Different types of wood fences

Written by grahame turner
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Different types of wood fences
A wooden fence, simple and elegant. (fence image by Sorawut from Fotolia.com)

Wood is a material that has been used for centuries because of its light weight, strength and versatility. The same material that holds up your house can also create a border around your home. A wood fence looks simple, yet effective; it creates a border, making a clear space around your property. Use a wood fence to give areas of your yard privacy or to keep your pets or children safe. An incredible variety of wood fencing styles and options are available, so you can choose a style that matches your home.

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Split Rail

Split rail fencing is one of the most open designs and one of the simplest to assemble. A section consists of two upright posts with a row of two or three large holes drilled all the way through. Two or three horizontal posts are carved so the ends fit into the holes and are inserted between the posts. It has a rustic look reminiscent of ranching days.

Different types of wood fences
A very rustic style of fence, the split rail fence is easy to make and repair. (wooden rail fence image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com)


Effectively an evolution of the split rail design, the corral design consists of two upright posts with two to four horizontal slats nailed across the gap. It's a design commonly used around large animals, such as on farms or near stables. The much more open design allows the breeze to pass uninhibited but wouldn't stop a dog or child escaping.

Corral fencing has a finished, yet still rustic appearance.
Corral fencing has a finished, yet still rustic appearance. (horse eating image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com)

Spaced Picket

One of the most common styles of fencing is the picket fence. Like the corral fence, it consists of vertical posts with two horizontal slats running between them, but attached to the slats every few inches are vertical pickets. Picket fences come in a number of shapes and sizes. Some landscapers even use a variety of picket lengths to create a scalloped look.

Different types of wood fences
A scalloped picket fence. Some fences don't have end caps. (picket fence detail image by Aaron Kohr from Fotolia.com)


The other fence styles allow a lot of breeze to pass through but also allow for any passersby to see into your yard fairly easily. If you want total privacy, install a privacy fence. You can use pickets or vertical slats, but place them directly next to each other, so there's no gap between the boards, which creates a solid wood fence. The tops are often carved to curves or points, and they are sometimes scalloped. Some fences also have an extended cap across the entire fence.

Privacy fence: Nothing gets in or out, including breezes.
Privacy fence: Nothing gets in or out, including breezes. (Fence image by Grigorii Potapen from Fotolia.com)


The shadowbox fence provides a lot more privacy than the other styles but doesn't inhibit the breeze as much. The secret is the third dimension. Instead of putting all of the boards on the same side, the slats alternate sides. For every picket on the front, you place another picket on the back. Looking head on, it almost looks like a privacy fence, but from an angle, a small gap is revealed.

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