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A Homeowner’s Guide to Wooden Fence Top Design Options

A new fence installation for your home comes with a lot of options, including the material and style of the fence. If you are choosing a wood fence for your home, then one of the style options you can choose from is the top design. The top of the fence adds privacy, beautiful aesthetics, and will create a unique look to your fence design.

As you shop for fences, look at some of the toppers that are built into fences and how each style looks. Learn about some practical or decorative uses for each fence topper style as well.

Flat Top

One of the more basic designs for the top of a fence is a flat top finish. A traditional picket fence will feature separate peaks for each picket, but a flat top design features a uniform cut across the whole fence. A modified panel or full panel fence will include a long strip of wood that covers the top of each section and adds a little depth to the visuals of the fence.

Each post in a flat top fence design will include a cap that blends with the fence and creates a uniform look across the whole design.


Add a nice design to your fence and a little extra privacy with the installation of a lattice. A lattice is a wooden framed fence topper that includes strips of wood laid in a diagonal crisscross pattern. The lattice top makes it harder for someone to just peek over your fence and still allows sunshine to shine through.

The visual design adds a nice touch to the fence installation and can be installed on fences that are level or installed with angles. The lattice top is ideal to designate specific fence areas. For example, you could have a lattice top added to a fenced area around a pool, hot tub, or outdoor patio. The additional privacy adds extra comfort while you enjoy the outdoors.


A similar design to a lattice is a fence topper known as an Alta. While a lattice features a crisscross pattern with smaller squares, an Alta design features spaced out short planks that create rectangular holes in the fence topper. The Alta topper is spread across each panel of the fence and is typically separated by a fence post and cap.

The decorative fence feature adds a nice aesthetic to a fence and creates a uniform look across a whole fence installation. Like many of the other toppers, the gaps in the fence will still allow natural light to shine onto your property.


A trellis is a fence topper installation that is raised above the fence and is essentially an open roof area. A trellis can cover the gate of a fence or extend along the whole panel of the fence. A typical design includes large beam support by two smaller pieces that give the trellis a raised look.

The beam piece is topped by smaller pieces that go across the beam in the opposite direction. An additional section of cross pieces goes on top of that row to create the layered pattern. Essentially, a trellis is more of an architectural design than practical use, but the open-air look does create a nice blend of shadows and sunlight near the fenced area.

The gaps and open spaces featured in a trellis design also provide an ideal place to grow vegetation around your fence. A trellis is ideal for a lit of vine-based plants that can grow and extend around the gaps and angles of the trellis. A tall plant design adds a striking visual to the plant and you can consider flowering vines for bursts of color.


For a more defined area of a fence, consider the installation of an arbor. An arbor is essentially a wooden arch installed over the top of a fence. Typically, the arbor is installed over a fence gate area to mark the gate and create a dramatic entrance area.

A traditional arbor design includes two arched pieces on each side of the gate. The wooden pieces connect with small planks that go over the top of the whole arch. Professional fence installers will measure and plan a design to ensure the arch fits perfectly in the fence layout.

In some designs, a fence gate may feature an arbor over the door and then a trellis over the top of the arch. The mix of the trellis and arbor creates a sprawling unique look that will make the fence design stand out and showcase a wooden set-up that is aesthetically pleasing.

For more information on fence designs, toppers, and installations, contact us at Town & Country Fence. We use high-quality cedar for our wooden fence installations and can plan a fence design to fit within your property and style preferences.