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Fence Styles Of Yesterday, Today, And Tomorrow

by Clare Kaufman

Repair-Home Columnist

A fence is more than a row of boards ringing your property. From the classic white picket fence to the 'living' eco-fence (like an evergreen hedge), you have a range of options to choose from. Before you call your fence or landscape contractor, take a moment to explore the wide world of fences.

Classic Fences

Classic fences include both formal and rustic options. Many of the sturdier designs require the assistance of a fence contractor; others come prefabricated for easy installation.

  • Picket. The iconic white picket fence is a series of waist-high, pointed boards held together by two cross boards. Picket fences often come in panels, making them an attractive option for do-it-yourselfers and fence contractors alike.
  • Ranch. The standard ranch fence is composed of horizontal rails connected to vertical posts spaced at eight-foot intervals. A variation on the theme is the 'crossbuck' fence, which features two crossed bars within each section. Traditionally used to fence in horse or livestock, the ranch fence offers rustic charm.
  • Split Rail. Another rustic choice, the simple split-rail fence was a favorite among North American pioneers. Essentially a collection of split logs stacked zigzag for stability, split rail fences are easy to construct and a good choice for rocky, impenetrable ground.
  • Wrought Iron. An ornamental fence made from tube steel, the wrought iron fence is durable and often features elegant craftsmanship. A landscape contractor can suggest a design that complements your yard.

Green Fences

With the shortage of renewable resources, many homeowners opt for an eco-friendly fence. A landscape fence contractor may be your best resource for exploring options, since many green fences incorporate living plants.

  • Bamboo. Bamboo is "the fastest growing plant on Earth," according to one fence contractor. The fact that bamboo grows like a weed makes it an extremely renewable resource, and as such, a very green choice for your property.
  • Salvaged Wood. Pick up salvaged building material at a local reuse facility and construct your own ranch or panel style fence.  

The trend toward green building has challenged landscape and fence contractors to find new fence solutions. More avant garde options include plastic lumber made from recycled bottles, yard trimmings bound together, and a cob wall. Whether you lean toward the classic or the experimental, a contractor can help you find an option that balances style, function, and resources.


Apartment Therapy, Green Fence

BobVila.com, Fence Types,



About the Author

Clare Kaufman works as a writer and editor for an online media company. She has completed a graduate degree in English.