Six Types of Privacy Fences

Greg Spevack

December 29, 2022

The privacy fence is an essential element of your home. It protects you and your family from nosy neighbors, while also providing security for children and pets. There are multiple types of privacy fencing that will work for any budget or aesthetic preference.

In this article we’ll cover the multiple design options and materials. We’ll also talk about what to look for when choosing the right type of fence for your needs. We want you to have the information to get started on planning out a beautiful new addition to your home!

Options in Privacy Fence Design

Privacy fence designs range from formal and forbidding to charming and welcoming. In addition to their look and feel, fence designs vary in the amount of privacy they provide.

Because your fence affects the ambiance of your whole landscape, it’s worth taking some time to get familiar with the options available, and then weigh the pros and cons of each.


stockade privacy fence
Interior view of stockade style privacy fence with dog eared pickets.

The stockade style fence is the most common type of privacy fence. Often when homeowners seek an estimate for a privacy fence what they mean in a stockade fence.

These fences consist of side-by-side boards with no gap. The top of the fence can be finished with simple pointed pickets or gothic points for more style. The pointed pickets provide security by discouraging climbers.

For even more style a horizontal top rail or cap can be added for a more finished look. See our article on design ideas for privacy fences for inspiration.

Shadow Box

shadow box privacy fence
Shadow box privacy fence

Shadow box fences, also referred to as “shadowbox”, are one the most popular option for creating back yard privacy.

In this design, boards are placed on opposite sides of the central rail with alternating positioning to create a symmetrical pattern that looks the same from both sides. These fences earn the nickname the “good neighbor fence” since your neighbors see the same finished look as you.

In order to provide privacy, the alternating boards typically placed close enough to eliminate gaps between the boards’ edges. However, airflow is still able to pass in between boards. On the downside, this means that individuals at an angle are able to see through it as well.

Typically shadow box fences will be built with wood. Pressure treated pine is a common choice with cedar being an upgrade in appearance and cost.

You can also purchase vinyl shadow box fence panels in six foot sections.

Board on Board

board on board privacy fence
Board on board privacy fence

Board on board fencing is constructed with overlapping vertical pickets. Every other board covers the gap between the two underneath pickets. Unlike a shadowbox fence there is no space between the alternating pickets. All of the pickets are attached to the same side of the rails.

A board on board fence will be very study and afford complete privacy. The cost will be higher since more pickets are needed due to the overlap.

Lock Board

lockboard privacy fence
Lock board privacy fence

This type of fence has boards fit together tongue-and-groove style to create a solid panel that blocks the view. Lock board fencing will be even more sturdy than a stockade fence.

Unlike a stockade fence, there is no visible gap to allow for expansion. The expansion and contraction takes place within the tongue-and-groove.

A solid lock-board fence will block airflow. This can protect your living area from windy conditions, but will prevent a breeze from cooling you on a hot day.

Lock board fences constructed of cedar provide durability and nice aesthetics.


lattice privacy fence
Lattice privacy fence

A lattice fence, created from thin slats installed in an open criss-cross pattern, is a more decorative type of privacy fence. Usually this fence will be constructed from pre-built lattice fence panels.

Although not providing complete privacy on its own, a climbing vine can be trained to cover up the fence and increase your level of privacy.

Another option is to install a lattice detail on top of a solid fence, such as a stockade or shadowbox fence. The solid privacy fence protect most of your yard from prying eyes, with the lattice top providing an open appearance and visual interest.


horizontal privacy fence

A horizontal privacy fence will be built in the same style as a stockade or shadowbox fence just with the pickets running horizontally. Horizontal fencing provides a modern contemporary look.

White not necessary you often seem horizontal fences finished with flat top rail.

Horizontal fences will be more expensive than vertical fences because they require a higher grade of lumber. The horizontal pickets will sag over time if quality lumber is not used.

Choosing A Material for Your Privacy Fence

Beyond choosing privacy fence design you also have some choices in materials


As the most popular material for privacy fences, wood is suitable For every type of home and landscape. The preferred options for wood fencing included:

  • Pressure treaded pine – also includes Spruce and Fir
  • Cedar
  • Redwood
  • Western Red Cedar
  • Eastern White Cedar

All of these choices offer tradeoffs between cost, durability and aesthetics.

Vinyl (PVC)

Vinyl offers a durable, low maintenance alternative to wood. Vinyl is stronger than wood and doesn’t rot, split or warp or attract insects. You can clean it with soap and water or a power washer.

You do not have to settle for a bight white vinyl fence. Vinyl fencing now come in a wide variety of colors, so it should be easy to find one that you like.


Aluminum privacy fence provide more strength and durability that a typical vinyl or wood privacy fence. An aluminum privacy fence is also outstanding choice for privacy and protection. You can get aluminum fence panels in a shadowbox and board on board styles. Aluminum also makes a great material for privacy fencing in a commercial or industrial application.


Bamboo fencing is a quick and easy way to provide privacy around your outdoor space such as a yard, pool, or hot tub. The fencing is attractive, easy to install, and costs a fraction of other wood privacy fences. Bamboo is a fencing material that also provides its own unique look.

Bamboo privacy fencing comes in rolls or in pre-built panels. The tall bamboo poles are mounted close together which blocks the view of neighbors or passers by. Bamboo fencing not only looks good but is also a sound investment because it provides an economical and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional wood fences.

Allowed Privacy Fences in Southwest Florida

You will need to check your local county ordinances and any rules your homeowners association may have regarding fence installation.

For instance Manatee County allows privacy fences to be eight feet tall while the Whitfield Residential Overlay District is limited to six feet. You will also find restrictions on materials and color choice.


A privacy fence provides you with a private space in your yard and garden. Whether you want to have a light, breezy fence or one that is completely secluded, there are designs out there for what you’re looking for.

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