What Is a Shadowbox Fence? - Integrous Fences and Decks
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What Is a Shadowbox Fence?

Privacy fences offer a lot of high-level benefits for families and homeowners. They carve out space for kids (and pets) to safely roam, and make it possible to socialize without feeling watched. They block street noise and increase your home’s overall security.  

Yet not everyone wants to feel fenced off from the outside world.

One option we frequently install for our clients—called shadowbox fencing—offers a happy medium between full privacy fencing and open picket design. Whereas traditional fences have pickets that stack side by side, shadowbox fences have pickets that alternate on either side of the rails. This creates small, uniform gaps that allow light to pass through (and create shadows on the ground).

Here’s why you might consider a shadowbox fence.

A balance of privacy and openness

While shadowbox fences appear opaque head-on, it’s possible to peer through the slats at an angle (to say hi to your neighbors or see beyond your property). They offer security and block most visibility and noise, while still maintaining a sense of openness—not only to socializing, but to airflow and sunlight. Most of these fences range in height from six to eight feet, which is another way to calibrate the amount of privacy you want.

Visual appeal

Shadowbox fences appear the same on both sides (as opposed to having a “front” and “back”) and look attractive from a variety of angles. You essentially give your neighbors the same kind of view as what you see from your own backyard.

Further, there are a number of ways you can make these fences your own. Custom touches include creating a scalloped edge along the top (where the pickets are cut to varying heights); adding a lattice feature; choosing a unique cap style (for the posts); or selecting a color or stain that coordinates with your home exterior or patio furniture.


Shadowbox fences are typically constructed out of vinyl or wood, with varieties including pressure-treated pine, cedar, and spruce. While vinyl costs more and is especially long-lasting, wood is a cost-effective choice that’s still relatively durable and low-maintenance. (Good practices include removing snow and debris, staying on top of repairs, and keeping your fence protected with sealant or paint.)

Regardless of material, the design of a shadowbox fence makes it inherently durable. The alternating pickets help distribute the load of the structure, making individual pickets less likely to warp or break loose. Plus, shadowbox fences aren’t airtight, which means that heavy winds can pass through the sides rather than pummeling against them.


If you decide a shadowbox fence is for you, the installation process usually ranges from a couple days to around a week. After measuring your yard, we build the fence sections in our Gap, PA, shop, typically using Western red cedar. Then we install the pressure-treated posts at least 30 inches below grade, setting them in concrete. The last step—testing out your new backyard retreat—is entirely up to you.

Curious to learn more? Click here to reach out to our team or schedule a free consultation.

The Fence Experts is now Integrous Fences and Decks.

New name, same service.

Close alert× OK Close alert Why We Changed Our Name