Before a guest even sees your kitchen, living room, foyer, or home theatre, the first thing they notice is the fence in your front yard. There are a lot of fence designs available. Although installation can be a little complicated. Not planning ahead things can lead to delays and complications. The first thing to decide on is which fence styles will work best for your yard. Take the time to learn about fences. Understand their functionality, material used, purpose, and height. A good understanding of these attributes is essential before calling a fencing contractor. Without proper research, you may not get a fence that fits your requirements.
One of the first things to know is where to place your new fence? Are you enclosing your yard to define a property line or just to add aesthetic value? Is it for the front yard or the backyard. A front yard fence needs to give your home curb appeal and compliment its surroundings. This is more so than if the fence was for the backyard. It could be a fence for keeping pets and/or children in and protecting them against street traffic. Knowing the primary goal of your fence helps to determine what type of fence will be the most appropriate.
When it comes to backyard fencing, there are many reasons to have them. Some of those reasons are the same as having a front yard fencing. Fencing can always enhance the aesthetic appeal of a space. However, they also serve other functions. Backyard fences, for example, can help keep your landscape enclosed and under control. It also separates your backyard from the neighbors, keeping things neatly separated. It also serves many of the same functions as the front yard, such as keeping children and pets safe and protected.
Fences make very nice boundaries that not only keep things in but also keep things out. It can be a burglar deterrent, however small, and also help to keep a lot of wild critters away from your house. Some fences have barbed wire on them to discourage people and animals from coming into your yard. Some fences come equipped with electric hooked to them to deliver a shock to anything that touches it. These types of fences are really good for security.
A lot of homeowners love to have friends over and eat out back on a picnic table or porch setting. Having a fence keeps people from just walking up on you while you’re entertaining. It gives you much needed privacy as well as a sense of security.
Once you’ve nailed down the reason and purpose of your fence, your next decision is decide on its height. For a fence that just adds to the aesthetic appeal of your home, you probably only need a fence that is a couple of feet high. However, if you want privacy then you may want to add a fence that is from 5 to 7 feet high.
Before you decide on the height of your fence, check out your city codes and your home owner’s association (HOA) to see what is permitted. Some cities set the fence height cap at about 6 feet, but your HOA may have differing requirements. In fact, your HOA may require that fences in the community be of a certain color and material. So get this settled before your contractor buys any tools, fence panels, or any other materials. A fence that is mainly for cosmetic purposes does not need to be made from anything that is particularly strong. However, if privacy and security are the main objectives, then you want something sturdy that will last for years to come. Below are some of the most common materials used and their benefits:
Table of Contents
- 1 Fencing Type by Material
- 2 Fence Types by Purpose
- 3 Fencing Styles
Fencing Type by Material
You can stain or paint wood to match the surrounding style. A wood fence can last as long as 15 to 20 years. Wood fences may serve as either a privacy fence or a decorative one. Why not both? There are many kinds of wood that fences can be made from including spruce, pine, redwood, and cedar. Some are even made from composite wood (recycled materials) and will have to be stained with a finish to withstand the elements. Wood fences require regular maintenance and occasional touch up to increase their longevity. When it comes to security, a wood fence is not the best choice because they can be easily broken to gain entrance into your yard.
This small backyard is closed in with a horizontal wooden fence. With the patio, there’s enough room for a nice barbecue.
Here’s a nice low fence that is painted black and white tips on the the top.
This is an example of a sea side home with white picket fence.
This option is for those who want both good aesthetics and durability. Vinyl lasts a long time and can be installed as a picket fence or a board fence. The colors are somewhat limited for homeowners as it is only available in neutral shades. This material cannot be stained or painted like wood. Vinyl is moisture resistant but can develop mildew if exposed to damp conditions for an extended period of time. That means any sprinklers in the yard should be kept far enough away to keep from hitting the vinyl fence.
