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Ready to add a fence to your property? Before you break ground, make sure you know what you need your fence to do for you. Does it need to keep pets in the yard, keep deer out of the garden, or provide backyard privacy? Just as no single fence type is the best choice for these three scenarios, no one fence style will look best in your yard either.

Fences can either add to or detract from the curb appeal of a home. It is crucial that you consider how the colors, materials, and textures of a potential fence will look in relation to existing structures and landscaping. If the colors are close but not exactly the same, they may actually clash, making the fence look out of place. Even if you manage to match the colors perfectly, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Before you make plans for your new fence, be sure to consider the following characteristics.

1. Style

Housing styles vary from decade to decade and from state to state. The time and place that your house was built will undoubtedly show in the architecture and materials used. The building materials used in your climate are quite likely a deliberate choice and the result of decades of experience building homes to withstand the temperature and humidity, or lack thereof, in your area. For example, homes in hot desert climates are often made with stucco. A house with cedar shake shingles would be out of place in the desert, and for a good reason. These shingles would bake and crack in the hot, dry sun. Choosing a fencing material to complement your home’s craftsmanship and withstand the climate in which you live is wise.

2. Color

For many decades, fence colors have reflected the building materials from which they were made. However, with the increasing popularity of man-made materials such as composite fencing, more colors are available in fencing materials. While it is nice to have choices, it can make deciding which color to use more difficult.

Before you choose a color, look around at your house and landscaping. What colors are already there? If you have a white or light-colored house, there are plenty of color options that will look nice. A white fence is a classic choice. Dark, neutral colors, including dark browns, or even black aluminum fencing, look classy against a light house. This contrast allows the fence to really stand out. On the other hand, if your home is painted a bright yellow or blue, it is best to keep the color to a minimum on the fence. Sticking to white or light natural wood tones will keep the fence from detracting from the house itself.

If you would rather your garden get all the attention, you may want a more subdued fence color against which the flowers and trees can bloom. Colorful flowers and bright green leaves show up best against a light backdrop. Avoid green hues that would camouflage your plants or even clash with their natural colors.

3. Texture

The house, the fence, and the yard each add to the layers of color and texture that passersby see. It is essential to consider how they work together to form a cohesive picture. Modern architecture, with its straight, sleek lines and smooth textures, begs for a fence that matches. Instead of a white picket fence that would look out of place, modern homes look best with simple vinyl or aluminum fencing that matches the rest of the home’s clean, simple style. Wood fencing is also a good choice and lends itself to more color choices. Bold, dark colors used on posts and rails combined with lighter color panels can be very striking and coordinate well with modern architecture.

More traditional homes with a brick or stucco exterior lend themselves to a greater variety of choices. Both modern and traditional building materials work well with the simple, textured exterior of these homes. You could choose to add more texture with a wood fence. A white fence coordinates well with the white mortar between the bricks on the homes’ exterior. A low maintenance aluminum fence would also look nice. The contrast in color can be dramatic, and the fence’s open structure allows the house to stand out.

Whether you choose to build a fence that contrasts or complements your home’s aesthetics, it is vital to consider how they will look together. Take into account the colors, textures, and materials that are already present. If chosen wisely, the right fence can do wonders in adding to the curb appeal and safety of your property.