Fence Pictures

Cottage gothic picket fence
Steve Fleming / Getty Images

These fence pictures illustrate some of the different types of fences for homeowners consider. Included in this photo gallery are images displaying plantings around fencing. As these examples will reveal, many different options in materials and styles are available. Which one is right for you?

Picket fences, widely associated with English cottage gardens, bring a homey feeling to a landscape that few other fences can match.

But in this landscaping photo, the homey feeling is due to more than just the choice in fences. The pachysandra, shrubs, vines, and trees all give the yard a welcoming feel.

Picket fences come in several styles, determined by a variety of criteria. In this collection of fence pictures, notice the shape of the board at the top of each picket. The style of the picket fence in this photo is the Gothic, coming to a simple point.

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    French Gothic Picket Fences

    French Gothic Picket Fence
    Scott Barrow / Getty Images

    The French Gothic style is a variation on the Gothic style (pictured in the prior landscaping photo).

    Rather than coming to a simple point, the board in a French Gothic-style picket fence comes to what might be termed an "arrowhead" shape.

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    Modified French Gothic Picket Fences

    The rounded tip makes the difference. A modified French gothic picket fence.
    David Beaulieu

    Unlike the fence in the prior landscaping photo, the boards of this picket fence do not end in an arrowhead shape. Their tips are more rounded, instead.

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    Flat-Top Picket Fences

    Picture of picket fence sporting the "flat-top" board style.
    David Beaulieu

    The plainest of picket fence board styles is the flat top.

    The picket fence has one feature to offer some visual interest: it is scalloped. "Scalloping" means the tops of the boards along a fence form a gentle arc. The scalloping can be either concave (dipping down in the middle), as shown here, or convex.

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    Corner Fences With Dog-Ear Pickets

    Photo of a corner fence used in isolation.
    David Beaulieu

    The dog-ear style of pickets is a variation on the flat-top picket-style shown in the prior landscaping photo.

    Just slightly more ornate than pickets in the flat-top style are "dog-ear" pickets. Dog-ear pickets derive their name from the image they evoke of a "dog-eared" page in a book, which is a page whose corner has been folded over to bookmark a particular spot in a book.

    Of course, this fence picture illustrates something else not encountered in the prior landscaping pictures. For this landscaping photo shows a stand-alone corner fence. Such corner fences are purely decorative since they form neither barrier nor border.

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    Corner Fencing Joined to a Post-and-Rail Fence

    Picture of corner picket fence used in conjunction with another fence.
    David Beaulieu

    As in the prior landscaping photo, this fence picture shows an example of corner fencing.

    But unlike in the prior landscaping photo, this corner fencing isn't stand-alone. Rather, it is used in conjunction with a post-and-rail fence.

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    Plain Baluster-Style Fencing

    Picture of picket fencing using the square board style.
    David Beaulieu

    At a glance, you might mistake this style of fencing for the picket style.

    But if you look closely, the "rungs" of this fencing do not consist of boards wider than they are thick, as is the case with picket fencing. Instead, they are 2 inches wide by 2 inches deep. Although some folks nonetheless refer to them as "pickets," others call them "balusters." In the example shown here, the balusters are essentially squared pegs that come to a point—that is, they are very plain.

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    Ornate Baluster Fences

    Picture of a baluster-style fence.
    David Beaulieu

    In the prior photo, you saw the plain balusters typical of baluster-style fences.

    In this fence picture, the balusters are more ornate—rather like what one would expect on an indoor stairway, classy porch railings, or deck railings. The gateway is covered with roofing and sided with lattice.

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    Baluster Fences With Top Rails

    Picture of a baluster fence with a top rail.
    David Beaulieu

    This fence is in a New England neighborhood and features wooden balusters capped off by a top railing.

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    Canterbury-Style Vinyl Fences

    Picture of a Canterbury-style vinyl fence.
    David Beaulieu

    This is an example of a PVC vinyl fence.

    Vinyl fences are a popular alternative to wooden fencing because they are low-maintenance. They come in many styles; in the fence picture above, the Canterbury style is used. They're essentially a two-tiered style, consisting of a top tier of balusters with normal spacing and a lower-tier spaced more tightly.

