An iron fence consists of a few basic components. You have the top and bottom rails and the vertical pieces that run between them. These components create panels that connect to fence posts. To create a basic fence, you use round or square posts with thin flat rails and vertical slats. If you want something more than the basic fence, you dress up one or more of the components described above. It is important to remember, however, that every extra feature you work into your fence design will increase the cost of your fence. Thus, it is important to carefully consider what features you add to your design.
Decorating the Top of a Fence
The top of your fence is closer to eye level and at the same time less likely to be obscured by any flowers or shrubs you plant along the base of your fence. Thus, if you are looking for a way to dress up your fence, dressing up the top is a good place to start. For example, rather than using a flat top rail, you could use an arching rail, which will add height and a pleasing design element to your fence. Another option is to extend the vertical components of your fence beyond the top rail and cap each piece with a decorative flourish. Still another option is to add a second rail a few inches below the top rail and then fill the space thus created with geometric shapes such as, circles, squares, or triangles. By focusing your creative efforts along the top of your fence, you will get maximum impact for the extra money you spend.
You may desire to add decorative elements to the vertical components of your fence. If you were to dress up every single spindle along the full length of your fence, the cost would be huge. A less expensive option is to spread out decorative flourishes. For example, if every third or fifth spindle features a design flourish, you still get a pleasing visual pattern, but you can decrease your cost. You could also place your decorative flourishes along the front of your house, and use plain fencing along the sides and back of your property where "curb appeal" is less of a concern.
These are just a couple of ideas for how to dress up an iron fence on a budget. In order to get the maximum aesthetic benefit from the choices you make, discuss your options with your contractor.