You have many options and choices for a home fence, including its material, style, and even its color. This can be good as it means you're sure to find a fence that fits your yard and your style, but it can also leave you feeling a little overwhelmed. Here are a few terms to learn before you shop so you can better understand the options and make the best choice for your property.

1. Racking

A stick-built fence is a wooden fence that uses individual slats or boards that are nailed to a long rail. Racking refers to following the landscape when you apply these boards; if your yard dips down a bit, the rails would follow this angle and then the individual slats or boards would be staggered downward or upward. Racking can be a good choice for when you want the fence to follow the hills and valleys of your yard, versus staying in a static line no matter the slope of the ground underneath the fence.

2. Stair stepping

Stair stepping is another way that fences may follow the landscape of your yard if it should have any hills and valleys. However, with stair stepping, short fence panels are installed at staggered heights, rather than having individual slats and boards that are staggered. The width of the panels can make for a more uniform and clean appearance in your yard than using individual boards. Stair stepping can be done with metal, wood, or vinyl fences, or any fence material that comes in short panels.

3. Shadowbox panels

When installing a wood fence, you might add alternating slats or boards to each side of the rail, so that the fence looks the same from either side; this is called a shadowbox. This type of wood fence may allow in more light and air than a fence built with slats or boards attached to one side of the rails only, since the slats would be staggered back and forth versus being built in a straight, solid line.

4. Component fencing

The term component fencing means that the fence comes in individual pieces that you would need to put together in your yard; this is the opposite of preassembled fencing, which may have individual slats already attached to rails and which may come in very long widths. Component fencing may be more difficult for homeowners to assemble and install themselves, but note that they may also give you more options for installing a fence over an uneven surface, as you could more readily stagger the pieces, as mentioned above. Long lengths of preassembled panels may not work on uneven ground, so you would need to have your yard graded properly before you could use some preassembled fences.

For more information, talk to a professional like Combined Metal Industries.