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    Fence of Varying Board Heights

    Photo of fence with varying board heights.
    David Beaulieu

    This fence picture in a New England neighborhood shows another baluster-style fence. But here, the balusters are of varying heights, presenting a more interesting look.

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    Post-and-Rail Fences

    Picture of a post and rail fence.
    David Beaulieu

    In the prior fence pictures, there's more focus on picket fences and baluster fences: namely, their boards (or "panels").

    But, of course, fences do have other components. Fence posts are prominent enough in one fence style to warrant inclusion in the very name of the style: "post-and-rail" fences.

    The post-and-rail fence style may be grouped under the more general heading of "ranch-style" or "horse" fences. Originally designed to contain livestock (especially horses), post-and-rail fences usually have 2–4 rails (horizontal components). True to their practical origins, ranch-style fences are less work to construct than the more decorative fences: they are sparer, lacking vertical boards that have to be nailed up.

    But despite their humble origins, post-and-rail fences are popular choices today in people's landscapes. They offer an airiness for homeowners who want a fence but don't want to be overwhelmed with the feeling of being "fenced in." Like picket-style fences and baluster-style fences, post-and-rail vinyl fences are supplanting their wooden counterparts in some neighborhoods.

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    Split-Rail Fencing

    Photo of split-rail fencing.
    David Beaulieu

    Split-rail fences can be considered a subset of the post-and-rail style.

    While post-and-rail fences use finished lumber, the "classic" style is the split-rail fence. Split-rail fencing has a rougher, more rustic appearance, as its name suggests (that is, logs "split" by hand to be used as rails). The tapered ends of split-rail fences fit into holes cut out of the posts.

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    Log Fences With Stone Posts

    Picture of log fence with stone columns.
    David Beaulieu

    This fence picture shows a post-and-rail fence in which the rails are logs and the posts are stone. The logs are secured within their masonry posts using mortar.

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    Split-Rail Fences With Stone Posts

    Photo of a split-rail fence with stone pillars.
    David Beaulieu

    In the prior fence picture, log rails were mortared into masonry posts to create a variation on the post-and-rail fence style.

    In the landscaping photo on this page, the concept is similar, but the execution—and results— are different. Here, the split-rail style is used. More importantly, there's no mortar showing where the rails meet the posts. Indeed, these masonry posts themselves betray not a bit of mortar anywhere.

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    Variation on Post-and-Rail Style

    Picture of a post-and-rail fence using a metal rail.
    David Beaulieu

    In the prior two fence pictures, the variation on the post-and-rail style came from the material for the posts. In this one, the variation comes from the material for the fence rails, which are made of metal.

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    Utility Fence

    This utility fence is nothing special to look at, but its sturdiness serves a purpose.
    David Beaulieu

    This utility fence is nothing special to look at, but its sturdiness serves a purpose.

    A coarser example of the post-and-rail style, this utility fence would be much more attractive (but harder to maintain) if painted white.

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    Picture of a Privacy Fence

    Picture of a privacy fence.
    David Beaulieu

    As their name suggests, privacy fences are designed to keep prying eyes out.

    This rather plain privacy fence accomplishes just that, interposing a tall, solid surface between the yard and the outside world.

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    Privacy Fences on Slopes

    Picture of a privacy fence on a slope.
    David Beaulieu

    As in the prior fence picture, this landscaping photo shows a privacy fence.

    But notice two things about this privacy fence. First of all, the vertical boards are capped by a top railing. Secondly, its builder had to take into account the grade it would rest on. Accordingly, the individual sections of this privacy fence are rather like "steps": their tops are not on the same plane.

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    More Ornate Privacy Fences

    Picture of a privacy fence with balusters.
    David Beaulieu

    Privacy fences don't have to be as plain-looking as the examples shown in the prior two landscaping photos.

    The top of the wooden privacy fence shown here is decorated with wooden balusters joined together by rails.

