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 fence also makes a strong aesthetic statement, improving a home’s curb appeal.
Going back 400 years, the favorite residential fencing choice in this country has always been wood fences. In 2007 alone, Americans put up 59, 000 miles of it, enough to circle the globe twice, and then some. Why wood? It’s inexpensive and lightweight, to be sure, but so is chain link. The main reason is that a wood fence can easily be shaped to give properties character and individuality. You can choose from dozens of styles, including linear post-and-rail and crisscrossing lattice, as well as myriad picket patterns and post-cap designs. And you can stain the wood to make it pop out or recede from the landscape as either a vibrant or subtle frame for what’s behind it.
Composite fencing (made from engineered wood) comes in a bewildering number of variations. Due to manufactured textures and colors, fences of this type convincingly simulate the look of wood.
Wood fencing can be crafted in so many ways and painted or stained any number of colors. Likely to last many years, a wood fence costs significantly less than vinyl or composite, at least initially, but its maintenance is more demanding.
Wood Fencing Ideas: What Species Is Right for You?
The species of tree your fence wood comes from will not only play a role in how your property looks, but will also have a big role in determining how well your fence holds up to the elements. While pine is probably the most common type of wood fencing, options like redwood, cedar, and spruce are also very popular.
Redwood fences can be expensive in higher grades, but it makes an outstanding fence material. If this type of wood is not available in your area, it usually can be special ordered. Untreated spruce picket fences and cross rails are most commonly used in prefabricated 4×8- or 8×6-foot picket and stockade-fence sections that you find at your local hardware store. Cedar wood contains an oil that makes it naturally resistant to rot and insects; this is why it can be found not just in fencing, but in many other outdoor settings, too