Split rail fencing was not designed to provide an impenetrable barrier. It was created out of the need for a conceptual variant. Split rail fencing is believed to be a borrowed idea from Europe. It appeared in America around the 17th century in colonial Virginia. Split rail fencing is still used today and is quite popular. It has withstood the test of time because it was one of the types of fencing that served many purposes and was easy to install. It was commonly the “go to” fence in wooded areas, because of the consistent availability of lumber. Since split rail fencing is freestanding and self-supporting, it supersedes other fences when it comes to uneven and rocky landscapes.
History of Split Rail Fencing
During the colonial period, it was highly regarded as a way to enclose large domestic plots of land, fields, pastures, and orchards. Split rail fencing was also used to encircle the small yards of homes, schools, and churches. Community gardeners of the time also found it useful to protect their plants without blocking sun.
As homesteaders secured land and worked to make it sustainable, they also wanted to protect it from other land seekers. Split rail fencing was a quick and easy way to identify boundaries and stake claim on land.
Split rail fencing was also popular among ranchers and homesteaders because it could be moved from location to location. This nomadic quality is due to the fact that split rail fencing does not require hardware or posts that are permanently put in the ground. In colonial times there was no need to forage for new lumber if a fence line had to be moved.
Split Rail Fencing and Ranchers
For modern day ranchers and those of an earlier time, fencing is a continuous problem. Ranchers must find the right balance between security, aesthetics, usefulness, budget, and longevity when it comes to fencing.
Furthermore, ranch lands are not typically all flat or without rocky areas and water sources. This calls for a versatile fence that can change with a topographically challenging landscape. Split rail fencing fits the bill.
Split rail fencing is also a prime choice to enclose livestock. It is visually apparent and safe for contact by cows, horses, and other animals. It is highly durable and can withstand weight.
Split Rail Fencing and Homeowners
Variations of Split Rail Fencing
Split rail fencing is readily available and very easy to install. Depending on the purpose of the installation, split rail fencing comes in either 2 or 3 rail configurations. When designing your split rail fence, consider what length of rail will work the best for your project. Typically, split rail fence rails come in 9- or 11-foot spans. This measurement is important so that you can space the posts accordingly.
Why Is Split Rail Fencing So Strong And Long-lasting?
Split rail fencing is available in treated or untreated. Pressure treated lumber has been covered with chemical preservatives to increase its resistance to rotting and wear by the elements.
Cedar, western red cedar, oak, and pine are common choices for split rail fencing. These types of lumber are naturally durable and resistant.
Benefits of Split Rail Fencing
There are several reasons why split rail fencing is a reliable choice.
Cost-Effective: Even though split rail fencing is commonly used in large projects that spread across acres, it is far less expensive than a standard privacy fence. Split rail fencing is available in varying qualities so there are very budget friendly options if your project does not require a high-quality aesthetic appearance. Furthermore, because of the ease of installation, you can cut costs by installing it yourself. This will eliminate any labor charges.
Durable: If you choose to install split rail fencing, you can rest assured that you not have to do regular maintenance to keep it functioning at top notch.
Impressive and Customizable: Although simple, split rail fencing is charming and appealing. No matter the project or the current surroundings, split rail fencing can be customized.
Here is a quick checklist before you begin the installation of your split rail fencing:
1. Make sure that you discuss your plans with your neighbors so that there is not any disagreement about property lines. Also, they may be willing to split the cost with you.
2. Check the deed to your property for any easements that may interrupt the flow of your fence. This can be addressed quite easily before installation, but can cause major problems after the fact. You can make changes to the design and location of your fence beforehand.
3. Always apply for the proper building license to eliminate any issues with your city and county.
4. Contact your local underground utility company to mark buried cables.
During installation there a several ways that you can customize your split rail fencing to fit your landscaping:
1. If you are using pre-cut rails, make sure to alter the overall length of the fence to accommodate this measurement.
2. If you experience problems with symmetry, put shorter sections at both ends of the fence.
3. If you have other visual concerns, always remember that you can make gate openings larger or smaller.
4. Don’t be afraid to shorten rails in varying sections. This can be done quite easily and just requires trimming the ends so that they can be properly fitted into the posts.
5. Pre-plan the fence layout to address any drastic slope changes or steep inclines.
6. Consider doing a dry layout before digging the holes for posts to make sure that you have covered any oddities in your landscape.
Beautifully installed split rail fencing can take your home from blah to wow instantly. Split rail fencing can frame your yard without blocking the view inside or out. It adds rustic charm without breaking the budget. From the start of your driveway around the entire perimeter of your property, a split rail fence is functional without the limitations of a typical privacy fence. Split rail fencing great for a home in the suburb or a cabin in the woods.