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The Basics Of Split Rail – Why It’s A Great Choice?

When it comes to adding a fence to your home, you want to make sure you choose the right style that is functional and suits all of your family’s needs and wants in a fence. Any homeowner who has looked into adding a fence to their home knows there are many different options to choose from and each style has its attributes that set them apart from one another. The split rail fence was one of the earlier kinds of fencing used and it is still a very popular fencing style among homeowners. But why is it so popular that is has been around for centuries? Well, let’s dive into some of the basics of split rail fencing and find out why it’s such a great fencing option!


One of the main reasons why homeowners buy certain fence styles is so the installation process is easy and stress-free. With split rail fencing, you are easily able to install your fence yourself with no help from contractors, friends, or family. Split rail fencing has pre-cut spaces for the rails to slide in which makes installation stress free. You don’t need to secure the rails like you do pickets on privacy fencing, which allows for the materials to be kept at a minimum.

Here is a simple list of what you may need to install your split rail fence:

  • Saw for cutting the rails and posts to fit your height
  • Measuring Tape
  • Hammer or mallet to put posts in
  • Sealant
  • Screws (optional)
  • Drill (optional)
  • Nail gun (optional)
  • Nails (optional)
  • String line
  • Shovel
  • Posthole digger

**Optional items are listed because you do not need securing measures for a split rail fence, but you can use them for extra stability** 


Another fun aspect of split rail fencing is that you can create different designs with the rails, rather than keeping with the traditional colonial look of split rail. Depending on whether or not your split rail fence is 2 rails or 3 rails, you can create different designs such as an X shape or even a Z to get creative. With the design, you can also choose how many rails you want and how many posts you want total for the layout of your fence.


Another component of the split rail fence is that the maintenance is very easy and worry-free to keep up with. Unlike other fence styles where you might find yourself needing to replace some of the pickets or repaint and restain a few spots- with split rail fencing, you don’t have to. You can coat your split rail fence with a clear sealant to protect your rails even more, but it is not required.

Curb Appeal

Your home’s value is affected by the curb appeal. Any additions you make to your home will add to your curb appeal and the value of your home, which is ideal when you are looking to resell your home. Most homeowners nowadays are wanting a more rustic and raw look for their home, in which split rail fencing is perfect.

At the end of the day, you want your fence to be an addition to your home that makes statement. Your fence is a very big part of your curb appeal for the exterior of your home alongside the paint, siding, and decor. You want to choose a fence that fits your needs, but also a fence that looks best for your home and suits it well. 

Make sure you take into account where you are getting your split rail fence materials and what budgeting factors to consider. Sometimes depending on where your supplier sources their split rail fencing from, the cost may be more or less. Make sure you do your research before you pick your supplier. Another thing to consider is that sometimes your split rail fencing may be better quality when you buy from a place that buys mill direct. This means they have better control over the quality of their products and there will be fewer imperfections. Just a few things to keep in mind when shopping for your split rail fence.

The Fun Stuff

After you have spent a lot of time on your split rail fence with installation, materials, and making sure it is the perfect fence for your home, you want to get into the fun stuff. In this section, we are going to give you insight on all the possibilities of split rail outside of a normal fence. There are many different things you can do with a split rail fence but most people don’t think about it past a traditional fence bordering your backyard. That’s why we came up with this list of ways to decorate your split rail fence, add a unique touch, and ways to repurpose a split rail fence that’s already been used! Let’s start with decorating your yard once your split rail fence is complete.

Once your split rail fence is designed, installed, and officially complete you can now get in to the fun stuff! Decorating your yard will enhance the overall design and style of your backyard space. It’s time for the fun part! You are adding flowers, seating areas, birdhouses, pavers, and much more. Adding decorations to your backyard can make your space feel more inviting and cozy.

Decorating Your Yard with Flowers and Landscaping

The first thing that comes to mind when you think about decorating an outdoor space is landscaping. Trees, mulch, rocks, and flowers are the perfect way to liven up your backyard. Plant flowers that run alongside your split rail fence to not only give you some extra privacy but to help make your fence stand out. You can also plant trees or vines that stand aside from the posts the hold the rails together, creating the illusion that your fence is all plants. Once the vines grow and continue to do so, they will eventually drape along the side and stretch the whole distance of the fence in time. Using mulch and rock underneath your split rail fence will help keep animals in and unwanted animals out by creating a barrier with less room to get in through, plus it leaves a beautiful aesthetic.

