What is a Shadowbox Fence?

Board on Board Wood Fence and Deck

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect fence you may have heard about the shadowbox fence. A shadowbox fence — aptly named, as it is designed to cast a shadow — is a popular privacy fence made to look good on both sides. A shadowbox fence is also another name for a board-on-board fence. This kind of fence looks stellar inside and out, so both you and your neighbors will be happy with it.

Shadowbox fences are designed with one of four common board styles: straight, dog ear, French gothic, and Gothic. This variety of board design gives you the option of choosing the aesthetic that best matches the style you’re going for.

While the boards of a shadowbox fence are not completely hinged together like a stockade fence, they still offer supple privacy as the gaps separating the boards are very small and difficult to see through.

The Details

If you’re considering purchasing a shadowbox fence for your property, there are a few important things you should know before you do. Let’s zoom in and take a look at what a shadowbox fence entails.


Shadowbox fences come in pre-packaged wooden panels. Once assembled, the fence is made of a staggered arrangement of boards, with pickets fixed on either side. Shadowbox fences are easy to install. When installing your shadowbox fence, make sure to set up the boards the same way on either side, while erecting the board on the reverse side to cover the gaps from the opposite side. The result is a fence will small gaps between boards– the perfect balance between privacy and openness.

Types of Wood

Most shadowbox fences are made of cypress, fir, spruce, redwood, pine, red cedar, or white cedar. The type of wood you choose makes a difference when it comes to durability and aesthetics. As a rule of thumb, cedar pickets and rails are preferable over pine wood, since pine wood tends to warp or bow. Cedar wood is highly durable due to its natural oils that deter insects. Cypress wood is also popular and contains naturally insect-resistant chemicals. Both cedar wood and cypress wood are rot-resistant. Redwood is on the higher end, and although it comes with a big price tag, is admired for its aesthetics, durability, and quality.

Benefits of a Shadowbox Fence

Peace of Mind

Privacy fences allow you to keep peace of mind, especially if you have children or pets that may roam the property outdoors. Shadowbox fences, like other privacy fences, conceal your yard and home from neighbors and passerby. With a shadowbox, you can sleep soundly knowing that your own little slice of paradise is safe, secure, and protected.

Weather Resistant

If you live in a region prone to storms or extreme weather, you should take durability into account when selecting a fence for your property. Shadowbox fences are known for withstanding strong winds and storms. Because they are not solid fences, this allows wind to pass through the boards, rather than hitting against them and knocking the fence over.


Aside from offering privacy, shadowbox fences are popular for their long lifespans. Because of the alternating pickets, the weight is evenly distributed across the rails. This helps prevent sagging and decay over time. Pressure-treated wood guarantees extra durability. With a shadowbox fence, you can rest assured that it’s made to last.

Attractive Design

Shadowbox fences are among the best-looking fences on the market. These eye-catching fences are classified as semi-private fences, meaning that the pickets are constructed to conceal your property but still allow light to shine through the cracks and provide passerby with a sneak peek of what beauty lies on the other side. In a shadowbox fence, wood and light work together for an interesting aesthetic interplay.

Shadowbox fences look the same on both sides, adding a visually pleasing touch to both you and your neighbor’s yards. The only difference between the sides is the post; other than that, it looks identical on either side. This is an especially desirable feature for a front yard fence; this way, you can pull up to the curb and not feel like you’re looking at the back of the fence.


Shadowbox fences can easily be customized to suit your preferences. They come in a wide variety of different woods, with each kind offering a unique style and finish. With so many varieties of wood types, staining, and colors to choose from, you can find a shadowbox fence that fits in with the rest of your home. Also, shadowboxes give you the option of expanding the pickets past the top rail, if you wish to give it a sturdier, more put-together look. You can also add a lattice top– an attractive addition to any fence– by shortening the pickets and then attaching a lattice instead of a traditional top rail.


What are the disadvantages of a shadowbox fence?
Unlike stockade fences– which is made of wooden boards constructed tightly against each other for maximum privacy– shadowbox fences only offer partial privacy. A shadowbox fence may not be ideal for homeowners looking for a fence that completely blocks off the property, but rather for those who want the visually attractive look of small gaps between the boards.

What size is a shadowbox fence?
Shadowbox fences are typically installed with 1×6” pickets with a 4” space in between. The height is customizable, but privacy fences are usually between 6 to 8 feet tall.

Read More:

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