What is a Lattice Fence?

A lattice fence is a classic style of fencing that consists of crisscrossing slats, typically made of wood, vinyl, or metal. The slats are arranged in a diagonal or perpendicular pattern, creating a framework of square or diamond-shaped holes. Lattice fencing offers a timeless look and versatile functionality for residential landscapes.

Lattice fencing dates back centuries, with early examples found in ancient Greco-Roman architecture. The open, woven appearance provides decorative beauty while allowing air flow and light. Lattice fences bring visual interest through their geometric patterns and natural materials.

Lattice fences serve both practical and aesthetic purposes in the garden. A lattice fence defines property lines and provides a semi-private barrier while maintaining an open, inviting curb appeal. The diamond or square holes allow wind to pass through while obscuring direct views. Vines and climbing plants can be trained to grow on a lattice frame, intertwining with the structure over time.

Key Takeaway: Lattice fencing originated centuries ago and continues to be valued for its decorative, functional use delineating garden spaces and supporting plant growth.

A Brief History of Lattice Fencing

The lattice design has been utilized for thousands of years in architectural elements. Evidence of early lattice fences and screens dates back to ancient Greek and Roman structures. Asian cultures also have a long tradition of lattice framework in pagodas, temples, room dividers, and garden pavilions.

By the 18th century, lattice became a signature element in garden design and Romantic-era cottages in Europe. Wooden lattice panels provided decorative facades on porches and verandas. Trellises supported climbing roses and vines along brick walls and iron fencing.

Colonial American gardens often incorporated practical lattice structures to delineate vegetable patches and herb beds. Wooden latticework was an affordable and accessible building material. Diagonal cross-lattices were also used as backing for climbing plants on porches.

In the 19th century, mass production enabled more elaborate Victorian lattice designs for porch railings and gazebos. Painted lattice gained popularity as a picturesque backdrop for flowers and foliage. The natural, open quality of lattice architecture has continued appeal as both a landscape staple and historic accent.

Lattice fencing remains ubiquitous in modern residential and commercial spaces. Garden designers value traditional wooden lattice for vertical planting structures. Contemporary architects integrate metal and synthetic lattice for privacy screening on balconies and roof decks. DIY lattice projects provide a simple weekend upgrade to backyard fences and boundaries.

The time-tested lattice pattern persists as an aesthetically pleasing and highly functional building component for fences, screens, railings, and structures. Both historic and modern landscapes benefit from the ornamental virtues and practical uses of lattice frameworks.

Common Materials for Lattice Fencing

The signature crisscross lattice pattern can be fabricated from a variety of materials, with the four main options being wood, vinyl, metal, and composite. The material determines the overall appearance, durability, longevity, and pricing of the finished lattice fence.


Wood is the traditional and often preferred material for DIYers and professional installers alike. The most common woods used for latticework are cedar, redwood, pine, cypress, and treated lumber. The organic grain and warmth of real wood adds to the rustic garden appeal. Cedar and redwood have natural resistance to insects, decay, and moisture damage.

Wood lattice is relatively affordable and can be stained, painted, or whitewashed for custom color effects. It provides a classic look but requires periodic maintenance and resealing to prevent cracking and warping as it weathers. Durable wood species like cedar and thicker dimension lumber will last longer than basic whitewood.


Vinyl is a versatile synthetic alternative to wood lattice fencing. Vinyl resists moisture, rotting, and pests, eliminating the maintenance hassles of wood. It won’t crack, peel, or splinter over time. Vinyl lattice is available in solid privacy panels or with open squares or diamonds.

Textured vinyl boards mimic the look of painted cedar lattice but never need repainting. Composite vinyl/wood blends blend natural appeal with low maintenance. Clean vinyl lattice installs easily for an attractive, fuss-free fence. The main downside is the higher upfront cost compared to wood.


For the strongest, longest-lasting lattice fence, metal is the optimal building material. Aluminum, steel, and iron lattice panels are structurally reinforced for added stability. Metal won’t decay or become brittle with age. The openwork design resists wind pressure on tall privacy applications.

