Picket fences serve two purposes: They keep unwanted traffic out, but they also add a design element to houses and yards. Generally, picket fences are smaller than standard fences, standing no more than 4 feet high. Picket fence boards are generally 3 to 3.5 inches wide with the shapes of the tops varying by preference. Fences, however, can also be as wide as 5.5 inches or as small as 1.5 inches. The four main types of picket fence styles are the flat top, French Gothic, Gothic and dog ear, and the most popular colours for picket fences are either natural or white.
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The flat top picket fences are cut off at the top, and they have the simplest design of any of the fences. Leave boards raw with a natural stain for pine. Or, allow cedar fences to weather naturally; cedar does not require stains. To add interest to flat top fences, cut boards so that the boards make a U with the end boards higher. For example, cut your end board so that it's 4 feet high, but then decrease the board size until the middle is 3 or 3.5 feet high. Boards may be cut at an angle. Flat top fences work well for wooded areas and rustic homes.
Dog ear picket fences have a flat top that is rounded on the sides. This type of fence provides a simple, natural look to a yard, and these fences are usually made of wood like cedar or pine. While pine needs to have a natural stain to protect it from the weather, cedar can be left unstained to naturally weather. Dog ear picket fences go well with cabins or rustic homes, but can be used on nearly any home.
The Gothic has a spear-like quality with a rounded top that ends in a flat point. This type of fence is generally painted white and works well with highly landscaped gardens, cottages and older homes. End posts are typical with Gothic picket fences, but the fences may also just be used in a continuous pattern. Make gates of the same material as the fences. This can be done by simply building the fence with the boards and adding latches and hinges.
French Gothic is similar to the Gothic style, but the head of the fence is more pronounced. The head ends in more of an arrow point with a slight groove separating the bottom of the fence to the top. Paint this fence white or a similar colour as well. This type of fencing works well with older homes, especially wood, brick, Victorian or cottage homes. Another form of this fencing is the Spaced French Gothic Concave style. This style varies the heights of the fencing so that the ends of the fence are 4 feet high, while the centre is closer to 3.5 feet with the preceding and receding posts an inch higher than the previous.
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