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Types of Wood Fencing: Landscape Beautifier or Necessity?January 10th, 2013 by
This article was crafted with the help of Tim Moss from Atlanta Decking & Fence Company
Fences have long been regarded as an excellent way to maintain peace between neighbors. Having a fence not only provides a clear boundary around your property, but it protects your family and home from outsiders as well.
While fences can provide a necessary distinction between property lines and a sense of security for your loved ones, they can also add to the beauty of your landscape and home.
Before constructing a wood fence, it’s important to decide what purpose(s) your new fence will serve—maintaining boundaries, securing your family and home, or increasing your property’s curb appeal. Tim Moss, the sales manager of Atlanta Decking & Fence Company, helps to identify important criteria you should consider before building a wood fence.
Wood Fencing Materials
There are many types of wood fencing materials available to homeowners interested in adding a fence to their property. Tim discusses two popular types of wood fencing materials: cedar and pressure-treated pine. “Most pressure-treated pine works well in wet environments,” says Tim.
For humid climates like Georgia, pressure-treated pine will hold up longer than cedar. Cedar is better for dryer climates because the lack of moisture will keep the wood from rotting. Cedar also works best for custom fences that require more detail. Because cedar does not warp as much as pressure-treated pine, decorative cedar fences will hold their shape longer.
Tim notes that in general, the type of wood available for your project will depend on your home’s location, and you should pick a material that works best for your needs and climate.
Wood Fence Styles
The versatility of wood allows homeowners to choose from different styles of fencing for their homes. While only six styles are mentioned in this blog, wood can be customized to suit any landscape, function, or style.
Rail fences are typically seen along the borders of farms, large areas of land, and gardens. These fences allow homeowners to keep their pets, livestock, or garden safe without blocking the view of their land.
Rail fences complement the surrounding landscape while bringing a rustic charm to your home. Typically, rail fences feature three or four horizontal boards in between wood posts. Rail fences can be built at various heights based on the needs of the homeowner.
Picket fences, usually painted white, bring to mind pictures of quaint suburban homes. These fences are ideal for framing gardens and keeping children and pets from leaving the yard.
For more privacy, each board can be placed side by side to eliminate visibility. If privacy is not an issue, boards can be placed one to six inches apart for a more traditional look. Like rail fences, picket fences are available in different heights.
Privacy fences come in several different forms: dog-ear, negative and positive arch, shadow box, and screen. While privacy fences are well-known as a way to keep wandering eyes out, they also serve as an excellent way to keep children safe, pets in, and noise out.
Dog-ear fences are probably the most common type of privacy fence. Vertical wood slats are positioned side by side to eliminate spaces between them. The top corners of each board appear to be folded down or dog-eared, like a page of a book.
Privacy arch fences come in two different forms—negative and positive. Negative arch fences have arches that curve downward, which decreases the height of your fence. Positive arch fences have arches that curve upward, which adds inches to the fence to maintain privacy.
Shadow box fences are similar to picket fences upon first glance; however, the shadow box type features horizontal boards with pickets alternating on each side. This fence works best for neighbors since both sides of the fence look finished. Because the vertical slats alternate, there will be some visibility through the fence.
Screen fences mimic lattice fences. The fences feature narrow slats of wood crisscrossed over each other to create diamond-shaped holes. Screen fences do not offer as much privacy as traditional privacy fences, but they still provide a measure of privacy and safety.
If the adage “good fences make good neighbors” has inspired you to erect a fence, the type of fence you build should depend on your current relationship with your neighbors. “If you have a good relationship with your neighbor and you want to build a fence simply to mark a boundary, then a short picket fence will work fine,” says Tim.
Rail fences and shadow box fences are also great options for boundaries between neighbors. Usually, these fences stand at around four feet tall and allow visibility through and above the fence.
If neighbors are not as social with each other, they may prefer to build a privacy fence—typically six to eight feet tall. “In many neighborhoods, the highest you can build a fence is six feet. Homeowners might not be able to go any higher than six feet, but there are neighborhoods that will allow you to build an eight-foot fence.
Once you go over six feet, though, the price increases,” says Tim. For complete privacy, choose a six-foot fence with a positive arch. Homeowners commonly choose dog-ear fences, but Tim suggests positive or negative arch fences because they can provide a more decorative look to your landscape.
However, with negative arch fences, homeowners will lose some privacy in spots where the fence top arches down.
Securing Your Family and Home
If securing your family and home is the primary purpose of building a fence, then a privacy fence that allows no visibility from the other side is your best option. “While no fence will be 100 percent secure, a fence is a good deterrent,” says Tim. “You want it to be as much of a deterrent as possible.”
A privacy fence that does not allow outsiders to see into your yard is great at restricting unwanted visitors. By placing a barrier at the edges of your yard, you can also make it clear that your property is to be accessed “by invitation only.” “If someone is walking around your fence whom your neighbor doesn’t recognize, it’s a red flag,” notes Tim.
“A person who seems to be trying to get into a fenced-in area is more suspicious than someone who is just walking into an unfenced yard.”
When your main goal is to keep your kids and pets inside your yard, the choice of a fence depends on a few factors. Tim explains, “If you would like to keep your kids inside the fence, but you don’t want to block your view, a picket fence with spacing works well in these situations. When you want to keep your kids away from outside eyes, a six-foot privacy fence is best.”
“If you have a dog that can jump five feet in the air, you might need a taller fence,” says Tim. “For small dogs or dogs that don’t jump, a four-foot fence can keep them in without blocking your view of the outside.”
However, Tim stresses that homeowners should think about the future before constructing a fence. While a smaller fence might work for their purposes now, a taller fence might offer more protection or resale value down the line.
Increasing Curb Appeal
Fences can add beauty to your yard, garden, and home, which can increase your property’s curb appeal. For the front of your home, a picket fence or a custom fence that is four feet high can enhance the beauty of your lawn and garden without obstructing the view of your front door.
Tim suggests adding an arbor with a custom gate to accent the start of a garden. Privacy fences—dog-ear, arches, shadow box, and screen—work best to fence in play areas or pools in backyards.
Curb appeal is not only about adding beauty to your home but also about increasing value. A fenced-in yard may attract more homebuyers than a home without one. However, fences that contrast with the surrounding neighborhood could deter buyers.
Tim advises homeowners to look around their neighborhood and see what type of fencing is popular in their area—with regard not only to types but to styles and colors as well. Tim recommends that homeowners also check with their HOAs to determine if there are any restrictions placed on the type of fence they can build.
When deciding on the right fence for your home, know that you are not limited to choosing a fence for either function or beauty. Wood fences can be constructed to meet your practical requirements, and your beauty wants. With research and thought, you can pick the right fence to serve your current expectations as well as your future needs.
This spotlight article was crafted with the help of Atlanta Decking & Fence Company, a Best Pick in Fences in Atlanta. While we strive to provide relevant information to all homeowners, some of the material we publish may not pertain to every area. Please contact your local Best Pick companies for any further area-specific advice.