clock menu more-arrow no yes

8 Wood Fence Styles

From the traditional picket fence to newer engineered styles, here are the different types of fences you can choose from for your backyard.

House With White Picket Fence. Eric Roth

There are plenty of practical uses for a fence: to gain privacy, safely corral kids and pets, block wind and noise, and prevent unsupervised dips in a swimming pool. But the right wood fence styles also make a strong aesthetic statement, improving a home’s curb appeal.

Components Of A Fence

Illustration highlighting white picket fence components.
Components of a Picket Fence: The cap protects post’s vulnerable end grain from the weather, the rail connects the posts and supports the pickets, the post supports all components, and the picket mounts vertically on rails, often has a pointed tip.
Rodica Prata

All fences use the same basic components:

  1. Vertical posts set into the ground: The post supports all components; for stability, bury at least one-third of it in the ground.
  2. Horizontal rails that support either pickets, fence boards, or lattice panels. They are spaced between 6 and 8 feet apart, depending on fence height and design.

What Type Of Wood Fence Lasts The Longest?

Redwood, cedar or pressure-treated pine last the longest. A fence can last about 20 years, if made of a turnout resistant wood. Then posts are usually the first to go; panels survive longer because they typically don’t touch the ground.

Fences must withstand year-round exposure to the element. So be sure to assemble the parts with weather-resistant fasteners, such as hot-dipped galvanized or stainless-steel nails and screws.

What Are The Different Types of Wood Fences?

1. Wood Picket Fence

Garden picket fence. iStock

Usually 3 to 4 feet high, these fences are named for their widely spaced pointy-topped pickets, which discourage climbing and shed raindrops.

Best for:

  • Front yards
  • Gardens
  • Pool enclosures

Similar to shown: 4-foot-tall pointed-top cove panel, about $24 per linear foot in red cedar; Blue Ox Millworks

2. Post and Rail Fence

White post and rail fence. iStock

This inexpensive fence, traditionally used for penning livestock, also makes a bold demarcation between properties.

Best for:

  • Boundaries
  • Enclosing fields

Similar to shown: 4-foot-tall paddock fence, about $8.25 per linear foot in treated southern yellow pine; Capital Fence

3. Wood Lattice Fence

Lattice wood fence. GAP Photos

Crisscrossing strips of lath obscure the view while allowing air and light to pass through. A perfect screen for climbing plants.

Best for:

  • Gardens
  • Decks
  • Patios
  • Pools

Similar to shown: 4-foot-tall lattice panel, about $59 per linear foot in white cedar; Walpole Woodworkers

4. Louver Fence

Louver fence on patio. GAP Photos

Vertical louvers or staggered boards afford privacy when viewed straight on but allow airflow and open views from the side.

Best for:

  • Pools
  • Decks
  • Parking pads
  • Patios

Similar to shown: 6-foot-tall open-louver panel, about $21.50 per linear foot in redwood; Bay Area Fence & Deck, Inc.

5. Vertical Board Fence

Brown wood vertical board fence in yard. iStock

Overlapped or butted edge to edge, tall vertical boards, ensure privacy. They also block the wind, a good thing in winter but not so much in summer.

Best for:

  • Keep out nosy neighbors
  • Wind and noise protection

Similar to shown: 6-foot-tall shadow-box panel, about $30 per linear foot in redwood; Borg Fence

6. Ornamental Fence

Ornamental black fence. iStock

Steel, aluminum, or fiberglass made to resemble wrought iron.

Pros:

  • Lifetime warranties on fiberglass and aluminum, 10 to 20 years for steel
  • You can paint it any color
  • It’s strong and sturdy.

Cons:

  • No privacy
  • All posts set in concrete
  • Steel rusts

Cost: Starts at about $25 per linear foot for aluminum or fiberglass; about $16 for steel.

7. Vinyl Fence

White vinyl fence. iStock

Hollow PVC posts and rails reinforced with metal or wood inside.

Pros:

  • Warranties from 20 years to lifetime
  • Needs only an occasional wash.

Cons:

  • White and shades of beige only
  • Has a plasticky sheen
  • Gets brittle and cracks with age

Cost: about $12–$50 per linear foot for 6-foot-tall uninstalled panels.

8. Composite Wood Fence

Closeup of composite wood fence.

Boards made of a sawdust and plastic blend with solid wood posts and rails.

Pros:

  • Warranties from 20 to 25 years
  • Comes in a variety of wood-like colors

Cons:

  • Posts must be set in concrete every 6 feet, which means extra digging and installation expense

Cost: about $15–$50 per linear foot for 6-foot-tall uninstalled panels.