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Farm Fence Ideas | 5 Innovative Homestead Fence Designs and Styles

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If you’re looking for sleek, durable fence design ideas for your farm or homestead, you’re in the right place. We’re about to analyze what farm fencing is, its benefits, what it costs, how long it lasts, and more. Plus, we’ll look at five different styles of farm fences to consider, each with its unique set of advantages.

We’ll take a quick look at our favorite fence types below.

Farm Fence StyleDescription
Paddock FencePaddock fences are perfect for enclosing areas around your stable or barn. They keep your horses and cattle safe! Paddock fences usually have up to four horizontal rails made from sturdy wood. Some also have metal mesh to help prevent small farmyard dogs, chickens, or animals from escaping – or to prevent wiley predators from entering.
Crossbuck Horse FenceCrossbuck fences are a post and rail fence variation. They have a famous X design between posts. They’re perfect for establishing boundaries on your homestead without building an overly tall fence. They’re also aesthetically pleasing – and provide a laidback or rural farmyard atmosphere.
Split-Rail Wooden FenceSplit-rail fences are our favorite decorative fences for small farms and homesteads. They also work beautifully to help enclose horses. Split-rail fences use large and heavy-duty rails fixed in the ground as posts. The posts should stay evenly spaced – with two or three-layer horizontal rails connecting the posts.
Round Rail Wood Homestead FenceRound rail fences are similar to split-rail wooden fences. They’re beautiful decorative fences perfect for marking boundaries around your homestead. They’re also famous for horse paddocks. Round rail fences usually use round-milled fence posts. They almost always appear uniform, chic, circular, and sleek.
Wood & Chain LinkWood and chain link fences are perfect for establishing boundaries on your homestead where privacy isn’t your top concern. They make excellent rudimentary enclosures for chickens, turkeys, ducks, or rabbits. They offer protection from predators while granting your poultry plenty of leeway to escape predators – if necessary. Wood and chain link fences usually have wooden rails and posts – with chain links offering more protection.
5 Best Farm Fence Styles and Ideas

We also have a ton of farm fence ideas to consider. Our ideas include many little-known insights that all homesteaders should know!

Sound exciting??

I think so, too – let’s go!

What Is Wooden Farm Fencing?

Rustic, classic, wooden farm and homestead fencing is any fence primarily constructed of wood and used on a farm or homestead to delineate property boundaries, contain livestock, separate pastures or paddocks, protect garden areas, enhance security, and increase privacy.

Farm fencing is built mainly of wood. But it can also contain wire mesh, vertical wires, high-tensile wire, chain link fence, barbed wire fence, and other construction materials to meet the unique needs and goals of the builder.

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Real Wood Farm Fence Benefits

There are loads of benefits of wooden farm fencing that make it valuable, including:

  • Wood is paintable and stainable, meaning you can change its appearance at will
  • Wooden fencing increases your farm charm with rustic, classic, welcoming aesthetics
  • Wood is an affordable, versatile, durable material that allows you to create various designs
  • It’s simple and fast to make repairs to a single section of fencing if it gets damaged or needs modification

Wood is also surprisingly durable, even compared to metal fences, especially if you choose highly rot-resistant types like cypress, oak, walnut, redwood, and cedar.

Which Type of Wood is Best for Building Farm Fencing?

There are many types of wood, and almost all can make excellent homestead field fences. However, some are much more available than others, and you also need to consider price and durability.

Exposure to natural elements – like animals, wind, rain, snow, and hail – is commonplace on the homestead. So, the wood you use should be able to withstand these natural forces without readily incurring damage. Cedarwood and redwood are always solid choices for a permanent fence because they are heavily saturated with natural oils and are more resistant to rotting or otherwise degrading.

However, the best wood for building fencing costs more than other, more affordable options. Depending on your budget, it may be wiser to choose some pine wood variety and give it a coat of quality paint or stain to increase its durability and longevity. However, even when painted or stained, pine requires more long-term maintenance. So, consider these variables and long-term implications when choosing the best fencing material. Sometimes, a more significant upfront investment is best!

We also analyze some of the most prominent wood for fences below.

Farm Fencing Wood TypeDescription
CedarCedar is arguably the most versatile fencing material. It also has several hidden benefits – like a natural ability to deter many insects. It’s rot and decay-resistant. Untreated cedar fences can last around 15 years. But – treating the cedar fence can increase the sustainability to approximately 25 years.
PinePine is one of the most affordable wooden fence post materials. Pine is also one of the most popular options – so you can easily find various colors and styles. Untreated pine fencing is relatively vulnerable and only lasts around five years. But – treated pine fences can last longer – up to 30 years.
RedwoodRedwood is an excellent wood for nearly all fence projects. Redwood has natural oils that help ward off decay, insects, and moisture. It’s also tremendously dense and heavy, meaning it will last a long time. A treated redwood fence can easily last 30 years. But its heavy-duty nature also means it’s much harder to work with when assembling the fence!
SpruceSpruce trees are one of the most famous woods for fences. They’re also one of the most affordable options. The only problem with spruce fences is that they don’t last nearly as long as redwood or cedar. Expect your untreated spruce fence to last for around three to five years. Luckily – treated spruce can last much longer, up to 20 years. Spruce tends to wilt in humid climates.
CypressCypress is an excellent fencing option for Southern US states – like Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Delaware. Cypress trees thrive down south in moist soils – so it might be one of the lowest-cost options for residents in those areas. Aside from the low cost, cypress also boasts excellent insect and rot resistance. Cypress fences can last up to 15 or 20 years.
Best Farm Fencing Wood Types

There are other farm fence considerations to make.

