How To Design And Decorate Your Own Wooden Fence

Designing and decorating a wood fence is an easy way to enhance your home's curb appeal and add to your home's value. Do it yourself with these tips and instructions.

The first thing a guest or passersby notices when coming to your home is how it looks from the outside. Realtors often rate a home based on its "curb appeal" or impression it makes when a person sees it for the first time. Are the people who live here happy? Are they creative? The type of fencing you choose can enhance curb appeal and tell others a lot about you.

Wooden fencing is perennially popular because it is relatively inexpensive and offers you a great deal of flexibility. When designing your fence, the first thing you need to think about is what function the fence is going to perform for you. A purely decorative fence doesn't need to be as sturdy as a fence that needs to corral energetic dogs and children. Perhaps privacy is important too. Many homeowners place inviting picket-style fencing in front of their homes and erect stockade-style privacy fencing in the back. This keeps their homes appearing warm and inviting from the front and still affords some privacy from neighbors and unwanted intruders. Try to design your fence so neighbors will not have to endure the "ugly" side of your fence as their primary view of your property. Horse or rail fencing is relatively inexpensive to erect, but since it is comprised of two parallel pieces of wood about 2 feet apart and anchored every 6-8 feet, it isn't practical for keeping animals or children contained. Most homeowners use this style of fencing to anchor landscaping or to define a section of yard.

Once you have decided what style of fence you would like, think about the best height for you. Picket fences are often 3 or 4 feet high. Stockade fences are often five or six feet high. If you need your fence to be higher to conceal a shed or motor home, you may need to obtain a permit to construct a fence higher than six feet. Check with your city or county to determine if you are considering a fence that tall. Even if you are not building a very tall fence, it is a good idea to check your property line with the county to avoid building your fence on your neighbor's property.



There are all kinds of fence toppers to personalize your wooden fence. A straight stockade fence can be less fortress-like when topped with a foot or two of lattice. Picket fences can have straight-topped (or square) pickets, pickets that form a point or curved tops that swoop into a point. The fence posts that anchor each section of fencing can also enhance the design of your fence. You may consider pointed pickets for the fencing and a square top fence post - or just the opposite.

In addition to selecting the design of the top of your fence, you can also decide if you would like your fence to be straight across in a traditional style, or if you would like your fence to gently curve upward or downward. Fences that curve upward are often referred to as "sunrise" styles, while fences that curve downward are often referred to as "sunset" styles. Regardless of the style you choose, remember to purchase pressure treated wood. This minimizes the amount of damage caused by insects and inclement weather and ensures your fence stands tall as long as possible.

If you feel the cost of pressure treated wood is too expensive, consider buying your fence unfinished. You can often save as much as 30% of the cost of your fence if you are willing to prime and paint it yourself. In addition, you may want to consider hiring a professional to set the fence posts in concrete to ensure the fence is anchored properly. You may then install the fencing yourself by simply drilling the fence sections onto the fence posts once they are set. This can significantly reduce the costs of installing your new fence without sacrificing a professional finish.

There are all sorts of embellishments available to decorate your fence once you have designed it. Those flat top fence posts are a great place to rest birdhouses, one-of-a-kind small sculptures, or even lighting fixtures. You will most likely need a gate, and you can paint it a different color or make it a slightly different style than the rest of your fence. Gateways are also excellent locations to add an arbor. Climbing vines look stunning on an arbor - and if you have a green thumb, you may want to plant vines to adorn your fence, too.

While it may seem daunting to make a stockade-style privacy fence seem cozy, there are all sorts of things you can do to make them more appealing. You can install plant hangers to hold potted plants on the fence every few feet. You can plant ivy to climb the fence and soften its hard lines. If you are particularly creative, you can even paint a mural.

Regardless of the style of wood fence you design, there are many ways to decorate it to reflect your personality and to enhance your home's curb appeal.

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