Horizontal Fence Ideas (Designs & Materials)

Here we share pictures of horizontal fence ideas including what it is, the different designs, materials, cost, and how it compares to vertical fencing.
Outdoor area with wood horizontal fence, flowers, and small treesHaving a fence around your yard is a great way to get some privacy, keep people or animals out, and create a border if you want to keep someone – like a pet off their leash – inside your own yard.

You have a lot of options when it comes to fencing design too. If you want something to stand out on your block, horizontal fencing offers a one-of-a-kind appearance.

What Is Horizontal Fencing? 

Backyard area with wood horizontal fence, outdoor kitchen, dining table, and plantsWhen it comes to horizontal vs. vertical fencing, the terms refer to how the slats in the fence are placed. Vertical fences have slats fixed in a position going up and down while horizontal slats are placed with the slats fixed to the posts longways, hence the names.

There are quite a few benefits to horizontal fencing. For one, it can help make your yard look bigger and create a unique appearance since vertical fencing is so popular. Horizontal fencing is also often praised for its modern appearance. Still, you have a variety of styles and materials to choose from, so you can find something to fit the exact style to fit your home.

There are a few cons to horizontal fencing as well. For one, it’s more difficult to install. This often means homeowners turn to professional installations which can come at an additional cost.

In addition, while certain horizontal fence ideas can make your yard look larger, it can also make your house look a bit shorter. This is a particular problem for shorter architectural styles such as ranch-style houses. Taller and even multi-story homes don’t have to worry about this concept as much.

Horizontal Fence Designs

Backyard area with horizontal fence, walkway, landscaping fixtures, and hedge plantsHere are some of the popular horizontal fence designs available.

Horizontal Slat Fence

Horizontal wood slat fence with pillars at the sideA horizontal slat fence often references the most straightforward and simple design for a horizontal fence. In these, the planks are fixed to their posts longways rather than vertically with varying designs. You can place them one on top of the other in a simple design much like you’d put panels side-by-side for a simple vertical fence like a picket fence. 

However, horizontal fence ideas come in all shapes and forms and, at their most basic form, a horizontal slat fence can refer to any fence with, well, horizontal slats. If you’d prefer something with more privacy or something that seems a bit more eccentric and one-of-a-kind, those options are available as well. 

You can install a horizontal slat fence in a variety of materials too. From wood to vinyl to composite and even metal, the material you choose can change your fence aesthetically and practically.

Horizontal Fence Panels

Outdoor patio with horizontal fence panels, pergola, deck, table, chairs, and plantsFence panels are a section of fencing, already constructed. This makes it easier for you to install the fence when you’re ready. After all, the panels are already constructed, it’s just mostly left to setting them up and fixing them into place. 

Most commonly, you’ll see this with vertical fence panels. These usually have an area of fencing measured from post to post. However, it isn’t a practice solely left to vertical fencing. You can find fencing panels for horizontal fencing as well. Yet, these types of fencing panels aren’t as common as their vertical counterparts. 

Horizontal fence ideas that use panels come in a variety of designs and styles too, so you can find something to suit your design style. If you opt for fencing panels, you aren’t necessarily limited to the mere basics. Again, though, you probably won’t find as many horizontal fencing options in the form of pre-made panels compared to vertical fencing options. 

Modern Horizontal Fence

Modern horizontal fence made of wood with stone pillarsHorizontal fence ideas, as a whole, are often praised for their modern appeal. This is partly thanks to the traditionality associated with vertical fencing. It’s long been the most common form of fencing.

In recent, more modern times, we’ve started turning to horizontal fencing. Along with metal and wood, horizontal fencing is offered in more modern materials as well including vinyl and composite fencing

Still, this isn’t to say that horizontal fencing only appeals to those who love modern decor and design but choosing neutral colors and clean lines, though, will help you capture the modern appeal you might be looking for. You can even shake things up with some staggered planks or using a shadow box method in building your modern horizontal fence.

Horizontal Privacy Fence

Horizontal fence gate made of wood planks for residential propertiesPrivacy fences are a great touch when you want a little more discretion when you spend time in your yard. Not to mention, they still offer all of the other benefits of a fence too and their tall designs are excellent for keeping pets in your yard, for example.

A privacy fence is usually at least six feet high and they don’t typically let a lot of light in from either side. This is perfect for making sure no one can see through to the other side of the fence. If six feet isn’t tall enough, some homeowners opt to make their privacy fence a foot or two higher. 