They are as follows.

How Long Do Homestead Fences Last?

The type and quality of wood used to build fencing matter most regarding endurance and long service life. However, other factors matter, too, including:

  1. The size of lumber used to construct the fence
  2. Where you live & the climatic conditions at hand
  3. The skills & conscientiousness of the fence builders
  4. How well the fencing gets maintained through the years

So, you might read that a typical farm fence will last 10, 15, 20 years, or however long. But there’s no golden rule. Each fence’s longevity is unique – based on various conditions. A wood farm fence might last ten years or 100 years!

Related – How to Make a Wattle Fence – Step-by-Step DIY Guide!

How Much Does an Acre of Farm Fencing Cost to Build?

Again, the type and size of lumber you choose to build your homestead fence with will have a massive impact on the price. Plus, it’s not a secret that lumber prices have skyrocketed over the past few years, and there’s no real sign of that reversing anytime soon. 

(NOTE: We also noticed a massive variance in wood pricing between vendors. In other words – some suppliers charge way more for wood than others. So – check several local lumber yards – and shop around for the best deals!)

Aside from materials, other factors that will determine the total cost of your farm fence include:

  • Whether you will be using wire mesh, chicken wire, chain link fencing, or other materials
  • The need to clear vegetation or remove existing structures before building
  • Whether you’re building it yourself or paying for labor
  • Whether or not you’re building an electric fence
  • The terrain of your homestead and fence perimeter
  • Monitoring cameras
  • Security system
  • Fence height
  • Post spacing
  • Gates

Some online sources claim that an acre’s fencer perimeter will cost $2,000, and others say it will cost $40,000. For instance, HomeAdvisor states that farm fencing costs between $2 and $20 per linear foot. There are roughly 209 linear feet in the perimeter of an acre of land.

As you can see – that fencing quote is vague. To say the least!

So, my best advice is to consult with a local fence-building company and ask questions about your goals, local wood costs, climate, and terrain.

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5 Innovative Farm-Style Fence Ideas

Whether you want a farm fence to mark the boundaries of your property lines, separate paddocks or pastures, or enhance the aesthetics of your land, there’s a style to fit your needs! Let’s look at five types of fences and brainstorm more homestead fence installation ideas and what you’ll need to bring them to life.

1. Standard Paddock Fence

A lovely fence gate and paddock on a back country rural farm.

Traditional paddock fences are what strikes many homesteaders’ minds when they envision country settings and farmland. A simple example of a backcountry paddock-style fence is 4×4 posts spaced 8 feet apart and joined with three or four rows of cross-member wooden slats, typically 2x6s.

Paddocks are used primarily for containing or exercising farm animals, especially horses. That being so, horses are spirited animals. As such – many might try escaping if they can. That’s why paddock fencing has been a popular choice for horse owners. They create a visual or a psychological barrier. Compare the impressive nature of a paddock fence to an electrical fence, which is a very poor visual deterrent.

And, of course, if a horse or other larger animal gets shocked by an electric fence, it may end up entangled in the fencing, but that doesn’t happen with paddock fencing. Horses don’t get tangled up in 2x6s! But – you must set your post and horizontal boards high enough to keep the horses from jumping over them.

Related – How to Build a Fence Gate That Won’t Sag In 11 Easy Steps!

PRO TIP # 1 – Pay Extra for Quality & Strength

I’ve built fences, decks, barns, houses, apartment buildings, and more for over four decades. I’ve paid attention along the way. And I can tell you that size matters for wooden fence posts or any posts. Bigger is better! When properly installed (see below), a heftier fence post is sturdier than a tinier post. It seems simple because it is! The drawback is that 6×6 posts often cost over twice as much as 4x4s. But if you can fit it in with your budget, do it.

2. Wooden Crossbuck Horse Fence

A green hose atop a rustic white wooden crossbuck fence.

A crossbuck fence is a variation of the traditional paddock fence. The difference is that it features a crossbuck. A crossbuck is simply two 2x6s that cross in the center of each fencing section to form an X. The X gets secured in between horizontal top and bottom cross members that run parallel to one another. Red oak, pine, maple, and cedar are popular wood choices for this type of farm fencing. And you can spruce up the posts with ornamental globe tops!

3. Split-Rail Wooden Fence (Ranch Rail Fence)

Farmyard house with a long wooden split rail fence along a grassy field.

