A fence has a wide variety of benefits. It adds privacy to your yard and can help protect your family and pets. A high-quality fence also acts as a sound barrier and enables you to relax when you’re outside.

If you’re considering building a fence, you’ve probably heard a lot of terms you’re not familiar with. This guide will help you understand standard fencing terms so that you can be better educated with the fence installation process. While this list isn’t exhaustive, it will lay an excellent foundation for your efforts.

Fence Posts

The main structure and stability for your fence come from the fence posts. These are vertical shafts set firmly in the ground. There will be multiple posts at set intervals to create a strong, stable fence.

Main Posts (Terminal Posts)

The main or terminal posts are the primary load-bearing posts for your fence. You’ll find them at all corners, and around any gate you might install. These are larger, taller posts and are often set in concrete for extra strength. This helps keep them from shifting in winter and helps prevent moisture from causing fence rot.

Line Posts

All of the other posts are known as line posts and are built at intervals to help support the fence. The more posts you have, the stronger your fence will be. 


The bay refers to the space between posts. The larger the bay, the fewer fence posts you have.


Rail span horizontally from post to post. You attach the boards for the fence vertically to the rails. There is generally one rail at the top of the fence and one at the bottom. The distance between these rails is known as “rail spacing.” 


The vertical boards attached to the rails are known as pickets. These can be spaced closer or further apart, depending on the purpose of the fence. If you have spaces between pickets, you are building a semi-private fence. 

If you want additional privacy, you can install pickets side-by-side or even join them with tongue-and-groove construction.


Most fences have a gate that allows access into the fenced area of the yard. There are a wide variety of gate styles and materials. Most people use a gate made in the same style and wood as their fencing. Gates can swing only inward, only outward, or both ways. If you’re installing a gate for your driveway, a double swinging gate is common.


If you’re building your own fence, ensure that the height is uniform around the entire perimeter. The height of the fence is the distance between the ground and the top of the pickets. You can create fences that are just a few feet tall up to very tall fences that protect your yard from wildlife and escaping pets. The purpose and style you choose will determine the height of the fence.

Your Austin Fence Installation Experts

If you’ve been thinking about installing a fence on your property, you’re not alone. Most homeowners love the style, privacy, and security that fencing adds to their home. If you have questions about building a fence or would like to work with a professional, we’re here to help. Give the fence installation experts at Discount Fence USA a call today to schedule your consultation.