A lot of fences are made with metal. It is strong, versatile, and comes in many styles. It can be used for decoration, privacy, and security. Below are the most common types of metal used for fencing.
As far as metal fencing options go, there are plenty of them. The kind you choose to install will depend on how much security and privacy you need. Fences made of aluminum are very strong, long-lasting, and make for excellent security. They are very efficient at keeping kids and pets in and out of unwanted areas. They can come in 2-rail and 3-rail types that are extremely durable. There is very little maintenance involved. All they need is a good washing from time to time.
A steel fence is an even stronger fence than one made of aluminum and is excellent in terms of security. The rails of a steel fence can withstand 4 times as much impact as aluminum ones. They also hold up better against erosion caused by the climate. They require practically no maintenance.
A cool fence and gate form the opening to an impressive building. The fence is created from steel with very detailed designs of circles, triangles, and other shapes.
This type of fence is also excellent for security reasons. It is durable and can last you as long as 50 years or more when cared for properly. To get the best security from this type of fence it is recommended that you get one that is no less than 6 feet tall. The ones that are 4 feet tall are considered to be medium security.
A prominent brick home sits within a gated area. The brick column of the metal fence is the same look and feel as the house. The grass is well kept as are the trees and bushes.
An old grand two story home is designed in a Spanish style. The yellow and white color theme fits this place well. The fence gate design is intricately made with a floral pattern. The fencing is a combination of stone and metal.
This is a pink two story modern home. The outside is protected with a blue metal security fence. Trees and bushes behind the fencing are used to add privacy from prying eyes.
On this property, the front fence is dark blue green color and made from a strong metal. It’s a decorative short fence, but the tall bushes serves a natural privacy fence.
The wrought iron driveway fence pictured above covers the entire yard. The top of the fence has gold spikes for an elegant look as well as burglar deterrent. The gate is held together by a large brick column.
This three story house is a true gem. The estate home has two large balconies to enjoy the mountain views. The brown country fence encapsulates the home and small garden.
The pitch black metal decorative fencing borders each side of the narrow cement walkway. It leads the entrance to this grand European style three story building.
A nice metal home fence borders this magnificent palatial two story cream and yellow home. The front gate leads to several steps and the main entrance.
The landscape fence gives visitors a visual delight before approaching the home’s entrance. The fence is short. It’s mainly for looking good, which it does with the distinctive patterns. The house itself is big with brown and white color theme.
Here’s a lovely home in the suburbs. The fence and gate is a simple metal design. The columns and foundation is custom stone. Tall trees are planted behind the fence to increase privacy.
A brick fence is among the most expensive choice for a fence. However, it is also among the most secure privacy options available for a yard. Brick actually requires no maintenance and gives you some of the best security in accordance with its height. It is also a great barrier to sound which makes it better for holding barbecues and pool parties in your backyard. However, in order to have a brick wall around the yard a strong foundation is required. If the ground beneath it happens to erode, then the entire fence can come tumbling down. Below are a couple of ideas for fences.
Glass fencing is usually used around pools as an enclosure. It has no security or privacy value since this material is clear and easy to climb over. Using glass for fencing adds a modern sleek style to your home decor. Glass requires a lot of cleaning maintenance since it gets dusty and dirty easily. On its own, glass can last a long time. However, it is not very durable if it gets struck by a blunt object.
The border-less glass fence creates the appearance of a more open space. Visitors are able to see the neatly groomed grass from the sidewalk.
This is a roof top pool. The modern glass fencing allows for people to enjoy the sweeping views of the ocean from atop.
Bamboo is actually a type of grass. These fences are mainly used decoratively. It is a sustainable material source since bamboo grows quite fast. Bamboo adds a one of a kind Asian style element to garden. A couple of other advantage of bamboo is its durability, sturdiness, and low level of maintenance.
A basic fence made from bamboo guides visitors along stone steps in the park.
