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Horizontal Fence Ideas: Modern Design and Stylish Options

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horizontal backyard privacy fence2

Are you looking for horizontal fence ideas for your backyard?

Horizontal fences are our favorite type of fencing right now. Between our homes, clients’ home and helping friends with their fencing, we’ve built 5 or 6 horizontal fences in the last few years.

In this article, we’ll show you some great looking horizontal fence ideas that you can add to your backyard.

And make sure you scroll to the bottom as we show you several from Instagram.

What is a Horizontal Fence?

Most people are used to seeing the typical vertical slat wood fence structure. You have posts set between 6 to 8 feet apart. You either have vertical slat wood panels attached to the posts or add each fence slat individually.

The horizontal style is a great privacy fence idea for your backyard. Horizontal fences last just as long as any other wooden fences as well.

You still have posts set the same distance with horizontal fencing, but the wood slats are 1X3, 1X4, or 1X6 width boards with smooth surfaces. Most vertical boards are usually rough cut cedar. They are fuzzy or rough to the touch and aren’t planed smooth.

You can also use other materials laid out horizontally, like corrugated metal for the fence, or vinyl, but most people use different types of wood for their fence structures.

Horizontal fences usually cost more than vertical fences because you can’t use the inexpensive fence boards without modifying them. But many people who choose these types of fences are going for a certain look and aren’t worrying about the price per square foot.

1. Varying Width Horizontal Wood Fence

I love these varying width horizontal fences. They really draw the eye and add variation to your backyard.

Since there are different widths to deal with, this fence will take a little longer to build. Plus, it’s not the cheapest fence to build. Or, if you hire a contractor, the labor cost will be more due to the extra complexity of installing the varying widths pattern.

2. Metal Accent Horizontal Wood Fence

horizontal fence with metal accents

The last two fences we built had metal accents. We really like the look of this mixed media fence. The metal creates more privacy and will last a long time, compared to an all wood fence.

We used 8 foot long metal roofing panels laid horizontally between 4×4 posts. Both sides of the fence look good, so consider it a good neighbor fence as well. Plus, the metal can be less expensive than the price of using all wood boards for the fencing.

3. Dark Horizontal Wood Fence

If you’re looking for a modern look for your backyard, then you can add a level of elegance by choosing to stain or paint your wood fence black.

Luckily today’s outdoor stains for pressure treated wood work really well and can save you a lot of money by using inexpensive wood. If you live in an area that gets a lot of direct sun you will need to reapply stain every couple of years as the darker stains fade quickly in the sun.

4. Stepped Horizontal Fence

Stepped horizontal fences are great if you have a graded yard or if your house is on an incline. It’s also used as a transition on a front side area between you and your neighbor’s yard.

While the picture above shows a dramatic decrease in height between fence panels, with a sloped yard, you would build the panels the same height. As the yard slopes up or down, even though the panels are the same height, you will get the staggered look similar to the picture above.

5. Barn Door Gate Horizontal Fence

horizontal fence with metal accents gate

Add a little extra pizzazz to your horizontal fence by creating a barn door gate for it. If you’re looking to build the fence yourself, this structure is super easy and is great if you don’t have the space for a hinged gate.

This is a easy project to any level of DIY homeowners. All the hardware was bought at tractor supply and rated for outdoor use. Here are the supplies needed for this 4 foot wide gate opening.

  • 8 foot galvanized box rail
  • 2 box rail hanger straps with nylon bearing
  • 5 box rail face mounted straps single
  • 2 2x4x8 pressure treated wood gate frame
  • matching fence wood slats and metal

Maybe you have plants or a structure near the gate. In that instance, the barn door will work well. They latch easily so they stay shut when you want them to.

6. Horizontal Louvered Fence

You know how you can switch your blinds a certain way where you can see out, but people can see in? That’s what I love about this horizontal louvered fence. Building this fence will be more labor intensive than a regular vertical or horizontal fence.

There’s 2 different ways to build this fence.

  • Easiest way is use metal brackets attached at an angle to the 4×4 with the slats installed on top of the brackets. Using a jig to set the spacing of the wood will be necessary. Use black hardware so it won’t be seen like shiny silver.
  • Build louvered panels separately by screwing the angled louvers to a 2×6 frame board, then attach the panels between each 4×4 post. You can also rout out slots to insert the angled boards instead of screwing.

Create the best angle of the wood board where you can see out if you need to, but people can’t easily see into your backyard.

7. Shadow Box Horizontal Fence

A shadow box fence is considered the “good neighbor” fence, whether you have a horizontal fence or a vertical one. That’s because the posts and boards look good/same from either side of the fence.

Another benefit of the shadow box style fence is better airflow from the gaps between boards. This is great for high wind areas and if you get a lot of rain since the boards will dry quicker and not rot as fast.

This fence is created by placing boards on both sides between the 4×4 posts. Because of the gap, there is an angle where people can see part of your backyard through the fence.

If you want more privacy, simple install the boards closer together leaving smaller gaps between them. In my opinion I think the shadow box horizontal fencing has better privacy than the vertical shadow box style.

8. Container Garden Horizontal Fence

Horizontal fences really lend themselves to adding containers in the slats for easy herb gardens or other container garden ideas.

I also love this because you can change up the containers each season to add a little different look to your backyard.

Make sure you don’t add too many containers to one fence panel, since the weight will pull on the fence slats.

It won’t bother the fence structure if you have just a few but too many and you could see some leaning. Spread the containers out over more fence panels to be safe.

9. Corrugated Metal Horizontal Fence

This horizontal fence idea is a metal roof panel framed with 2×4 boards, attached between 4×4 posts. Using 3 panels that are 2 foot wide will give you a 6 foot tall fence.

This is a great privacy fence since there are no gaps where people can see into your backyard. You can choose different corrugated metal shapes to create the style you prefer.

When adding metal to your fence, it will get hot if it’s in direct sun. We notice this with our partial metal fence, so be mindful if you plant anything up against your fence.

10. Horizontal Fence with Shelving

A horizontal fence with shelving is a great looking fence. It takes the container garden idea to a new level. To create this type of fence, you’ll install the horizontal boards on the front of the 4x4s with no gaps then secure the shelving to the horizontal boards.

When you have shelving on your fence, the possibilities are endless for everything you can add to them. You can create more backyard lighting, add bird feeders, fairy houses, or anything that suits your style.

11. Horizontal Vinyl Fence

Like the corrugated metal, vinyl is a different look and feel from most of our shared fences. Most people still choose wood for price and availability.

Though the vinyl fence will cost more, it should also last longer than a wood fence. And, it should be fairly easy to maintain because you don’t need to worry about staining or that it will rot. The biggest thing you’ll probably have to do with vinyl is it if it gets that green, mildew look.

Do make sure you choose a high quality vinyl fence that won’t crack or degrade from the sun’s UV rays

Bonus Instagram Inspiration

More Inspiration
Look how neat and tidy this double swing gate looks! Our horizontal slats are a super popular style.
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"From Hill to Haven: Transforming landscapes, one wall at a time. 🏞️🌿 
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We hope this article helped you find the perfect horizontal fence for your backyard. If you have fur babies that you need contained, check out our dog fence ideas if you don’t already have a backyard fence.

We also showcase 38 cheap landscaping ideas to make your backyard look better without a big budget.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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