Wrought iron is the strongest option but also the most expensive. Black powder-coated aluminum is rust-resistant and has a traditional look at a lower cost than steel or iron. Metal lattice requires little upkeep beyond occasional cleaning or repainting of colors. The main detractors are the high initial price tag and industrial aesthetic.


Composite lattice merges plastic resins with wood fibers to create a durable, low-maintenance blend. These fencing materials are more impact-resistant and stable than real wood alone. Composite lattice won’t crack or peel like vinyl. It provides the natural look of wood with greatly enhanced resistance to moisture, rot, and pests.

Despite the higher price, composite wood lattice offers superior longevity and performance with minimal upkeep. For optimal durability, composite is an advisable option. It’s also available in a diverse range of colors and realistic woodgrain patterns.

The optimal lattice fencing material depends on budget, design preference, and local conditions. Regional climate impacts material performance – vinyl and composites fare better than wood in hot, humid gulf states. Overall, wood and vinyl offer the best value for visual appeal, while composites and metals excel in rugged durability.

Privacy and Design Features

Beyond the structural lattice pattern, additional design qualities impact aesthetics and functionality. Fence height, top borders, and plantings modify privacy potential. Decorative posts and gates enhance visual flair.

Fence Height

Typical lattice fence heights range from 4-8 feet. Shorter 1-3 foot garden dividers allow light and air circulation. 6-8 foot privacy fences obstruct views with most homeowners preferring 6 feet. Custom lattice designs can extend beyond 8 feet for premium privacy. The taller the fence, the more seclusion achieved.

Top Borders

The fence line along the top edge impacts style and visibility. A scalloped or curved border has quintessential cottage garden charm. Straight tops keep a cleaner, modern look. Slotted post tops collect rain but omit handholds. Solid post caps prevent climbing but can feel imposing. Floating toppers maintain an openness.

For privacy, solid borders are ideal. Lattice with open, decorative tops maintain some visibility while obscuring direct sight lines. Homeowners seeking both privacy and ornamental appeal often combine lattice privacy panels with a slotted or floating rail. This allows climbing plants along the lattice while decorating the linear top border.

Plants for Privacy

The right plantings can transform an open lattice fence into a lush green partition. Vigorous climbers like ivy, jasmine, clematis, and trumpet vine will cover a fence over one growing season. Thorny blackberries or roses act as barriers to trespassers and pets. Espalier fruit trees can be trained across sections.

Perennial vines and evergreen shrubs fill gaps and provide year-round density. Temporary annuals boost color and foliage during the growing months. For rapid, natural privacy screening, flowering or leafy plant choices green-up and conceal open latticework.

Decorative Touches

Ornamental posts, finials, gates, and arbors enhance lattice fence style. Convex, concave, or peaked post and slat tops accentuate the linear design. Contrasting post stains and colors spotlight the crisscross pattern. Arched or gabled arbor gateways make grand entrances.

Backlit posts create a magical nighttime ambiance. Seasonal lighting and decorations personalize for holidays. Planter boxes mounted on fence panels integrate flowers and herbs. Lattice fence designs accept diverse decorative accessories for custom creative flair limited only by the imagination.

The combination of height, borders, plantings, and decor establishes the privacy level and overall aesthetics. A towering evergreen hedge over a clipped lattice partition ensures seclusion, while a short backyard garden divider dotted with blooms remains friendly and approachable.

Homeowners can’t go wrong drawing design inspiration from classic English cottages and Mediterranean villa gardens to replicate intimate vintage styles. Contemporary applications might incorporate breezy rooftop lattice screening or sleek black metal gates as modern accents.

Lattice Fence Uses and Applications

The adaptable open-work construction makes lattice fencing suitable for diverse residential, commercial, and municipal scenarios.

Gardens and Landscaping

Lattice is ideal for defining backyard spaces in lieu of solid walls and fences. Short lattice garden dividers separate turf from planting beds, pathways, and sittings areas. Lattice covering walls support vining crops and espalier fruit trees. Freestanding lattice screens shelter pots and equipment.

Lattice welcomes airflow while obscuring mess and clutter. The diamond grid pattern blurs views without sacrificing sunlight. A coats of paint or stain contributes color and personality to complement the plantings.

