What is an Ornamental Fence?

F. Hay

An ornamental or decorative fence adds style and architectural beauty to a landscape whether it is residential or commercial. An ornamental fence focuses on enhancing the landscape and, depending upon the type of fencing used, can also provide privacy and security. There are a multitude of ornamental fencing materials ranging from wood, wrought iron, aluminum, steel, or vinyl to name a few. Decorative fencing does not always surround and enclose the entire premises, but might be used to simply draw attention to a particular landscaping feature.

Decorative wrought iron gates can bring attention to the front of a property.
Decorative wrought iron gates can bring attention to the front of a property.

Materials used for the construction of an ornamental fence will depend upon what purpose the fence will serve. Fencing used for security and privacy is generally taller than ornamental fencing used solely to provide decorative interest to the premises. Continued maintenance and upkeep of fencing materials is another major consideration. Wooden fencing will need to be painted or treated regularly whereas other types of fencing such as ornamental iron fence, ornamental aluminum fence or vinyl fencing will require less maintenance once installed.

An ornamental fence adds character, but little privacy.
An ornamental fence adds character, but little privacy.

Fencing used to keep pets in, or other animals out, will need the boards, slats, or ironwork to be close enough together so that an animal cannot get through or become caught between the fencing. An ornamental fence used to surround a swimming pool must meet all applicable building codes and/or local ordinances. Self-latching and self-closing gates are often mandatory features for ornamental fences surrounding pools in order to protect small children from wandering into the area unsupervised.

Typically, wrought iron fencing is not used to surround the entire premises, but mainly to bring attention to the front entrance of a property. Stone or brick columns are often seen supporting a decorative wrought iron gate. Well-built supporting columns are necessary to provide stability as wrought iron fencing is very heavy. Custom ornamental iron fencing can showcase the owner’s distinctive style by incorporating a custom-made design into an entry gate or using decorative hinges and finials. Improvements in manufacturing wrought iron fencing make it much less prone to oxidation and rust.

Ornamental aluminum fencing has a powder-coated finish and is made in sections. Holes or brackets punched in the posts attach the sections of the fencing together. Aluminum fencing is very durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions. The powder-coat finish makes it easy to maintain.

The benefits of an ornamental fence are such that it can provide not only security and privacy, but incorporate individualized architectural interest to a property. Another benefit to ornamental fencing is that it might potentially raise the property’s value. Using low-maintenance fencing materials are an added bonus for any residential or commercial property owner. A well-maintained ornamental fence can add greater focus and highlight a residence or commercial property.

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