Types of Garden Fence

Closed Fencing

Closed fencing provides a physical and visual barrier, and tends to be more expensive than open fencing. When erecting a closed fence, ensure that you keep the posts and arris rails (the cross timbers on to which the boards are nailed) on your side, leaving the flush side for your neighbour. You can stretch wires between the posts for climbing plants.

Interwoven Panels

Interwoven (or basket-weave) panels are one of the most popular types of fencing, usually sold as prefabricated panels measuring 1.8 m (6 ft) wide and up to 1.8 m (6 ft) in height. The thin, interwoven slats of larch or pine are fixed onto a light, softwood frame, providing good privacy. However, these fences are not very strong.


Closeboard fencing makes a more durable fence than interwoven panels but is correspondingly more expensive. It consists of overlapping, vertical, feather-edged boards, usually of softwood, nailed to a pair of horizontal arris rails. Posts are usually 2 m (6 1/2 ft) high and set 1.8 m (6 ft) apart. Closeboard is one of the strongest forms of fencing, offering good security and privacy.

Slatted Fences

These are boards of variable width, fixed to arris rails in the same way as close board but without overlapping and without being feather-edged.

Wanes-Edged Fencing

This style is made of overlapping, horizontal planks, and is one of the most commonly used forms of panel fencing. It provides adequate levels of security.


Shingle fences consist of overlapping cedar shingles, or wooden tiles, that are nailed to a timber framework to produce a strong, solid fence. They offer good privacy and security.

Ranch Fencing

Ranch-style fencing uses thin, planed planks attached (with quite wide gaps) horizontally to stout posts. The timber is either painted or simply treated with preservative. There are also plastic versions of this style available, which requires less maintenance; however, neither type is secure.

Wattle Hurdles

These are panels of interwoven hazel stems and osiers (willow shoots), and can be made in situ or bought as ready-made panels. They are held in place by stout stakes and are particularly useful as a temporary screen to protect young plants or when a new hedge is becoming established in a garden. They offer interim privacy as well as good protection against both small and large animals. Hurdles have a relatively short life of about eight to ten years, and can be troublesome to maintain and repair.

Concrete Fencing

Concrete fences are available in panel or sectional form, slotted into concrete posts. Although they can be unattractive, they do have a long life. They offer the permanence and security of a masonry wall and require much less maintenance than a timber fence.

Interference Fencing

Interference fencing has horizontal boards fixed on both sides of its posts, the planks on one side facing the gaps on the other. It makes a better windbreak than a solid fence, and it provides adequate, if not total, privacy.

Picket Fences

Picket fences provide a solution partway between closed and open fences allowing a partial view through, and being low enough to look over. They are traditionally constructed using vertical wooden 'pales' spaced about 5 cm (2 in) apart (and often with pointed tops), fixed to horizontal rails. They are often more decorative than functional and can be painted to tie in with planting schemes or to match the house. Plastic picket fences are available that require far less maintenance than traditional wooden ones.

Open Fences

Open fences provide a physical rather than a visual barrier.

Post and Rail

Post and rail fences consist of two or more horizontal poles or rough sawn timber rails fixed between adjacent posts. Sheep netting can be fitted from the bottom rail down to ground level to keep stock out and children and dogs in.

Single Rail

This style of fence has a number of uses, such as a rail for a pathway, to a simple delineation around an open-plan front garden. In an urban situation a square rail can be mortised into the posts, whereas a more rural setting might use a half-round rail nailed into or on top of round posts.

Post and Chain

Elegant post and chain fences are used to mark boundaries where more substantial fences are not allowed, and are effective in places such as the drives of country houses or outside smart town homes. The posts are usually 100 mm (4 in) square, with wrought iron or plastic chain draped in between. The posts can be made of wood, concrete, plastic, stone or iron.

Cleft Chestnut Paling

This consists of split vertical stakes about 7.5 cm (3 in) apart, linked by strands of galvanized wire. It is usually used as a temporary fence, often to protect trees, or as temporary fencing on building sites. This style of fencing is cheap, easy to erect and unobtrusive.

Chain Link

Chain link consists of a wire mesh, which is usually attached to concrete, timber or iron posts. The galvanized wire mesh lasts for ten years, whereas plastic-coated wire mesh will survive even longer. If brown or black mesh is chosen, and the fence is sited within or against a planted area, it can become almost invisible. It is a good choice where an animal-proof boundary is required.


Lattice fences are made from rustic wood sawn or timber, and resemble large partitions of diamond shaped trellis. They are useful for an informal boundary marker, but offer little privacy.

Welded Wire

This fencing consists of an open, wire mesh stapled to wooden posts and rails. It is usually used as a barrier to against animals where appearance is unimportant.


Railings are available in all forms, from imposing to mundane. Iron railings need regular painting, and old ones can often benefit from stripping, when a wealth of fine detail often comes to light. Black is almost invariably the best colour.