How Tall Is A Standard Picket Fence?

Picket fences are a symbol of the typical suburban dream. Typically featured in suburban homes, picket fences enclose an ideally lush yard with a mowed garden and thriving greenery. If you are planning to have one installed around your property, you might be wondering about how high these fences should be.

The standard height of wooden picket fences is about 40 inches. The panels are about 96 inches wide and are spread out evenly throughout the property. These fences are often connected by horizontal boards, tethered to the posts, which are 2 inches taller than the rest.

Aside from being a representation of the quiet middle-class life, white picket fences draw a boundary between your home and the area outside. They keep small toddlers and pets safely inside the property without fully being closed off, which is why the fences are usually cut shorter. If you want to learn more about this symbolic exterior fixture, keep reading below!

White wooden fence in suburban neighborhood, How Tall Is A Standard Picket Fence?

What is the White Picket Fence Symbolism?

White picket fences represent the American Dream; the typical middle-class sensibility of having a small nuclear family living in a safe and healthy environment. Many people see buying a house with a white picket fence as an aspirational milestone symbolizing stability and tranquility.

However, there can be a downside to getting caught up with this idea. A state of mind called a "White Picket Syndrome" can sometimes make a person wrapped up in the idea of a picture-perfect life at the cost of failing to address real issues, making them fester under a pretense of perfection.

white picket fence is covered with pink phlox in full bloom

Why do houses have a picket fence?

White picket fences give off a homey and friendly appeal. The state of your house can communicate a lot about your state of life, and having a clean and well-maintained fence is a sign of a person's good disposition, that's ready to interact with neighbors.

It also gives the passerby a glimpse into your yard, which is ideal if you have rich greenery and a well-cut lawn. But as welcoming as it may seem, the pointed ends still draw a line between your home and the strangers outside.

Huge houses in the suburbs can look a little intimidating to neighbors, so having a picket fence installed can somehow soften its appeal and make it seem more approachable.

How much do picket fences cost?

The price of picket fences depends on the type and amount of materials, whether you need to have concrete laid in, and whether you will be contracting a professional for the installation.

If you install the fence yourself, it will only cost you around $8 to $10 per foot. Hiring a contractor will be a bit more expensive, costing you between $18 to $30. On average, you should be prepared to shell out $24 per foot for the fence.

More expensive fences such as a cellular PVC picket fence will cost you between $23 to $30.

What are picket fences made of?

Picket fences come in a variety of materials. The choice depends on your priority: Do you want your yard to look more unique, or are you more concerned about the fence's durability? Do you want a painted fence, or are you more comfortable leaving it as it is?

You should also consider the fence that works best with the weather in your area. You may not want fences that are brittle and break in the winter or collect mold in humid seasons.

Some fences are also more eco-friendly than others. If that is your priority, there are materials that may be more suitable for you.


bungalow with a white picket fence and garden

Wood is the most common material used in picket fences since they are easier to paint. However, they may be more vulnerable to water damage and rotting, which may make them not ideal for humid places. They also need periodic repainting since pests and moisture can remove the stain.

Cedar, white oak, and pine are some of the most popular wood choices for picket fences. Both cedar and white oak have anti-rot properties, making them ideal for areas with unpredictable weather patterns.

Most homeowners do not paint fences made with oak wood since it already has an aesthetically pleasing color.

Check out this picket fence on Amazon

Check out this picket fence on Amazon.


New and contemporary white vinyl fence

If you prefer a low-maintenance picket fence, vinyl fences are for you. This material can withstand regular wear and tear so it rarely splinters or cracks, making it a more child-proof option.

Vinyl fences are also easier to clean; all you really need to do is to hose them down and scrub them with soapy water.

However, vinyl fences are better suited for tropical areas or at least places that do not experience harsh winters. This is because, unlike other materials, vinyl does not expand and contract according to the temperature which makes them prone to shattering and breakage.


rod iron fence in a back yard

Metal fences such as steel and aluminum are popular among people who prioritize durability and ease of maintenance. However, they don't really have many aesthetic purposes compared to materials such as cedar and oak wood picket fences.

Metal is preferred mainly because of its resistance to corrosion. They can hold up against extreme weather patterns, and they do not rot or collect mold. Aluminum also has these qualities, but is more lightweight and easier to bend compared to steel.

A downside of metal feces could be their cost. It can be more expensive than other fences, and it lacks aesthetic versatility.


Composite fences are known for their aesthetically adaptable appeal. They are also easier to maintain and can compete with wrought iron when it comes to durability.

Its material is made with a combination of wood and plastic, giving it the charm and strength and wood and the rigidity of plastic. These materials alone will make composite fences hold up well against unpredictable trauma and weather patterns.

Some drawback you can expect from composite fences could be their expensive price. A square foot of this fence will cost you around $30, higher than average. Its color is also prone to fading, which may not be up to your standards and prompt you to replace it before its expected lifespan.

What is a French Gothic Fence?

A french gothic fence is a style that originated in 14th century France. It is mostly characterized by wood with pointed arches. This has been adapted by many homeowners in the colonial revival during the 20th century, which has since become the face of a typical suburban life.

French Gothic fences come in many materials such as wood, vinyl, and composite.

What is a rustic picket fence?

dirt road in a rural spring landscape and wood stick as fence

Rustic picket fences are a different style altogether. They are mostly seen in rural or country areas as the material is usually made of salvaged wood coming from fallen branches and trees. These fences are tethered by a long wire, but can also be bound by another wood panel.

This picket fence is the oldest type of boundary marking. It is ideal if you want to give off a rustic charm to your home, and if you want something that doesn't warrant too much work. The natural patina of an aged wood can also give a unique appeal to your property.

What is a pallet picket fence?

Maple trees glow in a vibrant autumn hue lining a farm road

Pallet picket fences have a reputation for looking too outdated or cheap, but fortunately, modern designers are starting to see their unique charm. Pallet fences are made by putting together flat wood boards and cutting them to your desired shape.

These fences give off a whimsical charm that can blend well in a small country house filled with rich greenery and flowers. If you intend to make this fence, make sure you have similarly-colored wood to create a more uniform and polished look.

Make sure the measurements are even too to avoid a messy look that will make the fence look shabby. If you intend to stain it, make sure it is waterproof and the surface treated with termite-proofing.

Final Thoughts

White wooden fence in suburban neighborhood

Picket fences have a lot of charm that can represent a variety of lifestyles. It can communicate a unique aesthetic, and provide a clear boundary between your property and the life outside.

Installing your own fence is an easy way to elevate your exterior. Just make sure that you maintain it so it can consistently add value to your home.

As with any home project, follow your preferences to create the look that you want to achieve!