6 Tips for Designing a Picket Fence

A picket fence can be a beautiful and traditional looking addition to your home. Plus, they are very effective at keeping in small pets and keeping out unwanted wild animals. Outlined in this article you will find six crucial tips for designing your own picket fence to enhance the look of your yard.

Zoning Laws

Before you even begin to think about the design of your picket fence you will need to check with your town to ensure that the zoning laws permit the building of picket fences. The law will tell you how and where you are allowed to build the fence, be careful, sometimes even decorative fences are restricted. You will be able to find all necessary information at your local building and zoning department.

Draw Your Fence

Once you have a good idea, of where your property lines lie and have measured the area for where you plan to build the fence, use graph paper and draw the layout of the fence. Ensure that you write the measurements down so you can determine how many pickets you will need. Continue drawing to figure out how many posts you will need and the final drawing will give you a good understanding of how much wood to buy for this project.

Overall Design and Matching

It is important that the overall design of your fence matches the look of your house. If you have a more modern architecture to your home, you'll want an equivalent looking fence. An old fashioned colonial house looks classic with a standard white picket fence, while a Victorian house would look great with a more detailed and intricate picket fence. Regardless of what you choose, the overall fence should compliment your house, not distract from it.

Size of Pickets

There are a variety of widths you can buy for the pickets of your fence. The widest pickets are about 5 1/2 inches, but can also be found as small as 1 1/2 inches wide per picket. The size you choose will help determine the overall design. As a reference, the standard white picket fence has pickets that are about 3 1/2 inches wide.

Picket Style

There are many different designs that you can have for the top of your pickets. Some of these more traditional varieties include rounded or pointed tops. Other common pickets designs are dog eared pickets, gothic and French gothic pickets, and flat-top pickets. Think about the design of each panel as well. The panel is the section of pickets between each post and each one can cut straight across so the whole fence is completely horizontal or you may a rise and fall with each section, or simply all concave panels.

Stain, Paint and Sealers

Once you have finished assembling your new picket fence you will want to decide whether or not you want to paint it or simply stain it to enhance the richness of the wood. Please note that it is best to pre-treat as much of the wood as possible prior to building, otherwise you may have issues when you apply the finish.