Add a Garden

When you first install your split rail fence and are designing it, you can implement a portion of it that is boxed in, where you can use as a gardening space. You can use this space to plant and grow flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Of course, to keep animals out, you can put weld wire across the portion of your split rail fence that is your garden, if you choose not to have it along the whole fence. You can even use your leftover rails and posts from your fencing job as planter boxes or dividers in the garden to help keep the crops separated. With a little bit of acrylic paint or paint markers, you can create some designs and add color to your yard as well as a label where you planted what fruits and veggies, so they are easier to find!

Birdhouses are a Great Way of Decorating Your Yard

A unique way to add some wildlife in your backyard without putting your little ones or pups in danger, is to build a birdhouse that can sit alongside your split rail fence on the posts. This is an excellent opportunity to make a craft day for your kiddos and teach them a little bit about wildlife. There are plenty of different designs of birdhouses with some that have feeders on the sides, places for a small birdbath, and of course a space for the mama bird to lay her eggs and raise her chicks. Being able to watch the little birds in their daily life and having some extra decoration on your fence is the best of both worlds!

Mailboxes and Name Plates

Some homeowners also choose to outline the front of their property with a split rail fence in the front of their house, which gives the ability to use the posts for your mailbox and nameplates. Most homes have mailboxes in which you can put it on a post within your split rail fence, rather than having to add posts in the front of your home, adding more clutter. The fun thing about mailboxes when you own a home is that you can decorate it and give your home a touch of your personality. Something that isn’t for everyone, but some people add to the front of their home is a nameplate with their last name listed and the year in which the name was established. These are both small ways you can utilize your split rail fence in a different way.

Address Numbers

When it comes to the placement of the address numbers, you have to put them in a place that is easy for people to see and identify. Your split rail fence usually runs right up to the end of your property line, which is the perfect place for your address numbers. They typically are on the front of the home close to the front door, but if you can place them closer to the street and more natural to identify, it would benefit you and your guests!

These are just a few of the ways you can spice up your split rail fence once it is installed, but your imagination is the only limit. Now let’s move on to ways you can repurpose your split rail fence. Perhaps you have an old split rail fence that either needs to be replaced or taken down but you don’t want to waste materials. There are millions of ways you can use split rail fencing for other things besides fencing, like we said your imagination is the only limit.

 Lots of people get great satisfaction from re-purposing the old to give it a new life. Read this section to get tips and tricks for repurposing split rail fence if you are tearing down an existing fence!

 Re-purposing Split Rail Fence: Sign Post

You can use old split rail fence posts or rails as a sign post in your yard or garden. Many of us like to put plaques with witty sayings in our gardens. Using dismantled split rail fence is a fun way to do that besides using an ordinary manufactured stake. You can attach the sign or plaque with wood glue or by drilling in screws.

Repurposing Split Rail Fence: Deer Fencing

If your property is constantly in need of deer fencing, you are probably really tired of looking at it! Building a unique deer fence with old split rail fence can give it a whole new look. It is so custom looking that many will do a double take when passing it by. Deer fence built with torn down split rail fence is a decorative way of protecting gardens and young trees. You can just use the split rail fence posts for both the upright and cross pieces or mix in some rails. Since it does not have to be exact, the recycled split rail fence works great!

 Re-purposing Split Rail Fence: Kindling Holder

Although you can purchase kindling holders making one is quite easy. The split rail fence posts and rails can be cut to create the holder you desire. Not only will it be able to withstand the weight of kindling the split rail fence posts and rails are resistant to the outdoors making it sturdy and long lasting.

 Repurposing Split Rail Fence: Kindling

If you do not necessarily have any projects on your agenda, you can always use exhausted split rail fence as kindling. Once it is dried out, it is good to go. This is a safe and easy way to discard old split rail fence so that you do not have to leave it lying around or haul it away.

Repurposing Split Rail Fence: Pergolas and Arbors

A lot of people are very fond of pergolas and arbors. However, there is not a huge selection if you are going to purchase one that is premade. If you want a pergola or arbor in your yard, garden, or gateway- building your own with recycled fence will really bring some character to your yard. Because most split rail fence is very rustic looking, it really adds a unique look when fashioned as a pergola or arbor. You can use just posts or rails or you can mix them up for a really interesting look.

Repurposing Split Rail Fence: Planters

If you have access to thicker split rail fence posts, you can hollow them out on one end to set a pot in it filled with flowers. These planters made with split rail fence posts can be used all around your yard and on your deck and patios too.

 Recycling split rail fence can be satisfying and is great for the environment. The internet is full of photos of each of the projects above so that you can get some additional ideas and tips for using your dismantled split rail fence.

When it comes to split rail fencing, there are endless things you can do with it, which is why it is so popular among homeowners and designers alike. The ability to customzie, and create a unique piece of fencing for your home is a fun way to give your home a touch of your own style while also increasing the value and look of your home. To learn more about split rail or to get information about our split rail products, visit our website at rmfp.com.