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    Scalloped Privacy Fences

    Picture of a scalloped fence.
    David Beaulieu

    Scalloping is another feature that can "dress up" privacy fences.

    As discussed earlier in the context of picket fences, the tops of fences are sometimes fashioned to form a gentle arc, which may be either concave or convex. This privacy fence displays a concave form.

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    Stockade Fences

    Photo of a stockade fence.
    David Beaulieu

    You've probably heard of rebellious soldiers being sent to the "stockade" where they are separated from the rest of the troops.

    Well, that sense of "separation" carries over to the style of fencing known as the "stockade" style. Stockade fences are privacy fences. Tall and solid, they keep prying eyes out of your yard. The tops of their boards come to points, making stockade fences' boards look like longer versions of those found in Gothic-style picket fencing.

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    Lattice Fences

    Lattice fence photo.
    David Beaulieu

    Lattice fences are easy to install but afford less privacy than the privacy fences featured in the prior landscaping photos.

    The slats in this lattice fence criss-cross each other diagonally, leaving diamond-shaped spaces. The spaces allow for some visual contact between the yard and the outside world, which is why lattice fences are considered to be only semi-privacy fences. The degree to which they offer any privacy at all varies, according to how large the spaces are in the lattice fence. The fence in this picture gives more privacy than some lattice styles do. For added privacy, grow a vine up your lattice, using it as if it were a trellis.

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    Square-Lattice Fences

    Photo of square lattice fencing.
    David Beaulieu

    Lattice slats can also be laid vertically and horizontally to form openings that are square-shaped, as seen in the fence picture above. Even though the image here was snapped at the beach, this landscape could stand to be jazzed up with some beach-themed decor.

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    Semi-Privacy Lattice Fences

    Picture of lattice fence with large openings.
    David Beaulieu

    As in the prior fence picture, this lattice fence displays square openings.

    But the openings are bigger, affording minimal privacy. This lattice fence, then, is clearly intended to be only a semi-privacy fence, if that. Its appearance is reminiscent of fencing in Japanese gardens.

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    Wrought Iron Fences

    Photo of a wrought iron fence.
    David Beaulieu

    Wrought iron fences are one of the more elegant types of fences. They're especially appropriate if you seek a formal landscape design. Note how well the wrought iron fence works with the brickwork all around it (bricks being another element associated with formal landscape design).

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    Ship's-Chain Fences

    Picture of a fence made with a ship's chain.
    David Beaulieu

    Fences are sometimes installed with a theme in mind, and this can bring to mind a place or a way of life.

    For instance, some homeowners strive for a wild west theme, a Mediterranean theme, a tropical theme, or an Oriental theme. In the fence picture above, the homeowners clearly enjoy a nautical or beach theme. You can practically smell the ocean as you view their creative ship's chain fence!

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    Gates With Symmetry

    Picture showing granite columns flanking a gate entrance.
    David Beaulieu

    Symmetry is important to these homeowners, and it shows—from the gate to the porch.

    You'll often see a fence gate flanked by shrubs, to call attention to it. In the example from this fence picture, there's that—and more! These folks have gone the extra yard and installed granite columns on either side of the gate entrance.

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    Decorative Wood Fencing

    Photo of wood fencing.
    David Beaulieu

    This short length of wood fence plunked in the middle of a front yard doesn't serve any of the practical purposes we associate with fencing.

    This ornate fence doesn't define or protect a border. Nor does it offer privacy. Rather, the example shown in this fence picture illustrates how a fence can be an aesthetic component of landscape design. Not only does the fence serve as a backdrop for a piece of yard art, but it also helps break up a vast expanse of the yard that offers little else in the way of visual interest. The yard would look barren without it.

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    Curving Fences

    In this picture, the curving fence is a perfect match for the circular courtyard.
    David Beaulieu

    This circular courtyard cries out for a curving fence.

    And the designer didn't disappoint. This plant-filled landscape design in Puerto Rico is a tribute to geometry!

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    Plantings in Back of Fences

    Picture of plantings in back of a fence.
    David Beaulieu

    We've already discussed the Canterbury-style vinyl fences, of which this fence picture shows an example.

