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Spruce Up Your Yard with a Horizontal Fence

09/27/2018
Spruce Up Your Yard with a Horizontal Fence

Horizontal fences have been around forever (ex. prairie fences) but have recently surged in popularity. With a smart layout and thoughtful materials, a horizontal fence can turn a ho-hum yard into an outdoor show-stopper. Sometimes called “good neighbor fences” because they look good from both sides of the fence, the uninterrupted lines of a horizontal fence draw the eye into the distance, instantly making outdoor areas appear more spacious. In short, horizontal fences are a great way to elevate the look of your yard.

If you’re considering installing a horizontal fence, here’s what you should know before you get started.

The cut sets the scene

The material you choose for your fence goes a long way toward dictating its style and the finished look.

Your options are divided into two general categories: rough lumber and smooth lumber.

Rough lumber – As the name suggests, rough lumber is coarse, unfinished wood that can give your fence a sturdy, rustic look. It’s gritty, rough, and might have saw marks still engraved in the board. Rough sawn lumber is usually fairly thick, ranging from ¾ of an inch to a full inch. Thick planks like this create a strong fence, but the fence itself will be heavy. If you opt for rough lumber, make sure your framing is secure enough to support it.

Surface/smooth lumber – Smooth lumber planks are thinner, more “perfect” planks that have been sanded to a silkier texture. Surface lumber is usually only about a ½ inch thick, so it’s a lighter, more finished-looking material for your fence. Often the edges of smooth lumber are beveled slightly, giving each plank a delicate look.

Fencing materials to match your style.

Choose the right wood

Since many kinds of wood work well for horizontal fencing, it will be up to you to decide what’s best for you, based on price and look. Hardwoods like Ipe and Mangaris are gorgeous when applied horizontally because the natural grain that runs the length of the planks creates a high-end look. Softwoods like pine, Douglas fir, redwood, and cedar are also great fencing choices. Though they don’t hold up as long as the hardwoods, they’re substantially less expensive. Another cost-effective, durable option is to use vinyl fencing, which is particularly popular in ranch rail designs.

Avoid pressure-treated wood, which is intended for understructure and won’t look good. Never use composite decking either, as it’s too heavy for fencing.

Read More: 2020 trends and inspiration tips for anyone looking to update their horizontal fence.

A design for everyone

Horizontal fencing is incredibly versatile, with designs that are limited only by your imagination.

Here are a few fencing design suggestions to get you thinking about the type of horizontal fence that would look best with your yard:

  • Stagger plank seams to create a “brick-like” alignment
  • Alternatively, align your seams for a crisp, modern look
  • Use planks of varying width (ex.2-inch, 4-inch, 6-inch) to create visual interest
  • Use exposed dark metal posts for a rustic-modern look
  • Add 1/2 inch of distance between planks for an “open” look that permits a breeze
  • Or, choose tongue-and-groove planking for maximum privacy with no gaps

There are also lots of easy-to-customize horizontal fencing options that look great and feature straightforward installation. For example, FLEX-Fence louver systems can be adjusted to permit varying amounts of light and breeze throughout the day. You purchase the wood and stain that matches your aesthetic and use the FLEX-Fence hardware kit to assemble your fence. This option is perfect for gate doors and sections of the fence where you want to be able to control visibility.

5 designs to modernize your fence.

One of the greatest advantages of horizontal fencing is the amount of variation available to match your own aesthetic and budget. Bring inspiration photos and measurements to the lumber yard and talk with the team about the materials and time required to turn your vision into a reality. From traditional to ultra-modern, there’s a horizontal fence option that can match every price point and make every yard look like a million bucks.

If you’re thinking of installing a horizontal fence, you don’t have to go it alone. We’re here to help. Visit your nearest J&W Lumber location to talk options.

 

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Victoria Benoit
Victoria Benoit
3 years ago

Shopping for fencing. Having the property line surveyed tomorrow.

Delta Fence & Construction
Delta Fence & Construction
3 years ago

Thanks for the information. sounds so great and helpful. Kudos!

Jim C
Jim C
3 years ago

if you select cedar for the fence, how difficult is the maintenance to keep it looking fresh?

David Smith
David Smith
3 years ago

I originally dug might post holes at just under 8’ apart for a standard vertical privacy fence. I’d like to switch my plan to 5/8×5.5×8’ rough cedar fencing installed horizontally w/a one inch gap. Will the fencing material sag that far between posts?

Derek McDoogle
Derek McDoogle
2 years ago

I like how you said that softwoods like pine, Douglas fir, redwood, and cedar are great fencing choices. My mom told me that she would like to add more privacy to her house because her backyard has no boundaries between her property and the neighbors. I will suggest to her to look for a fence contractor so that she can add a fence and that way she can gain privacy as well.

GIL
GIL
2 years ago

Such an informative post totally new to all of this. Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Bayer
Michelle Bayer
2 years ago
Reply to  GIL

Thanks Gil! We’re always happy to help!
Happy Building!

Kyler
Kyler
2 years ago

That’s beautiful! Thanks for the inspiration.

Michelle Bayer
Michelle Bayer
2 years ago
Reply to  Kyler

Thank you for reading!!!
Happy Building!

Elaine Mocnik
Elaine Mocnik
2 years ago

Would like information on a backyard deck privacy fence/wall. Thanks!

Michelle Bayer
Michelle Bayer
2 years ago
Reply to  Elaine Mocnik

Hi Elaine- Thank you for reading! I will email you today.

Carletta Tukes
Carletta Tukes
2 years ago

This is exactly the design I’m looking for! Unfortunately I’m having trouble finding where I would purchase the wood for this project. I live in suburban Detroit. Can you help?

Missie
Missie
2 years ago

Can you tell me what type of wood was used in the fence at the top of this awesome article along with plank dimensions? I was thinking maybe 1x4x10 Ipe? I’m working with a company and have shared this picture as my dream fence but thinking of using smooth sided western cedar. Thanks!

Joanne cowe
Joanne cowe
2 years ago

Hi how do you get the wood the colour it is above is it painted thanks

joann
joann
2 years ago

how much for a n panel

Gary DeFauw
Gary DeFauw
2 years ago

I love the horizontal pictured at the top of this article, although I am having a hard time finding a contractor in Atlanta. Any thoughts or suggestions please?

Don Davies
Don Davies
1 year ago

The horizontal composite fence really is great. I got mine and it was just fantastic! It pretty much looks like the one in the video!

Leuan Krause
Leuan Krause
1 year ago

Hey! Great job here. I read a lot of blog posts and I heard a lot about this topic but what I love about this is it was very helpful.

David
David
1 year ago

I would love to know more about the fence featured here, tiered, capped, and looks bolted not nailed. Type of wood, stain,and protection.