While the front yard is likely where you put the most of your energy to boost the curb appeal of your home, that doesn’t mean the backyard should be neglected. Whether you’re looking to build a privacy fence to deter nosy neighbors, keep pets in and other creatures out, design a charming courtyard, or just create a border for your backyard, we have plenty of fence ideas. A well-designed fence offers more than just functionality. They come in a variety of heights and styles, and can be constructed from an array of materials. From classic white picket fences to old-fashioned low rock walls, whether it’s wood, brick, or wire—we have a style for every space.

Keep It Classic

Ralph Anderson

There’s just something about a quaint cottage surrounded by a timeless white picket fence, but why save it just for the front yard. This style is traditionally built with evenly-spaced natural wooden pickets, but you can easily find the materials in commercial-grade vinyl for a more polished look. A picket fence typically looks best on the shorter side—about three to four feet tall.

Extend Your Siding

Photo: Hector Sanchez

Turn your barrier into an extension of your home for fencing that will seamlessly blend in. This privacy wall mimics the look of the horizontal lap siding with vertical planks in the same size and color as the house. For added character, you can use wire to draw vines up the fence.

Bring In Detail

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Use unique patterns to add interest to your backyard space. This panel-style fencing makes a statement without overwhelming the petite courtyard. This method plays up the custom-design feel without the cost and is a great way to add privacy to any small backyard or deck without making it feel cramped.

Let It Be Wild

Laurey W. Glenn

Use the fence to grow and contain your shrubs and flowers. Allow greenery to spill through the slats and over the top of the fence for a free flowing look that doesn’t appear unkempt. This provides visibility while still maintaining a boundary that feels welcoming.

Built A Post-and-Rail


Also known as estate fencing, this style is a more polished version of a split-rail fence with three horizontal rails connected by square posts. This fence can be built with traditional wood, vinyl, or even metal to suit your setting. One of the upsides to the style is it won’t impede your view and built with little material, it’s relatively easy to install and repair. Add an angled plank on the gate for detail.

Paint It A Cheery Color

Dana Tashima; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Harness the power of paint to turn any ho-hum brown fence into a cheery addition to your backyard. Think beyond the expected white and reach for a fun yellow, powder blue, or green hue to brighten up the space, adding playfulness to a functional feature.

Make A Statement

Photography Ralph Anderson

Take a traditional style and give it a twist. The beloved picket fence is elevated atop a relaxed brick wall, turning an expected style into an elevated wow-moment. The mixed materials of the brick border paired with the wood slats will easily complement many home exteriors. The quaint sheds strategically placed in the corner feel built-into the fence itself while adding interest rather than detracting from the backyards’ appeal.

Protect Your Privacy

Robbie Caponetto

A privacy fence doesn’t have to feel standoffish. The side-by-side boards here create a solid wall without feeling constricting. This style can be installed horizontally or vertically depending on preference. You can easily soften any wall with climbing vines and bordering trees. Here, a water fountain flush with the structure breaks up the wall.

Hold The Paint

Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Lydia Pursell

Stick with natural wood and let the elements add the character. With this popular configuration, you can customize the gap between each post to accommodate your needs, like keeping pets in or minimizing material costs. You can also alter the shape of the top of the picket—round, flat, or angular, to your liking.

Utilize Lattice As Fencing

Photo: Ryann Ford

Tall lattice mixed with towering hedges adds structure and interest to frame this backyard oasis, hiding the lackluster privacy fence. Similar to a trellis, these criss-crossed strips of wood create a subtle graphic element. This attractive design allows for sunlight and airflow, plus it often comes in pre-made panels making for an easy installation.

Mix Your Styles

Alison Miksch

Designate a space for your garden or flower beds with a simple fence. Here, the picket fence serves as the border of the backyard while the stacked planks section off the space. Keeping the same material and weathered look creates a cohesiveness between the two styles.

Opt For Stone

Photo: Ralph Lee Anderson

One might say using rocks and brick constitutes more of a wall, but this low-level border embraces the oldest type of fencing. While stone fences used to be made by simply piling materials, today mortar helps create a more finished appearance and adds stability. The curve of the wall and simplistic white gate soften the stone for a welcoming backyard entry.

Keep It Simple

Rosmarie Wirz/Getty Images

Let your blooms and shrubs do the real work. These simplistic and rustic beams create structure without impeding the enjoyment of color and greenery from either side. This take on a split rail is impractical for privacy and security or keeping pets contained, but it’s a great and affordable way (due to the limited number of pieces) to distinguish a property line.

Cover It In Greenery

Ryann Ford

Evergreen greenery adds life and interest, elevating any drab and uninviting wall or surface. Climbing vines, like creeping fig or ivy, are relatively easy to train to climb your masonry.

Stack Materials

Laurey W. Glenn, Styling: Kendra Surface

This dual fence style adds privacy and security with the solid wall on the bottom, while still allowing for visibility with the thin picket-like posts on top. This concept works equally as well with wrought iron atop the brick, keeping the view unobstructed.

Grow Living Barriers

Photo: Ralph Lee Anderson

Living fences can take on many forms and heights from manicured to wild. Here, a 12-foot tall, clipped European hornbeam hedge surrounds the courtyard. Across the South, you’ll often find boxwoods in all shapes and sizes achieving this look, but other varieties like ligustrum, leyland cypress, chromera hedge, and privet hedge are great options.

Add An Arbor

Hector Manuel Sanchez

Enhance any fence or entrypoint with an arbor which can take on many forms and fit a variety of fence materials. From square and flat to arched, the structure is an easy way to create a picturesque walkway. If you need a completely enclosed space, a gate can easily be added within the frame. Top it with an overflowing display of florals and vines for extra beauty.

Frame Your Garden

Photo: Lisa Romerein

Fences go beyond function and are often used just for aesthetics or to break up large spaces. This low garden-style picket fence with angled planks adds clean lines to the garden landscape. If you’re trying to keep pets or pests out of your beds, this is a pretty solution that will do the trick.

Use Wrought Iron

Stacey van Berkel

From front porches to stairwells, incorporating wrought iron into a home’s exterior is nothing new in the South. This style is also a tried-and-true fence material. If you like the concept of the classic design, but the as is dark iron is too heavy for your home, you can easily splash a coat of paint on it to match your home.

Make It Animal-Proof

Alison Miksch

Without having a solid fence, this simple mix of wire and wooden planks keeps what you need in (or out) without making your backyard feel closed off.

By Ellie