Written by Kerrie Kelly, ASID
Whether your outdoor space is a multi-acre ranch or an intimate urban patio, a wooden fence can help you reign in your space and gain privacy. In addition, fences are ideal for keeping the pets and children contained, and they provide a visual key for the property line. They are also fantastic for adding a touch of design detailing: Whether stained, painted or untreated, wood fences are a versatile and economical choice to spruce up your outdoor space. Here are some simple tips when choosing a wooden fence for your property.
Determine Your Main Fencing Requirements
What are you looking to get out of a new wooden fence? Do you need to keep the dogs corralled in the yard? Are you looking to keep deer out of the garden? Are you looking for a simple divider for your property line? First determine the function you need from your fence and then decide which style is best suited for your space.
Settle on Style
Once you’ve determined the functions your fence will need to provide, you can then decide what style of fence is best for you. If you’re looking to keep the kids and dogs secured, a tall fence void of large gaps is ideal for keeping little escape artists safely contained. If you’re looking for a simple perimeter fence around your front yard, a classic white picket fence or a decorative thigh-high fence could be the perfect fit. Maybe you’re looking to block a street view and provide a sound barrier between outdoor living space and the street—a privacy fence that allows some light in and is flanked by sound-proofing foliage may be the perfect solution.
Install the Fence
It all comes down to budget and scope of the project to determine how to build the fence. If you’re up for the task, constructing the fence yourself is doable with a bit of time and elbow grease. Either construct it from the ground up, or consider prefabricated fences for a faster approach.
If your project involves a lot of land or is a bit more complicated, it’s always best to consult the pros for fence installation to make sure your fence is secure and that no utilities will be harmed in the making of your fence. Most home improvement stores and fence suppliers offer installation services. This usually involves an in-home consultation that will help you determine a layout for your fencing and give you an estimate on the project.
If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowners’ association or fence-sharing neighbors, it’s essential to converse with them to make sure your project is within guidelines.
Mind the Details
One of the best parts of installing a wood fence is picking out the details that will make your fence all your own. Whether it’s a traditional white picket fence or a rustic log fence for your ranch-style haven, the possibilities are endless when it comes to building a fence. For a decorative accent, top off your fence with a trellis or go for a decorative railing across the top. Decorative post tops add dimension to lower fencing, while switching it up and going horizontal adds a contemporary flair in even the smallest of outdoor areas.
To top off your wood fence details, determine whether you want your fence painted, stained, or untreated. Keep in mind that painted fences usually require a new coat of paint every two to three years, while stained fences need to be re-stained about every five years. Untreated wood typically turns gray after a year, so consider treating it to extend the life of your fence.
Kerrie Kelly heads up her California interior design firm Kerrie Kelly Design Lab. Kerrie is a design expert, and she writes online for The Home Depot on an array of decor topics inside and outside the home. For more information about fencing installation services and fencing materials, you can visit the Home Depot website.