EXPAND SPACES. PROMOTE RELAXATION. CREATE UNIQUE CURB APPEAL.

Horizontal fences are in high demand and there are a lot of materials and options available. Perhaps you’re contemplating a new fence for your yard and are considering if this style is right for you. Whether you are looking to do it yourself, have it installed by professionals, or just making plans for the future, this guide will help you sort through some of the most important details you should consider in choosing the right horizontal fence.

DESIGN

Horizontal lines have been adopted in numerous aspects of modern design. From wall treatments to furniture, they provide a signature look. The famous modern architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, used horizontal lines to form a relationship between his buildings and the landscape. Fencing is simply another extension of your home’s architecture. Choosing to build a horizontal fence over a more traditional design, will give your house unique curb appeal.

Trex Horizons Horizontal Fence System

Trex Horizons Fence System

To best understand why horizontal fences look so appealing, it’s important to understand some basics of art composition.

  • Horizontal lines are used to expand spaces.
  • They run parallel to the earth and show a continuation of landscaping.
  • Horizontal lines are at rest and peaceful.
  • Horizontal lines are combined with vertical lines to build stable shapes.
  • A break in a horizontal line can create emphasis.

So what does that mean for my yard?

Horizontal lines occur naturally in nature like the horizon on the ocean.

Horizontal Line in Nature

BENEFITS

Horizontal fences can promote feelings of relaxation and peace. I know this sounds a little cosmic and existential but it’s true. There is an increasing popularity to promote health and wellness in home design through the use of neutral colors and clean lines. A horizontal fence carries that theme to the backyard. Since our brains are wired to recognize that objects laying down are in a state of rest, a horizontal line promotes that feeling. So, naturally while you are reclining on a poolside lounger you’d be able to look at that relaxed fence line and totally relate.

Installing a horizontal fence will expand your backyard. OK, maybe not literally, but visually the lines will make any space feel bigger. This happens for the same reason vertical lines are so slimming on clothing. They draw attention in the direction they run. Having a horizontal fence will emphasize how much area your yard has, rather than drawing attention to the height of your fence and other structures on your property. So, what once might have looked like a tiny patio will now look like there’s room to spread out.

Another major benefit of horizontal fences is that they tie landscaping together. Those lines that run from side to side draw the eye across your yard from one area to another. You can still create unique spaces within your yard by using plants and borders that break up the fence line.

Trees and other tall plants are great at defining different areas in a yard. A tree, tall plant, or yard ornament will be emphasized and stand out even more in front of horizontal fence. Any design that runs against the lines in the background will become a focal point, which is especially great if you want your landscaping to be the star of your design.

MATERIALS

There are a few material choices for building a horizontal fence in the United States that don’t require custom fabrication — wood, Trex, and other composites. With a variety options, it is important to balance your decision between aesthetics, performance, and cost.

WOOD

Wood is the most frequently chosen product because it’s a natural and traditional building material. Within the wood category there are many choices. It comes in a variety of dimensions and can be customized for any project. It also looks great when stained and the exotic varieties are quite eye-catching.

Post supports should be 4-5 ft apart to ensure greater strength and help control sagging. Another good option for structural support is to add a metal frame. This will also help make the fence more solid and provide a good surface to attach the rails. If you decide to go this route, you’ll want to choose which side of the fence will have the metal frame showing.

Hawaiian birch is a popular choice in Southern California because it is quite rigid. Some contractors might also recommend using redwood, ipe, or other hardwood deck boards as rails. These typically have a thickness of 5/4″. Many of the horizontal fence pictures featured on Pinterest are using hardwoods.

Wood has a tendency to shrink with time and temperature. To keep a full privacy look, it is good to overlap boards. Alternatively many homeowners choose to do a semi-private design that allows for a gap.

Wood fences do require some maintenance.. To keep your fence from weathering too quickly, it’s good to stain a minimum of every 2-3 years.

Tropical Wood Horizontal Fence

Tropical Wood Horizontal Fence

TREX

Trex Horizons is a horizontal composite fence system. It uses interlocking pickets to create a board-on-board design that is the same on both sides. Horizons is encased in a metal frame for added structure and to mount to the posts.

The interlocking pickets keep constant pressure on each other to prevent warping, bowing, and sagging creating a full privacy fence with no gaps. It installs on 8 ft centers and remains rigid throughout. A larger section width means less labor for installation.

Trex Horizons is made from 95% recycled materials and resists insect damage and will not rot. It withstands high winds and performs well in all climates. The Trex components of the fence come with a 25-year residential warranty.

There are some additional infographics to see how Trex fencing compares to wood, vinyl, masonry, and other composites

Trex Horizons in Woodland Brown Stepped Design

Trex Horizons in Woodland Brown Stepped Design

OTHER COMPOSITES

Other composite fences typically use tongue-and-groove pickets floating inside a metal frame. The fence boards are sometimes embossed with a wood grain pattern and the boards install in 6 ft and 8 ft sections. The composite fence boards are made from recycled wood or other organic material and plastic.

Manufacturers’ warranties vary, typically starting at 1-year.

SEMI-PRIVATE HORIZONTAL FENCE DESIGN

Fence gaps on a horizontal fence work roughly like a set of partially closed window shades. The closer you get to the gap, the more you can see. There isn’t a very large difference for visibility between horizontal and other semi-private fence designs. It all depends on the size of the gap.

RESIDENTIAL FENCING VS COMMERCIAL FENCING

Horizontal Fencing is becoming more common among neighborhood businesses that reside near or within residential areas. Many new businesses that require fencing or screening (especially larger national retail chains) have chosen to include horizontal fencing as part of their design, reflecting current building trends for fencing within the industry.

Trex Horizons in Woodland Brown Stepped Design

Louvered Wood Horizontal Fence With Brick Columns

OTHER USES

Horizontal fences are a popular choice for privacy screen panels. Sometimes a single section or two will be used as a divider to separate sections of the yard or to partition a patio or pool area. Additionally horizontal fences make excellent enclosures for utility areas or dumpsters.

Climbing vines do well on semi private horizontal fences but considerations should be made as to what impact the vine might have on the fence over time.

CHOOSE WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU

To find out more about Trex Fencing, visit the trexfencing.com literature page for helpful tips, installation videos, and contact information for purchasing.

If you decide to go with wood, it’s best to talk to a local fence contractor to see what materials they recommend in your area. Make sure to do your homework and verify any service professional you hire.