Lattice privacy fences enclose yards and gardens with an approachable feel. Neighbors can’t peer directly into properties, maintaining discretion. Lush vines or shrubs filling in gaps maximize seclusion and natural beauty. Garden arbors with flowering trellises allow visitors to pass through.

Patios and Decks

Outdoor living areas gain increased privacy and aesthetic appeal with lattice enhancements. Full height latticework veils back yards, hot tubs, and pools from neighbors. Partial panels provide discreet screening for seated gatherings and dining patios. Overhead lattice pergolas filter sunlight through scenic open roofs.

Lattice skirting dresses up the base of decks and porches. Thrifty DIYers camouflage unsightly foundations and utilities with a lattice facade. Slotted panels allow ventilation to prevent moisture and mold buildup. Railings gain added safety with closed balusters, obscuring drop-offs for households with small children.

For patio and deck upgrades, lattice presents inexpensive possibilities to magnify charm. Stark urban rooftop decks transform into cozy escapes with surrounding greenery-covered lattice. Backyard patios feel more secluded and serene enclosed by flowering vines atop painted cedar lattice.

Commercial Applications

Businesses also utilize lattice for decorative screening and space dividers. Full lattice walls define office spaces and enclosures while allowing light permeability. Lattice fences topped with razor wire provide added security around warehouses, storage lots, and utilities.

Stores and restaurants section off staff and equipment areas from public zones using freestanding lattice partitions. High diamond grid fencing wraps rooftop HVAC units to reduce noise. Lattice sunshades filter harsh lighting in parking garages and lots.

With custom stain colors and finishes, businesses match lattice fencing and screens to their brand identity. The visibility factor balances safety with aesthetics around equipment and off-limit spaces.

Lattice also brings ornamental flair to municipal settings like parks, gardens, and recreation areas. Architectural latticework makes picturesque backdrops for gardens, stages, and pavilions. Painted wood lattice picnic shelters match natural surroundings. Lattice combines practicality with beauty.

Key Takeaway: Lattice fences and screens lend visual interest and versatile utility for residential, commercial, and public landscape projects. The geometric pattern defines spaces with airy openness.

Installing and Maintaining Lattice Fences

Lattice fencing offers a reasonably simple DIY project for handy homeowners. Understanding proper installation techniques and planning ongoing maintenance preserves the longevity and appearance of new lattice fences.

Installation Tips

Proper installation starts with assessing the site and creating a layout plan. Measure the perimeter and mark post hole locations based on panel dimensions.Dig holes 2-3 feet deep based on height. Set end, corner, and gate posts in concrete for strength.

Attach fence panels to posts with galvanized nails, screws, or bolts. Follow any manufacturer instructions. Leave room for expansion between panels. Stagger vertical seams. Add decorative post caps and stain or seal wood lattice for weather protection.

While lattice panels are lightweight and easy to handle, working with the awkward lengths gets cumbersome. Having an extra pair of hands speeds up the process and prevents damage. For large installations, equipment like post hole diggers and lifts enable efficient progress.

Patience is key to achieving straight lines and proper alignment. Rushing leads to sloppiness. Check for plumb posts and flat tops as the work progresses. Take time to make adjustments to keep the entire fence visually pleasing and structurally sound.

Ongoing Maintenance

A few simple maintenance steps preserve lattice fences for maximum duration. Regularly inspect for damage, deterioration, and plants poking through. Repair loose or broken slats and posts promptly.

Clean wood lattice annually with a power washer at low pressure. Soft woods like pine may need resealing every 1-2 years, while cedar and redwood can go 3-4 years between new coats of penetrating stain. Keep wood lattice free of mold and mildew.

Vinyl and metal lattice mainly just needs occasional power washing to remove grime. Re-paint metal lattice as needed to prevent rust. Watch for sinking posts and evidence of soil erosion undermining post foundations.

Vigilant maintenance ensures long-lasting performance and aesthetic appeal. Don’t allow small issues to become major repairs. With routine care, quality lattice should endure over 15-20 years. Preservation maximizes the return on investment in beautiful backyard lattice design elements.

