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Choosing the Right Fence for Your Property

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

Whether you live in a tight neighborhood or out on plenty of your own acreage, fencing is a great way to define your property in terms of style and simply outlining what’s yours. Choosing the right fence can pull together your curb appeal and offer practical benefits like blocking the view into your yard and keeping children and pets from wandering off. If your home could use a fence, here are the major types to consider!

Ply Gem Solid Privacy Fence

This Solid Privacy Fence in white with gothic post caps is a great choice to prevent passersby from looking in. It also provides a bit of style to match an established neighborhood.

Privacy Fencing

Most homeowners in tight neighborhoods opt for privacy fencing. Typically 6’ high and without any space between the pieces, a privacy fence prevents people from looking over or through, creating a more private yard to enjoy. This type of fence can also provide an effective enclosure that keeps young children and pets safely contained. If you want a functional suburban solution for outdoor living, look no further! However, you should keep in mind that privacy fencing is almost always used for backyards—it wouldn’t make much sense to block out the view of the façade with a solid barrier, and many places actually ban front yard use as a matter of code.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of style options if you don’t want a plain privacy fence. They fall into two main categories—those with decorative elements in the top section and those that have spaces between the vertical pieces. When it comes to the top sections, you’ll find the iconic picket fence look represented alongside other unique shapes and accents that add some flair. If you’d prefer having slight spaces to let the breeze and glimpses of the outside through, semi-privacy fencing has small gaps between the slats, and shadow box fencing has an overlapping pattern that provides dimension with gaps you can only see through on an angle. Privacy fencing might sound purely utilitarian at first, but as you can see, there are plenty of ways to tailor the look to your tastes.

Ply Gem Closed Picket Fence

It’s not the image most people think of automatically, but this is a picket fence! The Closed Picket Fence features a top rail, but it has the same lower height and spaced pickets as other varieties.

Picket Fencing

The vertical members of most fences—excluding structural posts, of course—are called pickets, but that doesn’t mean all fences with pickets are picket fences. For example, privacy fences are made up of large pickets packed closely together. The picket fence is something else entirely; it’s lower in height at 3’ to 5’ tall, and it has wide gaps between the pickets that provide clear views through the fence. Picket fencing is primarily decorative—although it can contain smaller dogs, depending on the style—and you’ll often see it along the street-facing edges of a property. The iconic white picket fence has come to represent the suburban middle class and the American Dream, but it also contributes to curb appeal in rural and urban locales alike.

As you might expect of a decorative element, picket fencing comes in a wide range of styles to suit different homes. In most cases, the pickets extend beyond the top rail, but there are also closed styles where the top rail caps off the pickets. You’ll also find that the top edge can be straight or scalloped, and that the width of the pickets and the spaces between them can vary quite a bit. Picket fences have a reputation for looking neat and dainty, but they’re diverse enough to complement practically any type of traditional home.

Ply Gem Standard 3 Ranch Rail

Standard 3 Ranch Rail fencing clearly defines private property from the road. With light and dark solid colors as well as various wood tones, you can choose the right vibe for your home and land.

Ranch Fencing

If you have a lot of land to enclose, ranch fencing is the way to go. This picket-free option is made up of posts and rails to give you more perimeter-enclosing bang for your buck. On the flip side, it offers very little in the way of visual privacy and containment for the average homeowner, because the spaces between the rails are large enough for people and dogs of all sizes to duck through. That’s why ranch rail fencing is sometimes used as a decorative choice around suburban neighborhoods to define property lines, but it’s primarily used around paddocks and larger swaths of land to contain livestock.

You’ll even find style variety in this category. Ranch rail fencing usually has two to four rails and comes in various heights. Flat board rails are considered standard, but diamond-shaped rails are also available. Most fences have horizontal rails, but the crossbuck pattern delivers a little extra interest. Ranch-style fencing has a long history on farms, but it also has a lot to offer residential properties, especially if you want to achieve a pastoral aesthetic.

Check out Ply Gem for your fencing needs! They offer all major types in a variety of styles, so you can get the perfect look for your design vision whether you have privacy, picket, or ranch rail fencing in mind. Ply Gem fencing is made in the USA with durable, low-maintenance vinyl that’s resistant to water, sunlight, and insects. It’s also available in a variety of colors, and the color is consistent throughout the product, so you don’t have to worry about chipping. Finally, no matter the style you choose, it comes with a lifetime transferable warranty! Connect with a local professional to start discussing the possibilities for your home!