If you live where white picket fences are traditional, you might be forgiven for thinking they are much of a muchness, but to my English eyes, they seem sweetly evocative and almost quirky. For years, a shot of roses tumbling over and around a white picket fence topped my Photography Wants List: the American version of a cottage garden with roses around the door.
While my sweetheart was trying to decide what style of fence he wanted last year, we paid extra attention. During a couple of days spent in Florida, a gardener suggested we visit a neighbourhood for inspiration, between Seagrove Beach and Seaside, where different styles of white picket fence sit companionably alongside each other. While I didn’t fully satisfy my rose cravings there, I saw just about every style of picket fence I could imagine. I hope you’ll forgive me for sharing some of them here.
Anyone planning to install a white picket fence around their garden will find some ideas to consider. Those of us whose climate is more temperate rainforest than sunny beach (and where winter is still upon us) can just enjoy the virtual stroll.
While combining basic elements, a picket fence permits many ornamental styles. As well as the materials, homeowners choose the design of the posts and finials; the shape, spacing and patterning of the uprights (or pickets); and the outline or profile of the fence.
Most gardens had the pickets on the outside of the rails. Neighbouring homes demonstrate the effect of having the pickets inwards or outwards… or you could choose to have both:
Various shades of white helped unify the community, but there was plenty of scope for self-expression. Contemporary, minimalist, toothpick-style fences abutted fancier French Gothic ones. I might have expected a home to stick with a single style, but often the railings on fences, balconies, stair rails, and on garden features such as gates, arches, pillars and pergolas were in different styles. I dare say they had been added or repaired at different times, as budgets allowed.
I imagine you’ll have seen enough white picket fences to last the rest of the week (if not a lifetime), so as a contrast, I’m signing off with a rustic, weathered picket fence, jazzed up with a painted gate. We saw this some miles away in Grayton Beach.
This is a garden-related outlier in my series of posts on plants that are easily confused, since it fit the ‘Variations on a Theme’ title. The others in the series are:
Primrose, Cowslip or Oxlip
Forget-me-not, Heartleaf or Green Alkanet
Rose, Peony Or Camellia
48 Replies to “Variations on a Theme: White Picket Fences”
So many examples Susan. I like the arched gate 🙂
I like moon gates. I suppose this one counts?
I guess so. I have photos of some Moon gates from around here somewhere
Even though we have picket fences in early 20thC homes here in Australia, most of the ones you have included in this post were new to me and very interesting.
Thanks for sharing, Susan. 🙂
It was certainly a community of people who expressed themselves through their fences.
There certainly are many different styles. We had a picket fence when I was young, and painting it was the worst chore… it took forever when I’d rather be doing anything else. I’ve been opposed to painted fences ever since!
You’re probably a really good painter though, after all your early apprenticeship. My sweetheart says much the same thing about lawns.
All I could think when I looked at these was, “Upkeep!” Here on the Gulf coast, or at least on my part of the Gulf coast, keeping those things clean would be a horror. Of course, the gardens and houses behind those fences suggest that the homeowners probably aren’t the ones keeping them clean. There’s a lot of wooden ‘gingerbread’ trim on Galveston houses, but it’s generally painted a color to complement the house, to help make maintenance less of an issue.
I love seeing the gingerbread trim. White would not be practical in Lancashire gardens either. Black ironwork would be more likely.
On this bleak and cold January day, you could not have given me a lovelier daydream! One cannot make too much muchness over these fences; they are, along with the homes, the stuff of old songs. I couldn’t make up my mind whether I wanted to move into the pink house or the yellow one, and then came the fence with the cocktail glasses and yellow birdhouse. Yes, that one, please! Something tells me your sweetheart invented his own fence. Thanks so much for the colorful walk!
You’re right about the fence of course. A picture has been requested but has not so far been supplied.
What a lovely collection of picket photos you have! Amazing there are so many variations. 😃
I was surprised too.
A wonderfully composed set of an always attractive fencing choice. Down south we do have a few given our less stringent weather
Our weather tends towards the rainy, misty and muddy. I’m sure we must have a white wooden fence somewhere nearby but I wouldn’t know where to find it.
I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated what variety there can be among picket fences! Having studied all of these I’ve concluded I like the simpler ones best 😀
I wonder whether the cocktail glass ones would have a tendency to lure the neighbours round for a party?
My goodness – so many varieties! I always wanted to have a (simple) white picket fence. But where we live is so windy, it would need to be painted every year (or if not wood, it would need to be cleaned). So for now, we’ll skip the pretty white picket fence.
The traditional fences/railings here were iron, but many of them were melted down as a war effort.
Wonderful collection and keen eye for detail!
I’m glad you liked it.