History of the White Picket Fence

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The white picket fence is as American as apple pie. When people dream of owning a home, one of the things they often picture in the yard is a white fence. But have you ever thought about where the idea of the white picket fence came from?

The history of the white picket fence is older than the United States itself. Learn more about the story of the picket fence and why it’s a “must-have” for so many homeowners.


What makes a picket fence different from other styles of fencing is the use of pickets—vertical boards or posts that often have a pointed top. (The word “picket” comes from the French word piquer, meaning “to pierce.”) The vertical pickets are evenly spaced along horizontal rails to create the fence. Usually, picket fences are just a few feet high.


You can trace the origin of the white picket fence back to the days when colonists from England and other parts of Europe were making their way over to what’s now the United States. As people began to settle in the American colonies and began to build their own homes, many of them wanted to set up barriers to clearly mark what was theirs.

People installed picket fences around their properties as a way to claim their turf and in an attempt to keep others from wandering onto their property or stealing things. Back then, the fences were made of wood because it was a readily available material.

There are a few theories as to why the earliest picket fences were painted white. The whitewash could be a sign of wealth and privilege. People setting up white fences effectively told their neighbors that not only were they wealthy landowners, they also had the means to set up and maintain a clean, white fence.

Another explanation for the white color of the fences is that white is eye-catching and easy to see. A person returning home at night could see their fence from a distance. The white color of the fence was also easy to see in daylight.


The modern-day picket fence has a lot in common with its early ancestors, but it’s also evolved somewhat over the years. Although wood fences are still a popular choice in Orlando, Fl., vinyl fences are also available nowadays.

Both vinyl and wood picket fences are easy to take care of and are meant to be durable and long-lasting.

Although people don’t equate having a picket fence with having an immense amount of wealth anymore, the style of fence is still part of the “American Dream.” Picket fences are also still used to mark boundaries or to provide a bit of extra security around a house or yard.

If you’re interested in installing a picket fence around your property in New Port Richey, Orlando, Melbourne, Daytona, Fort Myers/North Port, Tampa, or Oviedo, Fl., Fence Outlet can help. Visit on of our seven locations in Florida and learn more about our professional installation services today.

Posted in Wood Fencing