What Is a Picket Fence, Where Can You Get One, and What Are Your Options?

What Is a Picket Fence, Where Can You Get One, and What Are Your Options?

Pin It

When it comes to describing a dream home – particularly in North America – the phrase “white picket fence” often comes up. It’s become a symbol of the ideal family home.

However, if you’re thinking about getting a picket fence but not sure where to start your search (or what kind of picket fence to look for) you need to read this. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Picket Fence?

A picket fence is usually a low fence with relatively wide fence pickets and similarly wide gaps between them. The top of the fence pickets usually extend above the top rail of the fence, and they are usually cut to a triangular shape (but not overly pointed.)

The pickets themselves are usually attached to two horizontal members of some kind, and the fence is installed on reasonably chunky square posts.

While the classic line does say “white” picket fence, you can get unstained picket fence panels or picket fences in a variety of other colors.

Can You Install a Picket Fence?

Now that you know what picket fence is, but before you start looking for a fence company to install one for you, there are a few things you need to consider.

The first is property lines and setbacks.

Every city has regulations about how close to your property line you can install a fence. Sometimes, this means installing your picket fence many feet away from the property line, which essentially means you are creating a smaller yard than you actually have.

If you happen to live on a corner lot, where sight lines are another factor, you probably also need to have a splayed corner, which will further reduce the area of your fenced yard.

Aside from where you can install a picket fence on your property, your city will probably also have some rules about what height your fence can be. Usually, fences installed around front yards need to be lower than elsewhere on your property, so be sure to check what the regulations say before you start shopping!

Types of Picket Fence

Next on the list of things you need to know about picket fences is what the different kinds of picket fences are.

Wood Picket Fences

Wooden picket fences are the most traditional picket fence option. They’re usually made from thinner, more lightweight wood than your usual wood fence. They can also be built on-site, or if you want to save time, you can sometimes buy ready-made picket fence panels from big box retailers or even online.

Vinyl Picket Fences

If you want the traditional look of a wooden picket fence without any of the maintenance, vinyl picket fence is a great alternative.

This type of picket fence looks like the traditional one you’re used to, but it’s made from lightweight, UV-resistant, maintenance-free PVC.

No Dig Picket Fences

Another popular choice for suburban homes is the no-dig picket fence. These fences have spikes rather than posts, and these are simply driven into your yard with no digging required.

This is not ideal for very windy areas or if you have large, boisterous dogs, but it can be DIY installed in a few hours, so it’s a quick way to transform your yard!

Other Types of Picket Fence

There may be other types of picket fence or picket-style fence that you want to consider. Palisade fence, for instance, when it’s at a lower height and powder-coated white, looks a lot like picket fence but offers the durability of steel.

There are also some types of composite picket fence on the market now that could be an eco-friendlier option since some of the material it’s made from is recycled.

Picket Fence Design Accents

Even after you’ve chosen the material for your picket fence, you’re not quite done.

There are also several design options you could choose for your picket fence.

Instead of flat top panels where every picket is level, you could choose an arched panel or one with a concave curve.

Some picket fences also have notched pickets, which adds another element to the design.

Then there are different post designs, including finials and other decorative elements. So you really can go as far down the picket fence design rabbit hole as you like!

Choosing the Right Picket Fence

With so many picket fence options out there, you might need a little help deciding. Consider what you want and need.

If you need something tough and durable to stand up to dogs and kids, a wood picket fence or a low palisade fence might be the best choice.

If you want something that looks great but is easy to install and doesn’t require maintenance, opt for a vinyl picket fence or composite picket fence.

The price might be a factor, too – so if you’re not sure which kind of picket fence will work for you, ask for quotes on different types.

Who Installs Picket Fences?

These days, the easiest way to find anything is to search online, and finding a "picket fence company near me" is no different. However, as with any fence project, there are a few things you need to know.

Usually, if you want a picket fence around your own front or back yard, your best choice for installation is a residential fence company. They’re used to small, fast jobs that they can get in and out fast, and they tend to offer great deals on this type of fence.

If you want a picket fence around a condo complex or another commercial or multi-unit living development, you probably want to talk to a commercial fence company. They usually have the tools, crews and equipment needed to tackle large, complex projects like this.

Whatever you choose, as always, shop around, don’t only consider the price, and ask as many questions as you need to before you feel comfortable.

new cta image