A Brief History of Ornamental Fences in Maryland

An Ornamental Fence in Maryland

Maryland has provided the sometimes tumultuous setting for the evolution of modern America. As a union state that still used slaves to farm extensive tobacco crops, Maryland became the embittered battlefield where brother fought against brother during the Civil War. During a failed attempt by the British to take Baltimore in 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote the words to the Star Spangled Banner as many public buildings with their grand architectural designs burned to the ground. Even though Maryland’s history dates back to pre-colonial times its architectural history is relatively recent given its early American role. Efforts to restore historical buildings have been successful and the state’s commitment to urban revival is evident with its plethora of new, sleek, modern buildings in downtown areas. Yet few design choices pay homage to Maryland’s pre-colonial roots and its role in American history the way the ornamental fence does.

black ornamental fence

Check out this ornamental estate gate fence we recently installed

What is an Ornamental Fence?

Ornamental fences are traditionally picket-style fences made of metal that surround a building, park or other property. Known for their traditionally pointed tops and detailed decorations, ornamental fences are designed to showcase a home’s architecture or a garden’s stunning beauty while offering security to a property. With very little regular maintenance required, ornamental fences are beautiful, durable and long-lasting alternatives to wood or vinyl.

ornamental fence posts

Ornamental fences, like this one we installed, are a great addition for your pool area

Ornamental Fence Materials

As a material, wrought iron found its roots in Europe but was introduced in America, in Massachusetts, in the mid-1600’s. As small forges began looking for ways to market their products, so to speak, they began producing fencing for surrounding pasture grounds and homes. Although more expensive than traditional wood, people were drawn to the sturdy construction and beautiful finished product. By the 1700’s, wrought iron fences were more common in southern territories, but were still popular in Maryland and often surrounded a home as a sign of wealth.

Today’s ornamental fences are typically made from steel or aluminum. While it was only 50 years ago that these materials were used for fencing, they provide manufacturers with an ability to consistently recycle scrap materials into new pickets and posts. However, iron fencing is still available but is more commonly cast in sand.

What’s the Difference?

Aluminum ornamental fencing is typically the least expensive option of the three types. Easy to shape and relatively light weight, aluminum ornamental fencing offers a high-end look and consistent durability without requiring maintenance. Best of all, aluminum never rusts, making it ideal for humid climates and harsh winters. Steel is made of an alloy of iron and carbon. Steel ornamental fencing can be cut, stamped or rolled but is difficult to form for more detailed finials or caps on top of pickets. Cast iron can be made into any shape or size, but is also prone to rust in more humid climates.

ornamental aluminum fence

Want a fence like this one that we installed? Call us today!

Which ornamental fencing material is right for you? The expert professional installers at HoCo Fence can make recommendations for your ornamental fence based on your property type, style needs, and budget. Contact us today for a free estimate.