Certain horizontal fence ideas actually lend themselves well to the design. When positioned properly, it’s easy to block out visuals with horizontal paneling. Some designs, such as a shadow box design, are noted to work more efficiently with horizontal fences rather than vertical ones.

Staggered Horizontal Fence

Outdoor area with horizontal staggered fence, and hedge plantsDistinct staggered horizontal fence ideas use panels that don’t line up perfectly in one way or another or, as the name puts it, staggered. Staggered fences can also vary which side of the fence panels go on but this is usually referred to as a shadow box fence rather than a staggered one. 

You actually have some room with how you want to design your staggered fence too. If you want privacy, you can stagger your planks but keep them relatively close together. This way, they still block out the visuals on the other side of the fence. 

As an alternative, you can get creative with a staggered horizontal fence that’s more artistic and aesthetic than for privacy. The general rule of thumb to follow is this: if you want to create a staggered horizontal fence that offers more security and privacy, keep your panels tight!

Horizontal Shadow Box Fence

Outdoor area with horizontal shadow box fence, and pillarsHorizontal shadow box fences are great if you want to keep a good relationship with your neighbors. After all, they’re often called a “good neighbor” fence because the design ensures both sides of the fence are equally attractive. 

This is because the horizontal boards aren’t all mounted on one side of the posts. Rather, the pattern is alternating in a pattern including switching sides of the fence for each new board.

This also gives your fence a unique, three-dimensional design since the fence will show the space between the layers. This effect is more pronounced since the panels on each side aren’t perfectly lined up edge-to-edge.

Another benefit to using this pattern is that it offers more privacy than the same pattern on a horizontal fence. This is because while you can see through the slats at an angle, it’s much harder to happen across this angle when the slats are positioned horizontally.

Materials For A Horizontal Fence

Modern horizontal fence made of wood blocksHere we share the different materials that can be used for these horizontal fence ideas.

Horizontal Wooden Fence

Horizontal fence made of wood with plants near itFirst of all, it’s worth noting that wooden fences can still vary a lot depending on the type of wood you use. However, this also gives you a lot of variety to choose from, in both pros and cons as well as appearances. Overall, though, there are some general pros and cons to choosing wood for horizontal fencing.

For one, wood is readily available and, while costs can vary depending on the type of wood, there are plenty of affordable options. Options like certain types of cedar fences will be much more affordable than an option like white oak. Another benefit to this variety is that you can choose a wood type to fit your preferences and budget. 

Of course, there are some drawbacks to wood fencing. For one, while different types of wood may be resistant to problems like pests, they’re usually more temperamental to humidity and climate which can make them more prone to cracking or warping. However, leaving the proper space during installation can help minimize these effects. 

Horizontal Metal Fence

Metal horizontal fence with hinges and gateYou have a few options when it comes to using metal in your horizontal fencing. First, let’s take a look at aluminum horizontal fencing. This type of fencing has a variety of benefits to offer you from its durability to the minimal maintenance it requires.

However, it does have lower durability as aluminum is a malleable metal. While vertical aluminum fences don’t often offer much privacy, though, horizontal fences tend to use wider panels, offering more coverage. As for cost, aluminum fencing costs an average of about $7 to $32 per foot of materials. 

Another option you have as far as metal fences go is a horizontal corrugated metal fence. Corrugated metal is galvanized, shaped sheet metal which is actually a sustainable and incredibly lasting choice for your landscaping. Their design can also help drain water away from your yard – helping you and requiring little maintenance at the same time. 

On the other hand, corrugated metal fences can have limited options when it comes to appearance and they do bounce sound, potentially giving your yard a bit of an echo. The average cost of corrugated metal fencing is usually about $10 to $12 per linear foot.

Horizontal Composite Fence

Composite fencing with brown stained panels As the name suggests, composite fences are made up of a composition of materials, usually a mix of plastic and wood. This approach is meant to be more eco-friendly and they have a variety of unique benefits.

For one, maintenance is minimal – you can get away with washing it with water when it starts to look like it needs a cleaning. You can also rely on composite fencing to hold up well against a variety of common catalysts for problems including UV rays, climate, mold, and insects. 

Still, composite fencing is more costly than a traditional wood fence. You can expect an average of about $25 per foot but they can run higher, depending on what you choose.

The good news is that this is the major drawback associated with composite fences – there aren’t many operational disadvantages to the material aside from the increased upfront investment.

Horizontal Vinyl Fence

House exterior with vinyl horizontal fence, gate, pitched roof, white walls, and windowsVinyl is a material with a distinct look. It’s fairly easy to keep clean and you don’t have to dedicate a lot of time to maintenance either. In particular, you won’t have to worry about issues like restaining or refinishing vinyl fencing. You also won’t have to worry about issues like pests or water damage. It’s a fairly easy material to install as well. 

There are some downsides to vinyl as well, though. For one, some homeowners aren’t a fan of the manufactured appearance of vinyl compared to a more natural option like wood. Another concern comes from damage.

While vinyl lasts well and holds up to water well, high temperatures can damage it. This can be a problem since vinyl is also difficult to repair although it’s overall a durable choice for horizontal fencing materials.

Vinyl fencing does come at a higher upfront cost for this durability. You can expect an average cost of about $15 to $30 on average, depending on the vinyl and fence design you use.

Horizontal Fence Cost

Outdoor area with horizontal fence made of wood and grassThe cost of your horizontal fence can vary depending on a few factors. For one, certain styles and materials may run at a higher cost than others. On average, though, you can expect to pay around $5 to $12 per linear foot of material you need. Of course, larger yards or perimeters will naturally come at a higher cost. 

As you place your fence, you’ll need posts to support the horizontal panels. The cost of fence posts can vary widely, ranging from as low as $5 to as much as $70 or more. Wood or metal fence posts tend to run the lowest while brick and stone fence posts come at the highest cost.

If you hire a professional to install your fence, this will come at an additional cost. Hiring a team to complete the installation of a horizontal fence for you runs an average of about $15 to $22 per linear foot. This is the typical choice for many homeowners as horizontal fences are harder to install than vertical ones.

However, if you have some DIY expertise you may be able to save money by using a fence design software program to plan your layout, visualize your idea and calculate the amount of materials needed.

Horizontal Fence Vs Vertical

White composite fencing and grassy area We briefly touched on some of the basic differences between horizontal and vertical fencing but there are a few more to consider. As far as appearance goes, beyond the position of the slats, vertical fencing is often seen as more traditional while horizontal fencing is more modern.

Both offer a variety of styles and options to suit a variety of home decor and landscaping styles but horizontal fencing is often praised for how unique it looks.

Vertical fencing is also known to be more sturdy than horizontal fencing. This is due to how the fences are built but horizontal fences can get a stronger boost by using extra vertical posts to support the horizontal slats. 

Horizontal fences tend to come at a higher cost as well. This is for a few reasons, including that they are often harder to build and they have to be built on-site since they aren’t as widely available in pre-made panels like vertical fences. Vertical fences will also fit the ground’s natural contour well, while horizontal fences need a level surface.

Best Wood For Horizontal Fence

Outdoor area with wood horizontal fence, and hedge treesYou have a few options when it comes to choosing a type of wood for a horizontal fence. Both hardwoods and softwoods are used for horizontal fencing. 

One popular softwood choice is cedar for a few different reasons. For one, it’s easy to work with thanks to minimal knots and a tight grain. Plus, it naturally repels insects and isn’t prone to warping. Over the years, though, it does start to turn gray – both the yellow and white versions. It runs at about $3 to $7 per linear foot. 

Another option is redwood which is a softwood around the same price range as cedar. Redwood fencing is a good option if you want to stain or paint your fence rather than stick with the natural wood tones. Of course, those are beautiful too if you prefer redwood’s natural appearance. It’s fire and bug-resistant but you’ll have to watch out for mold and sun damage. 

Pressure-treated wood is another common choice for this price range. Usually made with pine, it doesn’t rot and won’t attract bugs. The tradeoff, however, is that it’s more prone to warping, shrinking, and cracking depending, particularly in areas with dry climates. 

A popular hardwood option is white oak which lasts an incredibly long time and you won’t have to worry about rotting. Still, damp or humid environments can lead to problems like warping. It also costs more, running at about $15 to $40 per linear foot.

Another hardwood option is black locust which also carries the benefit of high durability and it doesn’t need a lot of maintenance. Yet, its rarity comes at a price of $20 to $40 per linear foot on average, making it one of the priciest options. 

See more related content in our article about side by side fence on this page.

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Written by Veronica - Author

Veronica Pannell is an avid reader and researcher who has been writing about interior design and home improvement since 2018. Her favorite design style is eclectic, and she's always on the lookout for the latest new and exciting design trends.

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