Monday, June 7, 2010

Heritage Fencing Styles

Stone fences, like this one, were common in New England as early as the mid-1600s.

Whether you just like history or you own a historic home, adding a heritage-style fence to your property can increase your home's curb appeal and add a touch of history to your home's exterior. Keep the look and location of your home in mind when choosing a heritage fencing style. Heritage fencing styles are often shorter than modern fence designs, and some styles look better with certain types of homes than others. Does this Spark an idea?

Picket Fences

If you have a home built in the Federal style, a picket fence is appropriate to the period. Picket fences gained popularity during the Federal period, starting about 1790, and have experienced periods of popularity ever since. Historic picket fences were often used in front and side yards and are typically shorter than modern-day picket fences. Many were shorter than three feet tall. Most picket fences during the 18th and 19th centuries also featured space between each picket, instead of having the boards flush against each other, which became popular later.

Stone Fences

If you're looking for a more rustic or natural heritage fence style, try a dry-stacked stone fence. Create dry-stacked stone fences by stacking and fitting stones together without using mortar. They were some of the first fences built in the United States and were created by the settlers of modern-day New England as early as the mid-1600s. If you live in New England or any area of the U.S. and find an old dry-stacked stone fence on your property, don't tear it down. Many old dry-stacked stone fences in the area are considered historic landmarks, and it's illegal to tear them down.

Wrought-Iron Fences

When you think of a heritage-style fence during the Victorian period, you probably think of a wrought-iron fence. Wrought-iron fencing became popular during the late 1800s and was commonly used to fence cemeteries and residential yards. Often painted black, the fences could feature either a simple picket design or the more elaborate post-and-picket designs, which were often found around churches. Unless you can find someone who's removing a real, old, wrought-iron fence from around their historic home, a whole, authentic wrought-iron fence is impossible to find today since true wrought-iron fences are no longer produced. However, you can probably purchase a steel wrought-iron-appearing fence from your local home improvement store.

Split Rail Fences

If you live in a rural area or love the pioneer style, install a split rail fence around your home. Split rail fences were originally constructed by pioneers in wooded frontier areas such as Kentucky and Tennessee. Pioneers cut down entire trees, split the logs into quarters or halves and used them to create fences from the land. Notches or holes were cut into what would become posts to hold the rails in place. Split rail fences typically featured two or three rails. You can purchase a wood split rail fence, or go with a more modern look-alike option such as vinyl.

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