Like a traditional paddock fence, the split rail wooden fence is a type of fence that is a set of vertical posts and horizontal rails. However, instead of two-by-six horizontal slats, split rail fencing has rails that are, you guessed it: split! At the mill, logs are split with commercial-grade saws, creating rough-hewn edges. Then, they’re cut to lengths, typically 8 or 10 feet, to make fence rails. This simple fence design is easy to maintain and lasts for many years.

The posts come from the mill with pre-drilled holes to accept the ends of the split rails. This type of fencing has worked for centuries worldwide, and it’s hard to deny its simple, pastoral charm. You can use it to delineate property boundaries, keep your animals where you want them to be, or even add decorative accents to sections of your gardens.

The Fence Bible | Jeff Beneke
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The Fence Bible by Jeff Beneke is an excellent field guide for homesteaders, farmers, and homeowners building a DIY fence. The book contains everything you need to plan, build, and install lovely homestead fences and gates. The book also covers a variety of fencing styles for establishing boundaries or adding an elegant aesthetic touch.

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05/09/2024 07:44 am GMT

PRO TIP # 2 – Properly Setting a Wooden Post

Setting fence posts is labor-intensive work. A day in the sun digging holes is backbreaking – even if you have a mechanical auger! So, do it thoroughly and do it well. That way, you only have to do it once. Get your post hole deep enough so it’s below the frost line where you live. I like to go at least 12 inches deeper. Then, I add a layer of several rocks to form the bottom. And then, tamp them down with a 4×4 post, embedding them into the clay earth.

Next, I use a coarse gravel layer and then pee gravel. I like to place my post, even if it’s pressure-treated, in a heavy-duty trash bag and secure the bag to the fence post tightly with duct tape before setting it. Then, I establish my fence post and use a post leveler to get it perfectly vertical in all directions. Then, I brace the fence post off and set it in concrete. After the concrete cures, I pack the remainder of the hole with pee gravel, top it with dirt, and then tamp it all down. And when I install the railing system, everything locks in so securely that you could run into it with an M1A2 Abrams tank, and it won’t budge!

4. Round Rail Wood Homestead Fence

Wintry scene depicting a round post wooden fence around horse stables.

A round rail farm fence is a variation of the split rail fence. But instead of split logs for rails, it features rounded rails! (You guessed again!) You can order rounded fence posts to match for an impressive, classy appearance. Or, you can use standard square posts. Round rail fencing systems are typically available in 2- and 3-rail kits with 4-inch posts – with end chamfering. Again, I suggest upgrading your post diameter or thickness to 6 inches for added strength, endurance, and visual satisfaction. Leading manufacturers offer treated pine, redwood, and cedar kits with 48-inch and 60-inch heavy-duty gates.

Related – 15 Cheap Fence Ideas and Designs for Privacy and Utility!

PRO TIP # 3 – Screwing Your Fence!

For at least a few decades, I’ve been telling fellow homesteaders to use nails to hold things in place while they screw them. A screw provides far superior holding power than an ordinary or galvanized nail. Properly driven screws handle freezing and thawing much better than nails, and they don’t pop out of place and degrade the integrity of what you build.

I know screws cost more than nails, but they’re worth every penny. Also, take a little extra time to lay out the position of each screw with a tape measure, pencil, and a speed square. Keep your screws equidistant and straight – consistent on each rail or cross member you affix. This focus is a necessary sign of professionalism, and it matters.

Two backyard ducks exploring their backyard forage area near a wooden chainlink fence.

You can add chain link fencing to all of the above farm fences to increase their capacity to keep your animals in, keep wild animals and unwanted visitors out, prolong durability, enhance privacy, and even improve the appraisal value of your farm or homestead. Be sure to stretch the chain link tight before securing it to the fence frame, and always leave several inches at the bottom to run underneath the dirt, making it much more difficult for anything to dig under the fence line. Also, some homesteaders and farmers include sections of electric fencing in their overall wood and chain link fencing design. The possibilities are endless.

5 innovative homestead fence design ideas for nearly any style homestead.

Let’s Close the Gate!

Installing wood fences at your homestead or farm has many benefits for protecting livestock, marking your boundaries, separating paddocks, keeping predators and pests out of your garden, and increasing the value of your property. I hope you have found the information presented in this post helpful and you understand the realm of fencing better now than you did before.

As a final tip, whether installing fencing, building a deck, or any other construction project, do your research, prepare well, and perform with attention to the tiniest details. And if you have doubts about your ability to do the work, consider spending more to have a professional do it for you. The results that an expert can achieve will be more aesthetically pleasing, secure, and durable for a long time to come.

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2 Comments

  1. Just as an FYI: the photos with the horizontal boards on the outside of a fence, look nice, however, if you have animals that feel “the other side is better”, they will push the boards and eventually loosen or remove them completely. A better solution is to put the boards on with them on the INSIDE of the pasture/paddock. That way when they push against them, the vertical posts will keep them from pulling nails out and damaging the cross bars.
    Just something I learned the hard way with my cows.

    1. Hey Carol!

      That’s a genius insight that I’m afraid many homesteaders (including me) can easily overlook. Lol.

      As always, I appreciate your homesteading wisdom and attention to detail.

      Cordially,

      Mike

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