Fence Basics

Choosing Your Design

Which Fence Design Is Right For You?

Choosing the right fence design

Now that you know what fence designs are available, you need to decide which is the best for your home. For most people, it comes down to function, aesthetics, budget and maintenance. For example, if privacy is your main concern, a picket fence just won't do. To break it down, here are the best options for these main factors.


If you want to add a new fence to maintain privacy, you will need it to block the view to your home. This means it needs to be higher than most people's vision, plus have impenetrable panels. The best fences for privacy include:

  • Privacy or Stockade. Wood or vinyl fence boards are great for privacy fencing. These can be built to the height that you need to maintain privacy, within the codes for fence heights in your city or county.
  • Board and Batten or Board on Board. Similar to the privacy or stockade fence, the board and batten and board on board designs make excellent fences for privacy. They are even more private, with no gaps at all between the boards.
  • Privacy straps. Although a chain link fence does not offer much privacy, it can when paired with privacy straps. These straps are weaved through the chain mesh to create a more solid barrier.


If you are adding a fence for purely aesthetic value, you most likely are not interested in adding a chain link fence. For beauty, some great fence options include:

  • Picket; a classic
  • Split rails; gives a rustic look
  • Wrought iron; stately


When it comes to adding a new fence, budget can often be the deciding factor. By far, chain link tends to be the cheapest in both materials and labor costs. Wood or picket fences would be the next best choice for those concerned with cost. With wood, however, it is important to factor in the cost of ongoing maintenance if that will be required. Ornamental iron is the most expensive, usually not the best choices for those trying to stay within a smaller budget.


If you chose your home for its low-maintenance exterior, adding a fence that would require painting or staining every few years could be self-defeating. With plenty of prefinished and low-maintenance fencing available, there’s no need to add to your annual upkeep chores, if you prefer not to.

Give each of these four areas consideration and you should be able to eliminate several options and narrow down the choice to the fencing that best fits your needs and priorities.

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