Photo Courtesy of Wonderlane : Small Garden with various plants, flower, and bamboo fencing panels.
The last consideration when deciding on a fence is picking the right look. Again, it is necessary to set your priorities. What’s the most important? Is it security, privacy, or looks?
Fence Types by Purpose
Privacy and Security
Privacy fences are usually tall, spanning six feet or more and do not have holes are gaps in them. Its purpose is to prevent people outside from seeing the fenced surroundings. Meanwhile, security fences serve as a barrier to entry for intruders. Again, these are taller fences that are more difficult to scale. Most of the time, a privacy fence combines security as well. They can be made from a variety materials. Common ones include metal, wood, brick, and vinyl.
Here are two examples of fences that ensure privacy and security.
With this fence, there is no worries about people peeking into your gorgeous island kitchen. The tall wooden fence with no gaps in between prevents people from outside from looking in.
Strong and high fence provides the security and privacy needed for residents.
Decorative fences are used for fence design and decor. They are usually short and complements the style of the surrounding area. It is popular to use them around gardens, front yard, and outdoors.
Decorative fence ideas come in many forms. This particular one is a short white fence that leads to the home. It has a a square and rectangular design.
Here’s an easy fence idea to consider. Its a wood fence with alternating long and short posts.
An Asian style metal red fence highlights a pond in a Japanese garden
The garden lattice fence above, helps to hold up and organize the flowers and bushes.
This dazzling high profile home is grey with large windows. The creative fence in the front adds an elegant style to the yard.
The above all brick home is decorated with a brown picket fence.
A decorative white metal fence adorn this sidewalk on the beach.
A black metal fencing with star design overlooks the river.
A white garden fence surrounds a neat bed of roses.
Sometimes simplicity is best. This small garden fence is metal with a series of loops. It borders the lawn and flowers.
Wrought iron garden fencing protects the small flowers near the door.
Fresh organic food is always the best. The vegetable garden fence forms a nice back drop to this vegan paradise.
Inexpensive fencing can often get the job done. While its never going to be the longest lasting fence, the fence adds much needed decor to the garden.
Here is a tiny bamboo short fence for a garden. It’s purely for decoration and its does a great job.
Here we have another iron garden fence that encloses the small rose bush.
This incredible swimming pool is paved with light blue tiles and features a jacuzzi. The modern fence design unites metal and glass. The floor around the pool is slate.
This is the backyard of a two story home. Half of it is grass. The other half has orange tile floors and a rectangle swimming pool. A frameless glass pool fence encapsulates the pool creating an illusion of a fence-less perimeter.
Lattice fences have diagonal designs with about 2 inches of spacing between panels made of wood, PVC, or vinyl. These can give you a small bit of privacy but there are still small holes that allow for light and probing eyes up close. Many people use this kind of fencing around their gardens and for growing ivy walls. There is also a variation of this type of fence where only the top is lattice. This way, it can serve as a privacy and decorative fence.
The chain link design is made from coated steel wires or galvanized steel wires that form a zigzag diamond pattern. These fences work good at keeping pets and children in but not so good at security or privacy unless a fence screen is added to block the holes. Privacy fence screens can also be used to block wind and dust.
Picket fences are traditional decorative fences that are very commonly placed in the front yard. They are usually around three feet high, attractive, and have evenly spaced boards that sit vertically. They can be made from vinyl, sheet metal, or wood. They are attached to rails. These fences are mainly for aesthetics. Don’t count on them for any kind of security or privacy. Below are several kinds of picket fences.
The photo above shows a cottage style home on the corner of the street. A traditional white picket fence framing the home is one of the most desired fencing ideas. It has a sea green colored roof and window panel shutters and a small garden full of pink rose bushes.
The image above shows an off white spaced picket fence design. The materials used is a mix of stone columns and vinyl for the fence itself. The top of the fencing is pointed and the gate has a nice curvy style.
