Picky, Picky, Picket: Choosing The Right Style Fence For Your Home

by Grace Motley

The term "a house with a white picket fence" has come to signify the American Dream. White picket fences represent an ideal; a happy, loving, well kept home and indeed, a white picket fence can be a beautiful exterior feature on a house. But it's not quite as easy as installing some white pointy fencing. There is absolutely an art behind choosing the right picket fence for your house.

Popular isn't Always Best

When someone says "picket fence," the chances are good you imagine a white fence with sharp points. This style has been used since the 1800s and was incredibly popular during the 1940's. It compliments the American Colonial house style of the time. It's one of the choices you will see in the big box hardware stores as ready-to-install fencing and if you have an American Colonial home, this is an excellent choice. If you have a ranch home or an ornate Victorian, a traditional picket will not enhance your home the way you hope.

Another type you will see in the hardware stores is French Gothic. However, very few homes are actually styled in French Gothic, meaning that, although readily available, this isn't a good choice for most homeowners.

Beyond Pre-Fab

If the common types of picket fencing are not options for you, what do you do? How do you know what works with your home to be the most aesthetically pleasing? How do you even know what your choices are?

  • Take a walk around your neighborhood. Study other people's fences and home styles. Make note of what works for you and what you don't like. Take special notice of any homes that remind you of your own, either in architecture, color or both.
  • Contact some exterior designers or landscape artists. They will take into consideration the style of your home, the functionality you need and they will be able to show you some sketches or samples of what will work best with your home. Additionally, they likely have established relationships with fence contractors they know do good work in a timely manner.
  • If your roof is steeply pitched, sharp pointy pickets will work very well
  • If you have a single story ranch style home, consider less tall, flatter pickets for your fence
  • If your home is more ornate, such as a Victorian style, it's wise to go with more ornate picket. Research pictures of Victorian style homes and you will get some great ideas about fancier fences.

Extra Considerations

Picket fences aren't just about the pickets. Don't forget to choose caps and posts that match your picket choice. An ornate Victorian picket requires a matching cap, not one that belongs on a quaint bungalow.

No matter how much you have dreamed of that "white picket fence" if your house isn't painted white, don't go with a white fence. Consider the fence much like a fashion accessory for your house. It should embellish the look of your home, not detract from it. Instead of white, choose the same color as the body or trim of your home, so it blends in and complements your overall look.

You probably never knew that so much thought could go into choosing a fence, but now that you have these tips, you are sure to pick a beautiful fence for your home. Visit Mills Fence Co. for more information.