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Are you currently looking for a strong, long-lasting fence to enclose your property? Are you looking to enclose larger pets, children, or livestock in a safe but effective manner without using wire or barbed-wire? Do you want a fencing option that does not totally block your view? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then a wood split rail fence may be for you!

Split Rail Fence is one of the oldest types of fences around and is therefore often overlooked. Not only is it functional, it adds charm to any yard and landscape.

There are a couple things to consider to make sure that a split rail fence is the right choice for you and your yard.

Installation of a Split Rail Fence

If you are considering installing it yourself, you will find that this process is quite different than a traditional privacy fence. Initially you will need to decide if you are using a 2,3, or 4 rail configurations.

Next, you will need to measure the fence line to identify any problems. Split rails can be cut down, but not without hassle. Reforming the ends to fit into the fence posts is where the trouble lies.

For these reasons and other issues that come with cutting down rails, if you have a yard that has a lot of topographical movement a split rail fence may not be for you.

The key to a sturdy split rail fence is the posts. You will need to make sure that you have a post hole digger that is going to allow you to get deep enough into the ground for good stability.

Finally, install the end posts first. This will help you keep the fence straight by using these as a point of reference. 

Split Rail Fence Wood Types

There are many choices of wood that you can assemble a split rail fence out of. The most popular is western red cedar. A cedar split rail fence can last from 15 to 30 years. Cedar is also very low maintenance and looks good stained or naturally weathered. Cedar is also rot and insect resistant.

Cedar split rail fencing is also very budget friendly and readily available in standard lengths.

Design of Split Rail Fence

Despite the simple design of a split rail fence, there are many ways to customize it. Here are some ideas to make your split rail fence stand out:

  • Depending on the functional requirements of your split rail fence you can choose a 2, 3, or 4 rail configurations
  • You can choose to use posts and rails with a smooth or rough surface depending on whether you want a more clean or rustic look
  • When building gates, you can use rails to create crisscross or z designs on the panels
  • You can also adorn gateways with arches or pergolas
  • You can choose to paint your split rail fence white
  • You can alter your 2, 3, or 4 rail design within each separate panel
  • You can also add planter boxes on panels or larger ones in between panels


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