Heron Building Co
We're Heron Building Co, a Premier Fence and Outdoor Living Construction Company serving Franklin & Nashville, Tennessee. With extensive experience in fence contracting and outdoor craftsmanship, we bring a unique design/build approach to each project. Our greatest passion lies in creating outdoor spaces that are tailor-made and inspire you to live more life outside.

If you’re a homeowner in Middle Tennessee looking to enhance your outdoor space with a beautiful wood fence, you’re in the right place. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about choosing, planning, and installing wood fences in Nashville. From selecting the perfect style to understanding the importance of permits and material choices, we’ve got you covered.

Table of Contents

  1. Style of Fence
    Understand the different styles of common wood fences in Nashville, from traditional to custom designs and styles.
  2. HOA & Utilities
    The necessary steps to locate property lines, mark underground utilities, obtain any necessary permits, and get HOA approval.
  3. Building Materials & Wood
    Dive into the best wood options for different types of fences and the benefits of standard materials vs premium materials.
  4. Function
    Determine the primary function of your fence, whether for privacy, aesthetics, noise reduction, or safety.
  5. Gates
    Learn about gate options and the importance of choosing the right frame and hardware for long lasting durability.
  6. Finishes
    Compare staining and painting to learn more about the best finish for enhancing and protecting your fence.
  7. FAQs
    Get answers to common questions about wood fence installation in Middle Tennessee.
  8. Conclusion
    Final thoughts and tips for a successful wood fence installation!
Comprehensive guide to installing wood fences in Nashville

Style of Fence

Choosing the right style of wood fence is crucial to match your home’s aesthetic and meet your functional needs as well as aesthetics and budget. Here are some popular styles to consider:

Traditional Fences

Traditional fences are classic and timeless, offering a range of designs that suit various home styles. Here in Middle Tennessee they are typically made from pressure-treated pine or cedar, which are both durable and visually appealing.

  • Dog Ear: A classic design with rounded tops on each board. This style is both simple and effective with not much detail.
  • Cap and Trim: Features a horizontal cap along the top of the fence for added detail and extra moisture protection. This style offers a more finished look and can enhance the overall aesthetic of your property.
  • Arched: Boards are cut in a curved shape for a decorative finish. The gentle curve adds a soft, pleasing look to your fence line.
  • Scalloped: Similar to arched but with a wave-like pattern. Essentially the opposite of arched.
  • Horizontal Fences: Pickets or boards are placed horizontally for a modern look. This design is sleek and contemporary, perfect for a stylish and modern home.
  • Picket Fences: Short, evenly spaced boards for a quaint, traditional look. Ideal for front yards and gardens, offering charm and character.
  • Split Rail Farm Fences: Simple, classic Middle Tennessee farm fence design with horizontal rails, typically either 3 or 4. This style is great for large properties and provides that quintessential Tennessee country feel.
  • Semi-Privacy Fences: Offers some privacy while allowing light and air to pass through. Ideal for spaces where you want some separation but not complete privacy.

Custom Fences

For those looking to up the aesthetics, make a statement or meet specific needs, custom fences offer endless possibilities. Custom designs are usually incorporated into more luxury homes in Nashville and can be tailored to your property’s unique style and your personal taste.

  • X Fences: Features diagonal cross patterns. This design adds a touch of sophistication and can be a beautiful feature in any yard.
  • Hardwood Fences: Made from durable woods like teak and ipe, these fences are not only long-lasting but also visually striking. Hardwood fences can significantly enhance the luxury feel of your property.
  • Post and Wire: Combines wood posts with a variety of different wire options for a rustic look. This style is great for gardens or rural properties where you want to blend in with the natural surroundings.
  • Vertical or Horizontal Slat Fences: Sleek, modern design with narrow slats. This look is very contemporary and works well in urban settings.
  • Architectural Materials: Unique designs using a variety of materials. These fences can be customized to match any architectural style.
  • Cable Rail: Incorporates metal cables for a contemporary look. This style is particularly popular for decks, railings, and modern homes.


Gates are not just functional; they can also be a beautiful feature that packs a punch for your fence design and installation.

  • Entry Gates: Main access points to your property. These gates can be designed to be grand and welcoming, automated or manual.
  • Side Gates: Convenient access to side yards. Often more modest, but can be designed to blend seamlessly with your fence or have a custom moment that stylistically compliments the wood fence design.
  • Double Gates: Wider openings for vehicles or equipment. Perfect for driveways or large entry points.
  • Estate Gates: Grand entrances for larger properties. These gates make a statement and provide a high level of security.
  • Garden Gates: Charming access points to garden areas. They can include a trellis above or tie into a mason wall or pillars, adding a touch of romance and beauty to your garden.

HOA & Utilities

Before you start building your fence, it’s essential to take care of a few contractor compliance tasks:

Locating Property Lines

One of the first steps in installing a fence is to determine where your property lines are. This ensures that your fence is placed within your property boundaries and helps avoid disputes with neighbors. You may need to hire a surveyor to get accurate measurements. It’s crucial to respect these boundaries to maintain good relations with your neighbors, comply with local regulations, and avoid major headaches down the road.

Marking Underground Utilities

Safety is crucial when digging post holes for your fence. Before any digging begins, contact 811 Tennessee to have them mark any underground lines. This is necessary to prevent accidental damage to water, gas, or electrical lines during installation, which can be dangerous and costly to repair.

Obtaining Permits

Check with your local city to see if you need a permit to build your fence. Permits ensure that your fence complies with local building codes and zoning laws. In some cases, specific designs or heights may be regulated, and obtaining a permit can help you avoid fines or having to modify your fence after it’s built.

