Wood is one of the most versatile fence materials you can buy. Not only can wood be shaped into just about any form or design you can imagine, but it can also be stained, varnished and finished to create different looks ranging from rustic to elegant.
The one drawback of wood fences is that they generally aren't the most secure option available. However, if you live in a relatively safe neighborhood, a fence made of vertical planks or thicker pieces of wood should suffice.
Some of the most popular fence styles are wood-based – the iconic picket fence is an excellent example. In many ways, picket fences are the quintessential wooden fence: they're primarily decorative in nature and offer low to moderate levels of protection, but they add a very distinctive charm and appeal to the house.
A split-rail fence has a certain rustic appeal, and is most commonly seen in bucolic or ranch settings. These wood fences have posts and rails that are irregularly shaped and rough in finish, and can be arranged in either straight or zigzagging patterns.
Bamboo fences also have a very definitive appeal, but in this case, it's more exotic than rustic. Generally made of vertical strips of wood arranged in interlocking patterns, bamboo fences are perfect for sectioning off a small stretch of garden or a backyard structure; they can also add a touch of style to a quiet corner of your yard.
Because cedar is such a strong and sturdy type of wood, cedar fences are arguably the most secure of any wooden fencing option available. You can craft a cedar fence from both thick and thin cuts of wood; the former is a good choice if security is your primary concern, but the latter is better if the fence is primarily ornamental.
Even if you're going to do the job yourself, you have to consider more than just the price of the wood. Between sanding supplies, varnishes, protective coatings, construction equipment and accessories, you're going to have to make a careful and detailed budget to ensure you stay within your limits.
Contractors offer more reliable cost control, but their bottom line will be quite a bit higher than what you should expect if you build your fence yourself. The key budgetary consideration to make when dealing with a contractor is that the lowest price doesn't always equate to the best value. Workmanship and the quality of the materials used to make the fence are the most important factors to keep in mind.