An Expert Guide to Timber Fencing Styles

Despite taking pride in being an authorised Colorbond fence installer, Pride Fencescapes knows it isn’t for everyone. Costing an average of AUD$125 to AUD$150 per metre, some people can’t afford the initial cost of installing Colorbond. However, it’s a worthwhile investment.

If you need a more affordable fencing solution, look no further than timber fencing. Although less long-lasting or sturdy than Colorbond, timber fencing designs are easy to install and add natural beauty to your landscape. Also, they use timber treated with a widely used preservative called copper chrome arsenic (CCA), protecting it against decay and wood eaters like termites.

A timber fencing Gold Coast company can help you decide what looks good for your home, but if timber fences have one major advantage over Colorbond, it’s that they come in multiple different styles. Let’s look at these styles below:

Picket Style

Any conversation on timber fences can’t be complete without mentioning a timeless design: the picket fence. First made popular in the U.S. in the late 1800s, this arrangement of evenly spaced white wooden pickets has become an icon of modern home living. However, that’s somewhat in part of homeowners’ associations in the U.S. requiring uniformity in every property.

The presence of gaps between pickets makes this design less resource-intensive, namely in the amount of timber. Experts advise spacing the pickets by 25 mm to 35 mm, depending on how much you want to save on materials. To ensure uniformity, cut out a block of wood according to the preferred gap width to use as a spacer.

Picket fences don’t necessarily have to have ornate picket heads. Some households choose flat heads to save time and money on sawing the heads. Otherwise, choose from the following:

  • Pointy head – the classic picket fence look, ideal for achieving a Victorian-style look
  • Round head – heads cut in a semicircle, most beautiful for fencing in the countryside
  • Other shapes – intricate designs that include acorn, spade, and paddle, among others

Despite its beauty and cost-effectiveness, picket designs don’t make good privacy fences unless you fill every inch with pickets. On top of that, fence heights on the low end (1.2 metres in most states, 0.5 metres in Queensland) won’t be effective in keeping out trespassers.

Panelled style

Panelled fences are wooden fence styles that enjoy the best of both worlds. Apart from adding natural beauty to your property, they prevent prying eyes from seeing inside. This design is highly popular among Australian households despite costing a bit more than the picket style.

However, to say that panelled fences don’t have gaps isn’t entirely correct. To understand this, it’s worth knowing the two subtypes: butted and lapped fencing.

Butted fencing entails arranging the palings to “butt up” or grind against each other to leave no gaps in the fence. But as soon as the wood is exposed to the elements, it begins to lose moisture and shrinks, leaving small gaps between the palings. Timber experts estimate seasoned timber may shrink by 15% across its three dimensions, while unseasoned ones can shrink by 25%.

To deal with this, most professionals design fences with overlapping palings, known as lapped fencing. In doing so, the shrinkage doesn’t leave gaps, resulting in a non-seamless but stylish appearance. This design can also benefit from capping the top and bottom of the fence, referred to as lapped and capped timber fencing.

Paint or stain?

Over the course of erecting your timber fencing, you may want to give it a fresh coat of paint or wood stain it. Leaving the wood as is can be an option, but you’d want it to endure as much of Australia’s harsh climate as possible. An extra protective layer won’t hurt.

Painting is an obvious choice if you want to colour your fence anyway you like. The additives in most paint formulas provide additional properties like preventing bacterial growth and enhancing all-weather resilience. But paint will chip and fade over time, prompting a repaint every five to ten years, depending on the paint’s quality.

Staining offers fewer colour options, but it isn’t a problem for anyone preferring wood’s natural look. Wood stains last longer because they permeate deep into the wood, unlike paint which sits on the surface. However, they don’t offer as much protection from the elements, and the initial cost is higher than painting.

Ultimately, like choosing among the various types of timber fences, the decision to paint or stain one boils down to preference. Being aware of the pros and cons of each option can help you save time and money in the long term.


Timber fencing is a great option for people looking for elegant fences that won’t break the bank. You can settle for the picket fence to give your home a classic feel or the panelled fence to feel safer. As with other aspects of home improvement, the better option is what you make of it.

If you still have trouble choosing, don’t hesitate to get an expert opinion from Pride Fencescapes. Give us a call.