HOA Approval

Many neighborhoods here in Nashville, Franklin and Brentwood have HOAs. If you live in a neighborhood with a Homeowners Association (HOA), you will likely need their approval before installing a fence. The HOA will have specific guidelines regarding the type, height, and placement of fences. Getting their approval beforehand can save you from potential fines and the hassle of having to redo your work to meet their standards.

Wood Privacy and Picket Fence in Nashville

Building Materials & Wood

Selecting the right materials is key to building a durable and attractive fence:

Traditional Fence Materials

For traditional fences like Dog Ear or Cap and Trim, #2-grade pressure-treated southern pine lumber is commonly used. Pressure-treated pine is protected against rot, decay, and insect damage, making it a popular choice here in Middle Tennessee.

  • #2-Grade Pressure-Treated Southern Pine:
    • Pros: Resistant to rot and insects.
    • Cons: Can shrink and warp over time.
    • This type of wood is often used because it is economical and readily available. However, it’s important to note that pressure-treated wood can have a rougher texture and will shrink or warp as it dries.

Custom Fence Materials

Custom fences offer a wider range of wood choices, including cedar, redwood, and tropical hardwoods like ipe and teak. These materials are more durable and offer a distinct, sought after aesthetic.

  • Cedar and Redwood: Naturally resistant to decay and insects. These woods are softer than tropical hardwoods but are valued for their rich color and fine grain premium look.
  • Tropical Hardwoods (Ipe, Teak, Mangaris): Extremely durable and visually striking, but come with higher investments. These woods are dense and heavy, providing a high-end look that lasts for decades with proper care.

Fence Posts

A good fence contractor will ensure your fence posts are in a straight line and installed straight up and down. Posts are set in concrete to ensure stability.

  • Wood Posts: Commonly used but can vary in lifespan based on ground moisture. Pressure-treated wood posts are standard, but redwood or cedar posts can be used for added durability and aesthetics.
  • Metal Posts: Longer-lasting and more durable than wood posts. Galvanized or stainless steel posts are resistant to rust and can greatly extend the life of your fence.


Determining the primary function of your fence will guide your design choices:


For typical privacy, choose solid fences like Dog Ear or Cap and Trim. These styles block the view and create a secluded space. For complete privacy, it’s best to consider upgraded wood boards that do not shrink or warp like standard pine. Privacy fences are ideal for backyards where you want to enjoy your outdoor space without being overlooked by neighbors.


Semi-privacy fences offer some privacy while allowing light and air to pass through. Styles like lattice-topped fences are ideal for this purpose. They provide a balance between seclusion and openness with a design detail, making them suitable for areas where you want some visibility but also a degree of separation.

Curb Appeal

If aesthetic appeal is your main goal, consider more decorative styles like picket fences, x fences, or custom designs with unique materials and patterns. These fences enhance the visual appeal of your property and can significantly boost curb appeal and property value.

Noise Reduction

To reduce noise, opt for a solid, tall fence made from dense materials. The thicker the fence, the better it will be at blocking sound. This is particularly useful if you live near a busy road or noisy area.


For keeping pets or children safe, ensure your fence is tall enough and has secure gates. Horizontal slat fences or picket fences can be good options. Safety fences should be sturdy and well-constructed to prevent accidents and keep secure.

Metal Frame Gate in Nashville


Gates are an essential part of your fence, providing access and enhancing security:

Frame Options

  • Wood Frames: Common and cost-effective but prone to warping and sagging. Wood frames are easier to construct and can be customized to match your fence design. However, they require regular maintenance to prevent issues related to weather exposure.
  • Metal Frames: More durable and less prone to sagging, ideal for high-use gates. Metal frames provide superior strength and longevity, making them a good choice for gates that will see frequent usage.

Our favorite high-quality, heavy duty hardware such as T Band Hinges, self-closing latches, and gate handles hail from brands like Rejuvenation for durability and style.


Choosing the right protective finish can impact your fence for years to come.


Staining a wood fence highlights the natural beauty of the wood. There are various colors available, and testing samples on a scrap of wood from your fence wood is definitely recommended. A UV oil-based stain is generally more effective in prolonging the life of a fence than a water-based sealant.


Painting offers a uniform appearance and can match your home’s exterior. High-quality paint will protect the wood from the elements but requires regular maintenance to prevent peeling and cracking.


How high can my fence be?

In most areas of Nashville, it is fairly standard that you can build up to 8′ high starting at the front of your house and 42″ high between the house and the road. If you are in a historic area, it’s especially important to check with your Architectural Committee for all regulations.

Do I need a permit to build wood fences in Nashville?

Check with your local authorities, as requirements vary around Middle TN. Some areas require permits for fence installation, but if you are in a neighborhood, you will most likely just need HOA approval.

How do I maintain my wood fence?

Regularly inspect for damage, clean with a mild detergent, and reapply stain or paint every few years to protect the wood.

What type of wood is best for my fence?

Pressure-treated pine is common for traditional fences, while cedar, redwood, and tropical hardwoods are ideal for custom designs.


Installing wood fences in Nashville is a fantastic way to enhance your property’s privacy, security, and curb appeal. By selecting the right style, obtaining necessary approvals, and choosing quality materials, you can ensure your fence will be both beautiful and durable. Remember, proper planning and regular maintenance are key to a long-lasting fence.

Explore Our Portfolio

We invite you to explore our Fence Portfolio on our website or to check out our recent work on Instagram and gather inspiration for your own fence project. Our portfolio showcases a variety of styles and materials, demonstrating the versatility and quality of our craftsmanship. Whether you’re interested in a traditional wood fence, a modern design, or a combination of wood and brick like this recent project, you’ll find plenty of ideas to spark your creativity.

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