 2017

A wooden fence is a free-standing structure that creates a boundary to movement in the landscape, provides privacy or decoratively enhances a location. Choose your style of wood fence depending on your needs. Cedar, pressure-treated pine, lattice, locust and spruce are just a sampling of the types of lumber used to construct a wooden fence. Whether you build your fence from scratch or prefabricated panels, a wooden fence adds a touch of home to your landscape.


A picket fence is a variation on the board-and-stringer-style fence, which is a basic framework of at least two rails called stringers. These stringers are parallel to the ground and run between the vertical fence posts set in concrete or compacted gravel. The space between pickets varies as does the type of wood and treatment you prefer. Painted or stained, choose a style of picket top to fit your home's design. These choices of picket top finishes include angular or curved dog ear, standard Gothic, English Gothic and French Gothic. The ubiquitous white picket fence generates a cottage feel to your yard. Build a picket fence piece-by-piece or purchase prefabricated panels to set between vertical posts.


Rail or split-rail fences are made of timber. They were originally built from trees felled to clear the land for fields and home construction. Modern rail fences are vertical posts with slots cut in them to hold the tapered ends of horizontal rails. For a sturdier structure, the tapered ends are wired in place. Install a rail fence by setting the first vertical post. Set tapered rails between. Set the next vertical post to ensure proper fit.


Panel fences usually are used for privacy, with each vertical piece abutted to the next. The height of your fence is a personal choice as well as the style of the vertical board top. Purchase prefabricated panels to install between vertical 4-by-4 or 6-by-6 posts set in concrete. Panel fences can be adjusted to follow the flat or sloped contour of your land. The panel tops run straight between each post or cut in convex or concave shapes for a different affect. Purchase the raw materials for your panel fence before setting your posts to ensure proper fit.


Construct lattice fencing using panels purchased from your local home improvement centre. A lattice-style fence will not block your view. It also lets the breezes flow through it. This style of fencing is an informal addition to your landscape that can be used to camouflage utility pieces and other unsightly features around your home. Train wild roses and other vines to your lattice fence to soften its lines and to bring a touch of romance to your yard. Lattice fences are one of the most inexpensive types of wooden fences you can install.

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About the Author

Based in eastern Virginia, Cathy Welch began writing nonfiction articles and novels in 1996. She wrote a short story that appears in John Maxwell’s “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.” She writes reviews and nonfiction for Longridge Writer’s Group. Welch holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Christopher Newport University with a concentration in management.