Split Rail Fence Ideas for Your Yard

With the right design, split rail fences can provide the perfect fencing for your property!
Veda Yalamanchili
Veda Yalamanchili
Last Update:
January 11, 2023

Split rail fences are an iconic part of North American design and a great way to add a touch of rustic charm to any home. Not only are they durable and easy to install, but their decorative value is unmatched. With the right design, split rail fences can provide a beautiful backdrop for outdoor living areas, or help define boundaries between properties. These 23 fence ideas will inspire you to create a beautiful, cozy space around your house.

What is a split rail fence? 

Split rail fences have been a feature of rural landscaping for generations. These fences are made of wooden logs and posts and are one of the oldest and most iconic options available today. Split rail fences are often used in front yards as an exciting way to spruce up the landscaping. While some split rails can be made from treated wood or other materials, typical split rail fences are made from pressure-treated pine, cedar, or hemlock logs that have been cut into sections and then spaced evenly between posts. The end result is a unique design that stands out against traditional white vinyl fencing often found in suburban areas. 

Rustic split rail fence ideas and styles

From small backyards to sprawling acres of land, these 3 rustic split rail fence ideas offer a unique and natural look that can instantly transform your yard.

1. Zig Zag Split Rail Fence

A zig-zag split rail fence is a unique and eye-catching way to divide or define your property line. The sophisticated look of this fencing style adds class, charm, and character to any outdoor environment while still providing security. Not only is it attractive, but it’s also incredibly durable and easy to install.

2. Rustic split rail fence with diagonal supports

The rustic look of these traditional split rail fences is undeniable, as they add warmth and familiarity to any yard or field. Whether made from cedar logs or weathered wood, the natural material provides a classic look that pays homage to rural living’s hallowed roots. The staggered posts are usually cut at an angle for added stability, creating an interesting texture and eye-catching view.

3. Authentic Log Cabin Style Split Rail Fences

Authentic log cabin-style split rail fences are an iconic symbol of early American life and culture. For generations, these attractive privacy fences have been used to help define property boundaries, separate pastures for livestock, or simply provide a rustic charm for homes and businesses. The materials used in constructing them—typically cedar logs—are as sturdy and long-lasting as anything in nature.

Two rail split rail fence ideas

Here are some 2-rail split rail fence ideas to create a stunning two-rail split rail fence design that will be special and attractive.

4. Reclaimed Wood Split Rail Fence

The earthy colors, weathered texture, and age-old durability of this fence design make it an ideal choice for anyone looking to add some classic style to their outdoor space. Unlike other types of fence materials that require chemicals or preservatives for preservation, reclaimed wood is already “seasoned” and ready for fence installation.

5. Two Rail Hardwood Split Rail Fence

The natural beauty of 2-rail hardwood split rail fences comes from their fence materials, which are strong yet flexible enough to withstand different weather conditions. This type of fencing is easy to install and maintain due to its simple design, making it ideal for homeowners who want something that doesn’t require much upkeep but still looks great in their gardens or yards.

Three rail split rail fence ideas

Whether you want to create an inviting entranceway or simply keep animals in or out, here are some classic designs that can provide the perfect solution.

6. 3-board split rail fence with wire mesh

Consisting of two posts with three horizontal boards in between, these fences are durable enough to provide an effective border. In addition, the use of wire mesh can greatly increase the efficacy and life span of this type of fence. Wire mesh can be woven between individual sections, or it can be attached to each section by either staples or hog rings; both methods will help secure individual rails in place.

7. Western Red Cedar Split Rail Fences

Western red cedar split rail fences have been used for centuries to mark the boundaries of one's property, as well as to provide a decorative backdrop for the home. The material used in these wooden fences is a type of softwood conifer found mainly in the coastal regions of British Columbia and Washington State. This wood is highly resilient, resistant to weathering and decay, and can last decades with little maintenance.

8. Rustic Locust Split Rail Fences

Constructed with naturally durable and long-lasting locust wood, Rustic Locust Split Rail Fences provide a unique aesthetic that can be both rustic and modern at the same time. The traditional design includes two intertwined wooden rails which are easily installed without complex post-hole digging. Not only do these fences look great, but they also require very low maintenance throughout their lifetime due to the rot-resistant quality of locust wood.

Driveway split rail fence ideas

Check out these ideas to learn about the different types of driveway split rail fence ideas available, and how to choose the right one for your property.

9. Pressure Treated Pine Split Rail Fences

Pressure-treated pine split rail fences are a popular fencing choice for many homeowners because of their uniqueness, durability, and cost-efficiency. Constructed from pressure-treated pine logs which have been debarked, dried, and cut into rails, these fences are designed to provide long-lasting service in even the harshest of outdoor conditions.

10. Traditional Cedar Split Rail Fences

Traditional cedar split rail fences have been used to define properties and provide a natural, rustic look for centuries. These fences are constructed using mortised posts planted in the ground with either two or three horizontal rails running between them. These fence panels are easy to install since no nails, screws, or other wood fence fasteners are needed; all that is required is some basic carpentry skills to put the components together.

