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Split rail fence is a simple and rugged fence style that has been around for hundreds of years. Although split rail fence basics are pretty standard a split rail fence can consist of wooden posts that have two or three rails. You may come across some variations, but this is the most common.

Split Rail Fence Basics: Styles

The typical split rail fence is configured as mentioned above. However, depending on the size and the use it can be altered.

Split rail fence posts are rarely capped because it is such an uninvolved fence style. The fanciest that a split rail fence can get is to use rounded posts and rails which have a cleaner look.

  • Crossbuck Split Rail Fence – you can give your split rail fence an updated look by crossing the rails. This design style has the top and bottom rail in a “X” shape. From afar this almost gives a zig zag look.
  • Stacked Split Rail Fence – This layout incorporates the rails being stacked on top of each other without posts.

Split Rail Fence Basics: Materials

All traditional split rail fences are made of wood and typically with cedar, oak, and pine. You can leave the wood natural without stain to weather on its own or with stain. Split rail fence ages gracefully and still looks great even when it turns grey.

If you want to further enhance the rustic look of your split rail fence you can use rough-hewn boards or even logs with bark. You can still apply a clear insect repellent and it will not change the natural color.

Split Rail Fence Basics: Vinyl?

Vinyl split rail fence is readily available. If you are looking for the style of a split rail fence but with a more contemporary clean design this is your best bet.

Vinyl split rail fence is just as sturdy as wood split rail fence and is maintenance free. The panels are pre-fabricated so topographical variation in your landscape will not work with vinyl split rail fence.

Split Rail Fence Basics: Should You Use It?

Homeowners use split rail fence for many of the same reasons that someone uses chain link.

  • Split rail fence is an easy way to mark your property line without blocking the view. It is also economical for larger properties that have a lot of acreage.
  • Although it does not work for small animals split rail fence is useful to enclose large animals and dogs. It is most commonly used for horses and livestock.
  • Split rail fence does not provide any privacy but will decoratively border your yard and give it definition. A split rail fence can also be used around a garden because it keeps it guarded but does not close of your yard.

Split Rail Fence Basics: Gates

Some people make the mistake of thinking that it is difficult to incorporate a gate with split rail fence. This is not true! In fact, because of the configuration you can add a gate anywhere in the fence line you like. Furthermore, it is not uncommon to see gates made of different material added to a split rail fence. Metal gates are becoming quite popular to pair with split rail fence.

As you can see the split rail fence is an American staple but has remained popular. It is no longer just for farms and ranches! Consider a split rail fence for your yard today!