Japanese Wood Fence Styles

Written by sam kellenberg
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Japanese Wood Fence Styles
Japanese designs are famous around the world for their understated elegance. (Japanese garden image by lidian neeleman from Fotolia.com)

Manufacturers usually build Japanese style fences in panels or small sections to define boundaries, offer privacy or provide focal points in gardens, rather than for any explicit protection. Japanese fences can employ variety of woods including bamboo, redwood, maple and pine. Japanese wood fences often incorporate designs which make high use of geometric patterns and contrasting wood colours, with the aesthetic value of the end product foremost in mind.

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Woven Fence

Woven fences are usually made with bamboo or thinly cut slats or ribbons of wood, woven together to form a thin but visually appealing fence. Geometric patterns are often particularly favoured with this style of fence, and different colours or stains of wood may be used to add visual stimulation. Woven fences may come in rolls or hardwood frames. Framed woven fences are typically easier to install than rolled fences, and gates are easier to install.

Lattice Fence

Lattice fences can be made of the same materials as woven fences with the same general method. However, is that lattice fences often have gaps in the weave, anywhere from an inch or two to more than a foot. As a result, they may incorporate much larger wood slats or boards. In the Japanese tradition, such fences are typically used at the fronts of homes or to subdivide smaller garden areas, as the visual space allowed through the holes in the lattice suggests inclusion.

Panel Fence

Panel fences are sections of fence constructed by using either wooden boards or bamboo laid flat horizontally or vertically to create a solid barrier. Such fences are often used as privacy fences. As they require less labour to fashion than lattice or woven fences, they are usually significantly cheaper than other options. Panel fences are the most common design found in traditional Japanese fences.

Bamboo Rail Fence

Fashioned in the likeness of the split-rail style of fence, especially large pieces of bamboo are often used to create thick posts. Sections of thinner pieces grouped together are sometimes interspersed with the larger ones. Often, the bamboo has been treated and is curved, creating a pleasing design flow. The ends are sometimes cut at a diagonal slant, and for fences used primarily for decor purposes, can be cut in irregular heights. In the true Japanese style, the posts are kept low to the ground, but more contemporary styles can incorporate greater heights.

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