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Wood Picket Fence Prices

Picket fences are classic symbols of comfortable community living. Unlike closely-spaced privacy fences or intimidating iron fixtures, picket fences are attractive and inviting. Homeowners looking for a simple accent for the garden or front lawn can choose from a variety of styles to accentuate their property.

Cost of Wood Picket Fences

  • Materials cost: $950 to $1,350

  • Cost per linear foot: $11 to $14

Cost will vary depending on location, the shape of the terrain, and any special accents or features that homeowners would like to include.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wood Picket Fencing

In addition to their cozy appearance, picket fences add a sense of security and comfort to a home. The traditional design brings to mind old-fashioned values that many people find appealing. Accents such as gates and decorative posts change the basic style of a picket fence.

A solid, finished fence boosts "curb appeal;" that is, how a house looks when viewed from the curb, making the home more desirable to prospective buyers should a homeowner choose to sell. Anything that enhances a home's aesthetics can boost property values as well.

The major disadvantage of wood fences is the high amount of maintenance required to ensure that the wood doesn't rot, bend or warp. Fences must initially be coated with some kind of finish, which will need to be refreshed on a regular basis. Wood also may attract pests such as ants and termites, both of which threaten the integrity of the structure.

Fence Styles

The idea of a picket fence likely brings to mind a series of simple white slats with curved tops arranged in a row. However, homeowners will find that there are many styles available when installing a picket fence.

  • Straight top fences are the most basic and have the style traditionally associated with picket fences.

  • Cut arches are made up of arcing panels that create a "V" where they meet.

  • Rolling arch panels have curved peaks and troughs that make a wave pattern when installed.

  • Scalloped fences have U-shaped panels that peak at the posts for a style that's the opposite of a cut arch.

  • "New England" fences are similar to straight fences but have more prominent posts that add a look of permanence.

All picket fence styles are created with a combination of fence panels and posts. Panels may feature straight horizontal crosspieces or supporting beams that sit at angles to produce different designs. Posts are also available in several styles with flat or rounded tops. 

Installing a Wood Picket Fence

Fence installation is a multi-step process that involves a variety of materials. Dedicated DIY enthusiasts can expect to pay around $25 for basic, unadorned picket fence panels while more decorative designs are closer to $45 per panel. Posts run in the area of $15 each. In order to compute the overall cost of the project, homeowners will need to measure the area where they desire to erect the fence and consider whether they prefer pre-made panels or wish to build their own. Creating panels from individual pickets costs about $2 per picket and allows for more creativity when crafting the fence.

In addition to materials for the fence itself, hardware such as galvanized nails and gate installation kits is also required. Nails are inexpensive and can be purchased in large quantities for pennies apiece. Standard gate kits add another $25 or $30 to the cost of the fence. Essential tools such as post hole diggers are similar in price.

Once all of the necessary hardware has been gathered, homeowners will need to return to the area they measured initially and lay out the fence. Stakes placed at the corners of the desired fenced-in area create a basic shape. Additional stakes should be driven wherever fence posts will need to go. The distance between stakes is determined by the width of the fence panels. To ensure that each post lines up evenly, string or twine should be tied taut between each corner stake.

A post hole digger makes short work of post placement. After digging the holes, posts can be set with either dirt or concrete. Using concrete requires extra bracing to ensure that the posts remain level while the concrete sets, which usually takes one to two days. Then fence panels can be attached and a gate installed. This is the step where homeowners have the most room to be creative. Taking the time to build individual panels results in a custom fence design that looks beautiful and gives the yard an eye-catching touch. Once installed, all wood fences should be finished with stain, paint or a waterproofing sealant to protect them from the weather.

Landscaping Ideas Using Wood Picket Fencing

Wood picket fencing is well-suited to garden layouts. The open design makes pickets ideal for climbing plants such as roses and morning glories. Vegetable gardens look beautiful when surrounded by wooden fencing as well. Trailing vines from peas and other plants can use the fencing for support as they grow, creating a unique integrated look.

Homeowners may line the front yard or the entire perimeter of the property with a picket fence to add a sense of whimsy and charm. When combined with other elements such as a flagstone walkway, flowering shrubs and man-made ponds, the fence becomes part of the design rather than just a decorative border.

Installing a fence on an incline may pose a challenge, but the final look offers yet another way to incorporate these attractive accents into outdoor decor. Fence panels can be set in a series of "steps" for an angular look while fences constructed from individual pickets may be custom-built to conform to the shape of the slope.

Erecting a picket fence along the perimeter of a property or as part of a garden design adds a touch of country style that improves the look of any yard. Taking the time to install one of these classic fences pays off with a beautiful accent that can be enjoyed for many years.

Last updated on May 9, 2014

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