Whether its repairs to an existing fence, or a brand new fence to help corral that new puppy your daughter wants, fences always seem to be a popular project, especially early in the season. People like to address security, containment, defining their property, and privacy first before starting to focus on their outdoor living spaces.
And like any home improvement project, there are a lot of options to choose from. One of those styles is the traditional split rail fence.
Split rail fences are among the least expensive styles of fencing, due to the limited amount of materials needed to complete the fence and the ease of installation. Historically, the split rail fence originated when farm owners would use old trees and branches from their land as the rails, in order to keep livestock in, or outside animals away from their crops.
Today split rail fences are used by homeowners who prefer a rustic look and want to define their property lines without sacrificing wide-open vistas.
The split rail fence is a quite simple design. The posts include two or three “nesting” slots cut through the width of the post, with the rough-cut rails inserted into the slots spanning the distance between the posts. Traditionally, posts can be set directly into the earth with no concrete reinforcement if desired, however we typically prefer to set the posts in a concrete footing for added stability.
The advantages of split rail fencing are many. First, as mentioned it’s among the least expensive of custom-built wood fencing styles, pricing out at about 60 percent of the cost of a picket fence, and nearly half the cost of a stockade-style fence.
Secondly, for property owners who want to define or contain their spaces without upsetting the open feel of their yards, or for homeowners who don’t want to seclude themselves from their neighbors, the open design allows visibility without boxing you in.
Thirdly, for do-it-yourselfers it’s among the most straight-forward of fencing styles to install. You don’t need to be a skilled carpenter, it requires very little by way of specialty tools, and there is little, if any, hardware needed to complete the installation.
In addition to helping keep the cost down, the scarcity of materials needed also means the installation process is relatively non-intrusive. That means you’ll get to keep those beautiful shrubs along the fenceline without hacking them up to complete the installation.
Gates can be custom-built to match the style of the fence, although we strongly recommend setting any gate posts in concrete to help eliminate sag and/or binding of the gate.
And for just a dollar or two more a linear foot, a wire mesh can be mounted to the face of the fence to help keep pets or young children inside the contained space.
What the split rail fence does not accomplish is adding privacy to your yard, so if you’re looking for a fence to conceal your private hot-tub sessions, well I’ll be happy to talk about some other options with you.
If you’re interested in how split rail fencing can work for you, or if you’re interested in any other fencing styles please give us a call, and I’ll be glad to discuss and set up a free consultation.