Key Takeaway: Proper installation techniques and attentive annual maintenance help lattice fences retain structural integrity and visual grace.

Cost Factors for Lattice Fencing

Lattice fence costs depend on four primary factors:

  • Materials – Wood is the most economical option, followed by vinyl. Metal and composite cost more but have greater durability.
  • Style – Basic square pattern is cheaper than elaborate diamond grids. Custom arches and finials add expense.
  • Height – Taller privacy fences require stronger footings and additional materials and labor.
  • Design – Straight runs are simplest. Bends, angles, and gates boost costs. Prefabricated sections cost less than site construction.

On average, wood lattice installed costs $15-30 per linear foot, vinyl lattices average $25-50, metal runs $40-100, and composites fall around $30-60 per foot. Refined wood species, ornamental metals, composites, and custom designs land at the top of each price range.

Professional installation generally doubles the per foot expense. Handy DIYers can cut their own lattice building costs in half, although the tradeoff is sweat equity over hiring a skilled contractor. Lattice fence expenses scale up based on the yard perimeter.

Beyond the primary fence materials, costs add up for decorative extras like finials, lighting, gates, plantings, and stone planter bases. Discounts are available buying in bulk for longer spans. Compare vendor rates to find the best value.

Key Reasons to Choose Lattice Fencing

Lattice fence designs provide gorgeous solutions to define property lines, shield private zones, and support greenery. Here are the top benefits of lattice fencing:

  • Timeless aesthetic style
  • Airy, semi-private screen
  • Structural support for climbing plants
  • Dappled sunlight filtering through
  • Adaptable for diverse applications
  • Relatively quick and easy installation
  • Light permeable construction
  • Affordable, attractive option

The breezy, open quality lattice fences and screens bring decorative outdoor flair paired with versatile functionality. For lasting curb appeal that structures, shields, and showcases gardens, lattice fencing is a picturesque possibility.

FAQs About Lattice Fencing

Can lattice fencing provide privacy?

Traditional lattice with open square or diamond gaps does not provide full privacy or block views. However, the crisscross pattern makes it harder to clearly distinguish objects and people on the other side. Dense vines filling in the lattice holes create natural visual barriers. Some lattice designs use smaller gaps or secondary perpendicular slats to increase privacy.

How durable is lattice fencing?

It depends on the materials used. Vinyl and composite lattice is more flexible and impact-resistant than real wood. Cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine stand up better to weather than basic whitewood. Wrought iron is the strongest metal but aluminum is lighter weight. Proper installation and maintenance also affect longevity.

Can you paint or stain lattice fencing?

Absolutely! Staining and painting wood lattice is recommended to protect it from moisture, sun, and pests. This also provides the opportunity to customize the color and look. Avoid painting or staining vinyl lattice. For metal lattice, specialized paints resist chipping and rust. Match fence colors to home exteriors.

What plants grow well on a lattice fence?

Vigorous vining plants cover open lattice rapidly. Top options include ivy, jasmine, wisteria, trumpet vines, grapes, climbing roses, clematis, and passionflower. Espalier fruit trees like apple and pear can be trained across sections. Annuals like morning glory quickly fill gaps temporarily.

How difficult is it to install a lattice fence?

Lattice fencing provides a reasonably easy DIY project compared to more complex fences. Traditional wood styles with basic square patterns and straight runs are beginner-friendly. Measuring and digging post holes takes time. Nailing up finished 4×8 lattice panels goes quicker with an extra pair of hands.


A lattice fence offers homeowners, businesses, and municipalities an affordable and aesthetically pleasing fencing solution. The signature crisscross lattice pattern creates an intricate, ornamental backdrop defining property lines or enclosing yards. Lattice fences provide discretion without sacrificing openness and natural light infiltration. They bring versatile utility and timeless curb appeal to gardens and other landscapes.

With proper planning and installation, quality lattice fencing will endure for over a decade with minimal maintenance. Cedar, redwood, pressure-treated pine, vinyl, and composites are go-to material choices that balance cost, durability, and appearance. Keeping wood sealed and inspecting for damage preserves lattice investments.