Fencing serves a variety of functions, including security and privacy of a garden and a home. You tend to see pretty, decorative fencing on the front lawn of property, while a more secure and privacy-providing fence can usually be found out the back. When installing garden fencing, there are many choices to make, about shape, size, function and aesthetic.

When choosing to the fence for your garden, think carefully about what function it is supposed to serve. It could be decorative, like a white picket fence on a front lawn. It won't provide much security or privacy, but it does mark the boundary, look pretty, and keep children and animals inside the garden. If your fence is intended to provide security or privacy, then you should consider taller, more robust forms of fencing. Each fence type has its unique attributes, and it's important to spend some time considering which is the best choice for you.

Most Common Fence Types:

Split Rail

Split rail fences are some of the most common fences, often seen in the countryside. Two or three slats run through a wooden fence post, usually just a few feet high. They are usually used for boundary lines, but offer little in the way of security of privacy. While they are large enough to contain sheep or cattle, a child or family pet will probably slip through without much trouble. Regarding aesthetic, they can add a rustic feel to a garden or outdoor space.

Privacy Fences

Privacy fences must be larger construction, which shield the family from onlookers. There are several different designs of privacy fences, but the important point is that there are no gaps which can be peeked through, and that they are tall enough to ensure that even on tip-toes, people cannot see in. They are usually made up of large fence panels.


Shadowbox fences are usually tall enough to provide privacy, but use wooden boards on alternate sides of the barrier posts. This means that while it offers confidentiality and security, there are gaps between the wooden boards through which air can flow and ventilate a garden. Shadowbox fences are particularly attractive in urban areas.

Pallisade Fencing

Palisade fencing is a style of fencing which is made up of vertical wooden slats, with open slots between them, allowing ventilation. In contrast to fence panels, the slats enable the wind to pass through, which is particularly important if you live in a windy area, as wall panels might not be able to resist strong winds. The gaps make palisade fencing more robust and reliable, while horizontal beams provide ample support for the upright slats.