11. Precast Concrete Split Rail Fence

A precast concrete split rail fence can be an excellent choice for increasing the curb appeal of a home. Not only is it attractive and easy to maintain, but its long-lasting nature ensures that it will stay looking great over time. Furthermore, unlike other types of fences such as wood fences or vinyl fences, it does not need regular maintenance or repairs due to its weather resilience and low susceptibility to rot or warping.

Modern split rail fence ideas

Check out these modern split rail fence ideas for some inspiration that fits your needs!

12. Composite Wood Split Rail Fencing

When it comes to fence options, composite wood split rail fencing is a popular option. Composite wood split rail fencing is a type of three-rail fence that has the same look and feel as traditional timber split rails with less maintenance and durability. With this type of fence, you get both style and longevity without sacrificing one or the other.

13. Aluminum Split Rail Fences

Aluminum split rail fences are an attractive, low-maintenance option for creating a boundary around the residential or commercial property. The fence material is made of aluminum which offers superior corrosion resistance, making it ideal for coastal climates and other areas of high humidity. Additionally, there is no need for painting or staining since the aluminum material does not require any additional finishing.

White split rail fence ideas

Check out the ideas below and see how you can use white split rail fence panels to add curb appeal to your home!

14. Vinyl Split Rail Fencing

Vinyl split rail fencing has become increasingly popular in recent years for anyone looking to add a stylish yet functional fence type. These types of fences are extremely durable, meaning they won't rot or corrode like traditional wood fences. They come in a variety of colors and sizes to fit the needs of any homeowner.

15. White painted Split Rail Fence with Hedge

A white-painted split rail fence is made up of two rails running parallel along a line that is set in the ground. It can be used for many different reasons, from adding a touch of rustic charm to keeping livestock contained. The addition of a hedge adds an extra layer of protection as well as privacy, making it ideal for anyone looking for added security and peace of mind around their property.

16. Split Rail Corner Picket Fence

Split rail corner picket fences are an attractive and classic fencing solution. The two- or three-rail posts are put together in a crisscross pattern, typically with two posts at the corner and one post between them. They provide a rustic look to any garden or yard while still providing an effective barrier to keep animals and small children contained.

Decorative split rail fence ideas

Use decorative split rail fence ideas from our article to install a split rail fence that fits your style.

17. Split Rail fence with arbor

A split rail fence with an arbor, or pergola, is a great way to add both form and function to any garden. It provides an attractive decorative accent while also providing valuable protection for fragile plants and flowers. The rails are typically cut in half and then stacked criss-cross fashion, which gives the fence a rustic look that resembles a classic log cabin or farm home.

18. Bamboo Split Rail Fences

Bamboo split rail fences are a unique way to add style, texture, and rustic charm to any outdoor space. The natural beauty of bamboo combined with its durability makes it an ideal material for a long-lasting fence that will stand up against the elements while adding character to your yard or garden area.

19. Gothic-Top Posts Split Rail Fence

Gothic-top posts split rail fence is the perfect garden fence for any homeowner looking to add a unique and eye-catching element to their landscape. This type of fence has many advantages over traditional fencing options. Its aesthetic appeal makes it suitable for both residential and commercial applications alike, while its simplicity and relative affordability make it an ideal choice for those on a budget.

Split rail fence materials

Check out these split rail fence materials to learn how to build a long-lasting split rail fence that will stand up to weather and animals.

20. Wood Split Rail Fence


For any DIY project enthusiast looking to save money and create a unique look on their property, installing a wood split rail fence is an ideal project. While there are many materials such as metal or vinyl available for fencing projects, they often lack the character that comes with natural wood grain and texture.

21. Cedar Split Rail Fence 

Installing a cedar split rail fence is an excellent way to add beauty and charm to any home or property. When considering building a cedar split rail fence on your property, there are many different styles available. Additionally, you can custom-build a cedar gate into your fence project as well if desired.

22. Metal Split Rail Fence 

Metal Split Rail Fence is made from heavy-duty galvanized steel with a black powder coat finish that resists weathering and corrosion. It's easy to see why this particular variation has become so popular over the years: it provides all the rustic appeal of its wooden counterpart while also being sturdy and longer lasting than traditional wood fences.

23. Wire Mesh Split Rail Fence

Wire mesh split rail fences are a popular choice for many landscaping projects. As an alternative to the traditional chain link fence, wire mesh split rail fences offer a unique visual appeal due to their interwoven pattern of wires. The weave is secured with strong steel poles or posts, making it extremely durable and long-lasting.

Choosing Split Rail Fencing

In conclusion, a split rail fence is a classic and timeless addition to any outdoor space. It is versatile in its design and can be used to add beauty and character to any garden or yard. Whether you want a traditional or modern style, the options are endless when it comes to choosing the right split rail fence for your home.

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