Our small old bungalow-style home is charming except for an ugly chain link fence out front. The house exterior is plaster or stucco and the covered front porch has river rock-type supports for the arches. There's a very simple railing with 1" square "pickets" spaced 3" apart. We want the front fence to be authentic but not too expensive. What would look right?
Francine M. ~ Pueblo, Colorado
Hi Francine. I think it's hard to go wrong with any style of picket fencing around your front yard. I have actually been researching the various types of picket fencing available as I plan to install some around my front yard this summer.
I think several options would look nice around the front yard of your bungalow. The old standby is the wood fence with slats spaced evenly and the tops all at the same height. There are various shapes available for the tops of the slats...some are rounded and there are others that are variations on points. This style has an anchor post every six or eight feet and everywhere there is a corner.
Another option that would look nice around the front yard of your Pueblo home is the scalloped style. I have seen pictures of this style used around bungalows and it seems to create a very quaint appearance. This style is installed much the same as the first design, but the slates gradually diminish in size between each anchor post until hitting their lowest height at the center of the span. They then begin to get longer until they reach the next anchor post and start their height reduction once again.
If you decide to go with this style, you might want to do a little planning on the distance your anchor posts are located apart from each other. It might not look very attractive if one of your scallops ends abruptly in mid-scallop across the front of your yard. When you are figuring where your anchor posts are going to be located and the distance they should be apart, don't forget to allow for your front gate.
The last design I'll mention would be to duplicate the railing on your front porch. The first two designs I mentioned use the traditional flat fencing slats, but I have seen Arts and Crafts style homes with square pickets used on their fencing that are very attractive. It allows the fencing to blend with the home. Square pickets can be used with the tops all even or scalloped.
I'm sure you have already considered this, but with Colorado's winters you might want to think about low maintenance fencing. Wood fencing needs to be painted on a regular basis because it's susceptible to moisture damage. Most families paint their picket fencing white and that can require touching it up every spring to keep it looking its best. Vinyl or PVC fencing can be cleaned with a water hose or small pressure washer and never needs painting.
The initial costs of vinyl fencing may be a little higher, but when you add in all of the labor and materials your wood fence can require in maintenance over the years, it might actually be less expensive than the wood fencing.