10 Fresh Ideas For Good-Looking Timber Fences
There’s a wooden fence style for every garden, from horizontal boards to windowed designs and black-painted panels
Whether you’re looking for more privacy, added security or to enhance your home’s kerb appeal, the right fence can be just what you need. Hardworking wood may be one of the most commonly used materials, but that doesn’t mean your fence design needs to look just like your neighbour’s. Here are 10 fresh ways with timber fences, including plenty of twists on classic designs, ideas for contemporary styles and a few out-of-the-box ideas.
1. Windowed trellis
The combination of horizontal boards and board-size windows in San Francisco, USA, gives this fence designed by Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture a distinct look. The windows allow for tendrils of climbing roses and pink jasmine to tumble through, softening the fence’s crisp, geometric design and providing an element of whimsy.
For your own windowed fence design, play with where you’d like to create openings, using the empty portions to highlight a specific view and the covered fence sections to screen and provide privacy.
2. Mixed-width vertical boards
The most classic timber fence design generally features vertical boards between posts. Space the boards tightly for maximum privacy or leave a gap between them to create a visually lighter boundary line.
The fence design outside this home in Texas, USA, designed by Nick Mehl Architecture, is a nice twist on the classic design. The evenly spaced boards of alternating widths make a more graphic statement than a standard vertical fence would. The design works well to complement the contemporary house.
3. Dark-painted overlapping panels
If your home features horizontal timber weatherboard or shiplap, pull that architectural detail into your fencing for an integrated design.
Take a look at this home in Sydney, NSW, by Three Birds Renovations. The design team incorporated both the style and dark colour of the home’s weatherboards into a fence that wraps around the property, for a coordinated, contemporary look.
Overlapping boards set between posts are commonly laid horizontally, but the design can be done with vertical boards as well. You can choose between straight and raw edges for the boards, depending on the look you prefer. The fencing pictured in this garden has straight-edged boards as a siding treatment, hiding the fence frame and posts behind.
4. Streamlined horizontal boards
Evenly spaced horizontal timber slats have become an increasingly popular fence design, but they still make a design statement. In this Seattle, USA, yard designed by SCJ Studio Landscape Architecture, a cedar fence encircles a front yard seating area, providing privacy but also glimpses of the garden.
This style works well with most contemporary buildings and with traditional homes that have horizontal siding, such as shiplap or tongue and groove. You have a choice as to the thickness of the boards and whether or not you want to leave gaps between them. No gaps gives most privacy, but being able to peek through the fence and see some of the garden beyond can be nice. Consider referencing your home’s siding with the lumber width or slat spacing.
5. Picket with a twist
Classic picket fences can be the perfect companion to any home that leans toward cottage, country or traditional styles. To give traditional picket fences a slightly different look, try varying the widths for a less uniform style.
For this fence outside a cottage in Seattle, USA, a combination of two slightly different picket widths results in a more custom look. Flat-topped pickets also update this style.
6. Whimsical woven fences
Made from weaving thin branches (often willow or wattle) between timber posts, woven fencing is a centuries-old technique that can add a beautiful texture to gardens and a handmade element to patio designs. The style works best with cottages and traditional homes and with classic building materials, including brick, natural stone and pebble or gravel landscaping.
Wattle fencing in this whimsical Dutch garden designed by Studio Toop in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, brings a feeling of being in the countryside to this city home.
7. Wide-set vertical boards
Arranging fence boards so that their narrower side faces out (with wide spaces between them) offers a twist on the standard vertical timber-plank fence – and also can result in an optical illusion, depending on the angle you view it from. From one angle the fence appears solid, and from another angle you see only narrow slivers of fence.
This technique was used to provide privacy screening around this London deck in the UK, designed by Leask Architecture, which features an outdoor bath (with privacy added by potted plants). To adopt this style at home, adjust the gaps between boards according to how much screening you’d like.
8. Floating boards
Landscape architect Michael A Gilkey designed this sculptural, three-dimensional screen to enclose an at-home yoga garden in Florida, USA (the raised timber platform is designed to fit a yoga mat).
Sections of thermally treated ash wood are attached to vertical posts. Boards flipped on their edges become floating shelves for potted succulents and sculptures. The fencing provides privacy and a visually rich backdrop for a backyard yoga practice and relaxation.
9. Colourful reclaimed planks
Multi-coloured salvaged boards create a tapestry-like effect above an existing mint-green fence in this backyard in San Francisco, USA, by Growsgreen Landscape Design. The designer created asymmetrical openings in the upper portion of the fence that overlook the foliage behind the fence.
The style would work well for an eclectic landscape or where you’d like to add some personality to a more traditional-style yard or deck.
10. Roofed fences
Often seen in Japanese gardens, a slanted roof adds a beautiful finish to a fence. Roofed bamboo fence panels held by a timber frame mark the entrance to the Japanese-style garden seen here, by Kikuchi + Kankel Design Group in San Francisco, USA.
Try this fence style in Japanese-inspired gardens to frame an entrance, surround a secluded garden or enclose a pool area.
Lauren Dunec Hoang