Period-Authentic Fence Design Considerations for Historic Homes

If you’re the proud homeowner of an old home with a specific historical architectural style, choosing the right fencing for your yard will help to preserve the natural charm that comes with your home’s unique architectural details. Below, you’ll find the most popular types of historic fencing options and what exterior types they work best with.

Wooden Pickets

Wooden pickets are one of the most common fencing materials, even for modern homes. They are inexpensive, easy to customize, and straightforward to install. However, a plain wooden fence would not be appropriate for some types of historic home designs because the finished product will not match the elegance of a grand exterior. Wooden pickets are best for:

  • Cape Cod style homes. A┬áseaside cottage is almost incomplete without a small picket fence. The fence should not be too tall, and interest can be added to the fence by varying the gaps and heights of the pickets in a specific pattern.
  • Folk Victorians. The folk Victorian is a smaller version of the grand, complex Victorian mansions. These homes were built with some Victorian features, but with fewer stories and much less exterior craftsmanship. The folk Victorian is most often finished with wooden siding, and a wooden fence would match the style and finish of these homes easily.
  • Log homes. Roughen wooden pickets are most authentic for these homes.
  • Farmhouses. Farmhouses, particularly those built before the 19th century, had exposed beams, thick walls, and small windows. Fences built from wood were common then. A picket fence from unpainted pickets would match the rustic quality of the original dwelling.

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron fencing is popular for many styles of homes. Classical homes, Federalist styles, and intricate Victorian, Italianate, and Edwardian homes all lend themselves toward the stately elegance of a wrought iron fence. Wrought iron is most often painted black, but dark grey, light grey, brown, and green are also authentic colors.

True wrought iron fence panels can be expensive, so if you’re on a budget, talk to your fencing contractor about fencing options that give the appearance of a historic wrought iron fence without the price tag. For example, aluminum panels can have the look of antique iron patterns that are common in cities like Charleston and Philadelphia.

If you love the look of wrought iron but you think the entire property would look too imposing with an iron fence for the entire exterior, consider installing iron gates or using iron across the front portion of the house and using a wooden or brick fence in other areas where the appearance of the fence is not as important as function.

Wrought iron fencing can vary greatly in design, so keep in mind that you can make the fence plainer or more ornate based on the other exterior features of your home.

For example, if you have a plain Brick exterior on a Federalist home, a more intricate fence can help offset the strong lines of the house. A flowery and colorful Victorian, on the other hand, could benefit from straight lines and simplicity so as to not detract from or clash with the architectural details original to the house.

Brick and Stone

Brick and stone fencing are practical options for homeowners who have historic homes and want a sturdy, durable fencing option. Brick and stone were common fencing materials throughout history. They can easily be used in conjunction with pickets or iron panels fora more subtle and practical fence.

Stone and brick are best used with Craftsman bungalows, which celebrate the use of natural materials in the workmanship of the home. Bricks should be colored to match brick features on the exterior of the house.

For more information on choosing the right material for your home’s architectural style, contact us at Mills Fence Company for details on the types of materials available and how they can enhance the historic legacy of your old house.