Here is a simple home with outdoor fencing. It is gray colored with square panels that are equally spaced. The fence matches the color of the home as well. Overall, the home and lawn is well maintained.
The above pic is an example of a garden fence. This one is a two part one. The bottom is charcoal grey and the top is white. Both parts are made from wood. There is an arbor in front of the picket gate.
The white iron fence has a special sloping design. It is more ornamental than for security. The upper part is pointed making it difficult to jump over without injury. However, it is not something that is insurmountable.
Here’s a simple backyard fence idea. It is a white wooden picket fence with a flat top. The wood boards alternate between large and small. This looks great on the green lawn.
The entryway fence leads to a brick pathway to the house. This fence is white and made from metal. It is a mid-length in height and with alternating long and short bars in between.
Here sits a beautiful two story home with an ascending wooden fence over a brick foundation. The fencing color matches that of the window sill and door frame. This is one of the classic front yard fence ideas around.
The large mid-western home has black window accents and a enormous front yard. It is enclosed by a white under and over fence.
The nice suburban home has a picket fence type that has a wavy shape at the top. It is also known as a over-scallop fence. It’s of the wood fence styles that can add a touch of panache to your home.
Another variation on the picket fence. This one serves no other purpose than looking good in the front yard. The white color creates a nice contrast with the bright red and dark green colors.
People see a lot of these fences being used on ranches or farms. They are usually made from long fence boards or timber logs and then split into rails. This type of fence is used for its decorative value, keeping animals in, and marking property lines. The number of split rails varies as well.
Here’s an example of a two rail fence. It’s a basically for cosmetic purposes only. However, it does look quite nice since the fence matches the color of the roof to a tee.
Pictured above is a traditional horizontal fence design. It’s made from vinyl and has two rails. They match perfectly with the window sill.
This beautiful landscape shows how peaceful life can be. It’s nothing but bright green grass for miles. The wooden farm fencing is simple and inexpensive.
Three rail farm fencing keeps the horses at bay on this ranch. Nothing special here. Just a plain fence that gets the job done.
Large acreage of green lush grass surrounds this terrific looking home. The ranch fencing consists of four rails. I’m sure there are some happy horses on this property.
Hewn Log & Branch
Here’s one of the easier and cheap fence ideas. Just buy some logs, stack them together, and nail down every two logs. It looks good too.
The image above shows a farm with a road leading to a farm house. A branch fence borders the horses and allows them to graze peacefully.
Here’s an attractive lush garden. It has stone paved steps with an abundance of flowers on each side. A rustic branch fence adds to its charm.
Being out in nature is a great place to relax and take time to reflect on life. This majestic log cabin is homely and grand. There’s a walkway and a safety fence that is made from log as well.
This green forest has many tall redwood trees. The hewn log fence creates an unobstructed path for hikers to enjoy nature.
This horizontal fencing lets visitors get as close as possible to the lake and the scenic view of the vast forest and mountains.
A shallow pond is framed by a decorative wood fence. The background is full of trees, bushes, and other plant life.
This picture is so captivating that it could be on a postcard. The long grassy roads leads to a small town near the mountains. The cedar fence follows the path along the way.
A four rail horizontal horse fence surrounds this animal on an Autumn day.
A fence made with wire is used to keep people or animals in or out of a certain space. Wood is commonly used as the post with wiring in between. It is one of many cheap fence ideas for farms and outdoor areas. This type of fence is usually three to four feet in height. While it is a deterrent, it is not a strong one.
The farm has long stretches of land marked by this wood and wire fence design.
Here’s an example of a simple wire fencing. Branch wood is used as posts and wire netting as the fence.
Walking trails are commonly lined with wire fences to prevent hikers from wondering onto dangerous unpaved areas.
Snow blankets the park on a cold day. This is a type of decorative fence that is not seen often. The basket weave fence uses metal railing and posts to hold the wooden weave together.
Other good reads on HomeStyleCentral.com: