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Gothic Picket Fences
Landscaping Photos: Materials, Style, Plantings for Fencing
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 my examples will reveal, many different options in materials and styles are available. Which one is right for you? My companion article will help you make the best choice from among this dazzling array of fencing options.
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 a number of styles, determined by a variety of criteria. I discuss just one set of criteria in this collection of fence pictures: namely, 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. In the next fence picture, you'll see a different style of picket fence.Continue to 2 of 41 below.
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French Gothic Picket Fences
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. In the next fence picture, you'll see another style of picket fence.Continue to 3 of 41 below.
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Modified French Gothic Picket Fences
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. In the next fence picture, you'll see another style of picket fence.Continue to 4 of 41 below.
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Flat-Top Picket Fences
The plainest of picket fence board styles is the flat top.
The picket fence in this landscaping photo does, at least, have one feature to offer some visual interest: namely, it is scalloped. "Scalloping" means the tops of the boards along a fence form a gentle arc. The scalloping can be either concave (that is, dipping down in the middle), as here, or convex. In the next fence picture, you'll see one final style of picket fence.Continue to 5 of 41 below.
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Corner Fences With Dog-Ear Pickets
The dog-ear style of pickets, as seen in this fence picture, 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, that 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. In the next fence picture, you'll see a corner fence used in a different manner.Continue to 6 of 41 below.
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Corner Fencing Joined to a Post-and-Rail Fence
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.
In the next fence picture, we'll move on to a different fencing style.Continue to 7 of 41 below.
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Plain Baluster-Style Fencing
At a quick 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 x 2 inches deep. Although some folks nonetheless refer to them as "pickets," I prefer to term them, "balusters," in order to draw a distinction. In the example shown in this fence picture, the balusters are essentially squared pegs that come to a point -- that is, they are very plain. In the next landscaping photo, you'll see an example of a different type of baluster.Continue to 8 of 41 below.
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Ornate Baluster Fences
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, or perhaps on classy porch railings or deck railings. The gateway is covered with roofing and sided with lattice. In the next landscaping photo, we go back to the simpler style of baluster....Continue to 9 of 41 below.
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Baluster Fences With Top Rails
I snapped this photo of a baluster fence in a very old New England neighborhood.
So far in my travels, it is only in such neighborhoods that I have encountered this fence style, in which wooden balusters are capped off by a top railing. In the next fence picture, you'll see balusters again, but both the material and the style will be different.Continue to 10 of 41 below.
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Canterbury-Style Vinyl Fences
An example of a PVC vinyl fence is shown in this fence picture.
Vinyl Fences are a popular alternative to wooden fencing because they are low-maintenance. Vinyl fences come in many styles; in the fence picture above, the Canterbury style is used. I see Canterbury vinyl fences as essentially a two-tiered style, consisting of a top tier of balusters with normal spacing and a lower tier spaced more tightly.
In the next landscaping photo, you'll see a different example of a baluster fence.Continue to 11 of 41 below.
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Fence of Varying Board Heights
Here's another fence picture I snapped in an old New England neighborhood.
This fence picture shows another baluster-style fence. But here, the balusters are of varying heights, presenting a more interesting look.
In the next landscaping photo, you'll be introduced to an entirely different type of fence.Continue to 12 of 41 below.
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In the prior fence pictures, I have focused on the most prominent components of 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 (that is, the 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.
In the next fence picture, you'll see a specific type of post-and-rail fence.Continue to 13 of 41 below.
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Split-rail fences can be considered a subset of the post-and-rail style.
While post-and-rail fences such as that shown in the prior fence picture 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.
In the next three images, you'll see some very different kinds of post-and-rail fences.Continue to 14 of 41 below.
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Log Fences With Stone Posts
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. In the next landscaping photo, you'll see a different treatment of this concept.Continue to 15 of 41 below.
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Split-Rail Fences With Stone Posts
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. I think that gives this rustic fence a much nicer overall appearance than the one in the prior fence picture.
In the next fence picture, you'll see yet another variant on the post-and-rail style.Continue to 16 of 41 below.
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Variation on Post-and-Rail Style
In the prior two fence pictures, the variation on the post-and-rail style came from the material for the posts.
In this fence picture, the variation comes from the material for the fence rails, which are made of metal.
In the next landscaping photo, you'll see one more example of a post-and-rail fence.Continue to 17 of 41 below.
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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.
The next landscaping photo begins a series of fence pictures showing privacy fences.Continue to 18 of 41 below.
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Picture of a Privacy Fence
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.
The next fence picture shows a slightly different treatment of the privacy fence.Continue to 19 of 41 below.
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Privacy Fences on Slopes
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.
In the next two fence pictures, you'll see privacy fences with a bit more flair.Continue to 20 of 41 below.
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More Ornate Privacy Fences
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.
In the next fence picture, you'll see another way in which privacy fences can be made more decorative.Continue to 21 of 41 below.
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Scalloped Privacy Fences
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 so as to form a gentle arc, which may be either concave or convex. This privacy fence displays a concave form.
Privacy fences come in a variety of styles, and the next fence picture illustrates a classic style of privacy fencing that is sort of a cross between picket fences and the privacy fences you've just seen.Continue to 22 of 41 below.
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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.
In the next three landscaping photos, you'll see examples of a style of privacy fencing that is not quite so private.Continue to 23 of 41 below.
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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.
In this next two fence pictures, you'll see a different lattice pattern.Continue to 24 of 41 below.
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I see far more lattice fences with diamond-shaped openings, as in the prior fence picture.
But lattice slats can also be laid vertically and horizontally, so as to form openings that are square-shaped, as seen in the fence picture above. By the way, even though the image here was snapped at the beach, this landscape could stand to be jazzed up with some beach-themed decor.
In the next landscaping photo, you'll see the same treatment, but with larger openings.Continue to 25 of 41 below.
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Semi-Privacy Lattice Fences
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.
In the next landscaping photo, we move away from privacy concerns altogether and back to fencing that is highly decorative in nature.Continue to 26 of 41 below.
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Wrought Iron Fences
Wrought iron fences, such as the example in this landscaping photo, are one of the more elegant types of fences.
Wrought iron fences are 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 we associate with formal landscape design).
In the next fence picture, you'll see another example of a metal fence, but a metal fence that evokes associations far different from those evoked by wrought iron fences.Continue to 27 of 41 below.
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Fences are sometimes installed with a theme in mind, a theme that brings to mind a place or a way of life.
For instance, some homeowners strive for a Wild Western 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!
We've covered a number of fence types up to this point. In the succeeding landscaping photos, let's focus on examples of how fences are used in landscape design.Continue to 28 of 41 below.
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Gates With Symmetry
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, as well, on either side of the gate entrance.
In the next landscaping photo, you'll see an example of how a short fence or screen can serve a purely aesthetic purpose.Continue to 29 of 41 below.
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Decorative Wood Fencing
This short length of wood fence plunked in the middle of a front yard obviously 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 a 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 yard that offers little else in the way of visual interest. The yard in this landscaping photo would look barren without it.
In the next fence picture, you'll see another fence that works nicely with the landscape design around.Continue to 30 of 41 below.
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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!
Speaking of plants, the next few landscaping photos will show examples of fences and plants working well together.Continue to 31 of 41 below.
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Plantings in Back of Fences
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.
In the next fence picture, you'll see an example of a fence with foreground plantings.Continue to 32 of 41 below.
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Planting in Front of a Horse Fence
In the prior fence picture, we saw how tall plants placed in the back of a fence can provide an effective backdrop.
In the example shown in this fence picture, it is the fence, instead, 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. For similar ideas, see my article on fence line landscaping.
The next fence picture shows how fences and plants can be brought together in creative fence planters.Continue to 33 of 41 below.
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Creative Fence Planters
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.
So far, you've seen instances of plants growing in the back of a fence, in front of a fence, and within a fence. But plants can also be placed so as to grow through fences, as you'll see in the next fence picture.Continue to 34 of 41 below.
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Fences With Forsythia
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.
In the next landscaping photo, the same treatment is explored, but with a different type of fence and a different type of plant.Continue to 35 of 41 below.
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Rose Garden Fences
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.
In the next fence picture, you'll see another example of how rose bushes can work well with a fence.Continue to 36 of 41 below.
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Hiding Chain-Link Fences With Roses
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.
In the next landscaping photo, the fencing, rather than being obscured by plants, divides the yard into planted "rooms."Continue to 37 of 41 below.
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Fences as Walls for Outdoor Rooms
When we hear "fence," our 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, as has been done in the yard shown in this landscaping photo. In a large yard, such divisions can serve to break up a vast expanse into smaller, more interesting groups of plantings, as well.
In the next fence picture, you'll see a very different example of the plant world working together with fencing in a landscape design.Continue to 38 of 41 below.
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Hedges and Fences Together
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.
In the next two fence pictures, you'll see how even different types of fences are sometimes used together.Continue to 39 of 41 below.
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Masonry Walls and Picket Fences
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, in order to define it.
In the next fence picture, two different types of fencing again work together, but on the vertical, rather than on the horizontal plane.Continue to 40 of 41 below.
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Wooden Fences on Stone Walls
In the prior landscaping photo, two different types of fencing were used to span a property border.
In the fence picture shown above, two different types of fences again work together. But this time, one fence rests on top of the other. I think this combination of fences 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.Continue to 41 of 41 below.
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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.