Surprisingly enough, a simple fence can be one of the most versatile features of your home. On one hand, a fence serves as a privacy beacon, creating a border between your home and the street or your yard and the neighbors. Fences can also boost curb appeal whether they are white picket or reclaimed wood. Fences also serve as a security device and can help lower insurance premiums by keeping what you need out and what you want in.

The attraction of these be-all-end-all features is evident but many homeowners are still faced with some fencing questions that having nothing to do with a parry. Here are some tips on the different types of fences and whether they’re meant to be functional, decorative, or both.


An aluminum fence is perhaps the perfect blend of style and cost. Most aluminum fences come in the standard rod and rail look which doesn’t offer the most privacy but does serve its function, especially when used to protect a swimming pool. An aluminum fence isn’t the most durable in high wind areas but it is secure enough that pets wont gnaw through it.


Vinyl fences can provide the cost-effectiveness of an aluminum fence but in a wider range of styles and with more durability. For example, vinyl fences can be found in either the rod and rail style, as a decorative picket fence, or as taller (up to 8′) privacy fences. Vinyl fences have flex and give which is a nice safety option for those hosting backyard football games and the colors extend from whites into grays, tans, and other shades.

Chain Link

A chain link fence doesn’t offer much curb appeal but it is a very functional choice, being especially cost effective over large areas of ground. Large stretches of chain link fence are extremely easy to install and require no maintenance over their life span. A chain link fence is pretty easy for a pet to dig under and does bend pretty easily but it serves a purpose – as long as that purpose is defined.

Wood – Privacy or Rail

If budget, installation, and maintenance were of no issue, most homeowners would opt for the allure of a wood fence on their property. There’s no doubt that a wood fence is the most appealing and adds some of the best curb appeal to a home. When treated properly, the fence can last the life of a home and actually adds a more rustic look as it weathers. Wood is also available in numerous styles (and paintable) whether you want a privacy fence, picket or rail fence, or some hybrid.

Wrought Iron

A wrought iron fence is extremely durable and is perhaps the most luxurious looking when adorned with decorative toppers. Wrought iron fences are perfect for cordoning off a garden or also on the front of the home to boost curb appeal. The durability of the steel construction is noticeable and with sharp decorations on top of the spires they also serve to deter trespassers. Wrought iron fences do require maintenance and refinishing about every third year but that is a minor nuisance to most compared to the hefty benefits.


So which fence style is right for you?