If you want to give your house a facelift without embarking on a major renovation, a new fence or updated gate is an ideal way to up the aesthetic appeal of your home’s exterior.

While there’s a lot to consider in terms of a fence’s functionality, it’s equally important to choose a fence that both complements your home and fits in with the aesthetic of your neighborhood. Matt Stanford, a broker at Compass Real Estate, says that the most common styles of homes in Seattle can be broken down into four categories based on the era of construction. First there are “Craftsman style” homes, which were built in the early 20th century. Next there are “war boxes,” which are from the World War II era, followed by “midcentury modern,” constructed in the 1950s and 1960s. Lastly there are the more modern, split-level houses that have been built more recently.

“When it comes to fencing, you’d probably install a different fence for a midcentury modern home than you would for a Craftsman home,” says Stanford.

Unlike a kitchen remodel, Stanford emphasizes the importance of remembering that there are other factors to take into account — namely, what styles of fences and gates are on your street and in your neighborhood?

“A lot of homeowners don’t consider this,” Stanford says. “They just say, ‘I’ll put up a six-foot-tall cedar fence,’ and then you’ll look down the street and they’re the only ones that have this fence that’s a barrier to the neighbors.” He recommends taking a walk along your street and around your neighborhood to see what types of fences other homeowners have and to take this into consideration when choosing your own fence style.

For an older home, such as a Craftsman style, Evan Young of All City Fence recommends an ornamental iron fence because the clean lines complement the home’s linear style. He says this is a popular choice for bigger, older homes in Seattle.

If you want to do something unique and unexpected that doesn’t clash with your home or your neighborhood’s aesthetic, Young says a hog-wire fence is a great option. Hog wire fences, often seen in farm settings, use metal or wood borders to hold an open framework of crossed wire in place.

“It may seem out of place in a neighborhood like Capitol Hill where ornamental iron is common due to the home styles, but that’s not to say it wouldn’t work there,” he says. “The early 20th-century houses typically have ornamental iron fences, but a hog wire fence is a nice metal fence that has an airy, welcoming look rather than a solid board look.”

That said, Young notes that certain fences tend to be safe bets to complement most styles of homes. In particular, he notes that a cedar fence looks good with any home style. “The beauty of a cedar fence is that it pretty much goes with anything,” says Young.

He cites a “Good Neighbor Fence” as one of the most popular fences with All City and other fencing companies. A Good Neighbor Fence, which is typically made with wood, is a privacy fence that separates two properties and is equally attractive on both sides.

Fences and gates aren’t limited to your home’s entrance. Young says that All City constructs many custom trellises and arbors within people’s yards in order to complement their plants. Although sometimes these gates and arbors are constructed using cedar, the preferred style is ornamental iron because they tend to last longer, they’re sturdier and they look beautiful with vines and plants. If you’re looking to highlight plants in your yard, Young recommends either a scallop top or an arch top for the ornamental iron gate.

When you’re ready to begin the process of building a fence or gate, Stanford emphasizes the importance of doing as much research as possible so you can provide a detailed description to the fence company.


“The best advice I have is to take the time [to research],” says Stanford. Before contacting a fence company, he recommends browsing online for ideas or seeking the opinion of a professional like a real estate agent or an architect. “It doesn’t take a ton of research to figure out what your options will be and point you in the right direction,” he says.

After some online research and, in some cases the input of a professional, contact a reputable fencing company and be prepared to describe — or better yet, provide a photo — of what you have in mind. But don’t panic if you can’t find a photo that matches your vision. Young says that during consultations he can show clients photos of various options based on the description of what they have in mind.

“A prepared person tends to fare a lot better and is ready and equipped in order for the fencing company to do their job,” says Stanford. “Like anything else, being prepared is so key. People say it’s just a fence, but think of the amount of opportunity and possibilities of what it could look like.”

At All City Fence, we source the best materials available to make sure your fence matches up to our high standards. When planning your fence, call the professionals. We’re here to help with every step: advice, material sales and more!