And still other times, there is a happy marriage between form and function. Regarding the matter of form, it is natural enough to ask whether the homeowner and passersby alike will find a fence visually appealing.

As with any hardscape, visually appealing fence design will consider compatibility with both the style of your home and the style of your landscape.

Incidentally, even wooden picket fences, to say nothing of solid barrier fences, can create “microclimates” in a garden.

Only a “airy and loose” fence design such as that of split rail fences fails to create microclimates. For more on this and similar matters, see my piece on fence line landscaping.

Some examples of fence designs that match particular home styles. By contrast, split-rail fences, for instance, go better with ranch-style houses.

Wooden picket fences evoke images of English cottage gardens, which leads us into the component of the question that deals with landscaping compatibility.

Not only wooden picket fences but also split-rail fences and other fence design comprising just rails and posts are commonly used as backdrops for cottage garden plants.

Playing on their Western ties, split-rail fences also match landscapes with a Southwest theme, such as gardens with succulents and cacti.

Sometimes, fence design choice (e.g., split-rail fences) is driven by function. Other times, it is purely a matter of attractive form.