    But note how nicely the background plantings work with this fence. Notice also the coppery post caps, which can greatly enhance the appearance of vinyl fencing.

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    Planting in Front of a Horse Fence

    This fence is certainly dressed up by the planting done in front of it.
    David Beaulieu

    In the prior fence picture, we saw how tall plants placed in the back of a fence can provide an effective backdrop.

    In this example, it is the fence that serves as the backdrop. The small space between the cobblestone edging and the white horse fence is enlivened with a planting of colorful marigolds. Plantings are a good way to dress up horse fences, which are rather plain-looking by nature, albeit charmingly rustic.

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    Creative Fence Planters

    Photo of fence planter built into the wall, itself.
    David Beaulieu

    When you hear "fence planters," you probably think of portable units that can be hung off a fence.

    But the fence planter for this white masonry wall, housing a carefully clipped tree, is part of the wall itself. An ornate wrought iron fence caps off the wall and lends it further charm.

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    Fences With Forsythia

    Picture of fence back-planted with forsythia.
    David Beaulieu

    This post-and-rail fence defines a property border, but it isn't alone.

    The forsythia shrubs form a border of their own, paralleling the post-and-rail fence and spilling over through its rails.

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    Rose Garden Fences

    The roses growing through this fence don't obscure it but do add interest.
    David Beaulieu

    In the prior fence picture, a forsythia border was used in conjunction with a wooden fence.

    In the landscaping photo above, it is rose bushes that are used in conjunction with a vinyl fence. The vinyl fence is rather plain in appearance, so having the roses spilling through its balusters enhances its appearance significantly.

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    Hiding Chain-Link Fences With Roses

    Picture of rose bushes grown so as to hide a chain-link fence.
    David Beaulieu

    The fences we've looked at so far, by and large, have been attractive enough to add something to the landscape.

    But there's one type of fencing that homeowners tend to want to hide: chain-link fences. In the fence picture shown above, you would barely even know that there was a fence, except perhaps for the presence of the fence post. If you look quickly, all you see is a hedge of rose bushes. But there is, indeed, a chain-link fence here, conveniently obscured by the mass of pink roses.

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    Fences as Walls for Outdoor Rooms

    Landscape fence photo.
    David Beaulieu

    When people hear "fence," their first thought may be of a structure installed on a border, whether to keep something in (or out) or for purposes of definition.

    However, fencing can also be used to create divisions in a yard. In this context, think of fences as serving a function similar to that of the walls inside a house, dividing one room from another. Having separate outdoor living spaces allows you to create mini-landscape designs. In a large yard, such divisions can serve to break up a vast expanse into smaller, more interesting groups of plantings, as well.

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    Hedges and Fences Together

    Picture of privet hedge and privacy fencing.
    David Beaulieu

    Some people make the mistake of thinking that, to define property borders, an either/or decision must be made: either hedges or fences.

    But in fact, hedges and fences can work together to define borders, as illustrated in this fence picture showing a privet hedge with a privacy fence.

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    Masonry Walls and Picket Fences

    Photo of masonry fence and picket fence joined.
    David Beaulieu

    In this fence picture, we see that, for whatever reason, two types of fencing were used.

    Working together, a masonry wall and a picket fence stretch horizontally along this property border, to define it.

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    Wooden Fences on Stone Walls

    Picture of a wooden fence perched on a stone wall.
    David Beaulieu

    In the prior landscaping photo, two different types of fencing were used to span a property border.

    In this fence picture, two different types of fences again work together. But this time, one fence rests on top of the other. It presents an especially sturdy image: raised up to eye-level, the privacy fence takes on a "chunkier" look than it would have if it rested on the ground.

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    Pool Fences

    Picture of a pool fence.
    Lawrence Winterburn

    Why are these people hanging around in front of this pool fence?

    Well, they're pool inspectors! Because of the safety issues revolving around landscaping for swimming pools, pool fences have to live up to higher safety standards. This lattice-style (or "open construction") pool fence provides not only safety but a touch of elegance. It doesn't furnish much privacy, however.