Railings without Barriers

Railings without barriers - barriers to design that is. The often underappreciated, understated deck railing dos not have to go unnoticed. Vertical wood beams are not your only option. Here are a few alternatives

Garden Wall


Use a landscape retaining wall as your deck’s railing. A Thick wall filled with dirt to expnds your garden space and provides beautiful decor for your deck.

Tree Branches

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Use found tree branches as spindles, or even in the construction of your entire railing to create a sense of variation. It compliments our biophilia; that innate tendency to connect with nature by creating a fluidity between what is man-made and what is natural.

Privacy Screen


Adding a privacy screen to the top of your railing, or continuing all the way to the deck floor not only provides privacy but a place for vines and flowers to grow, and twinkle lights to be hung. It also lends to other design possibilities such as hanging decor, and the light reflections created by the shape of the negative space. Horizontal slats, vertical slats, lattice pattens and other wood designs, as well as metal are available for creating a unique privacy wall.

Bar Rail

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Add some functionality to your railing by transforming it into a bar rail to enjoy burgers and beers on the deck. It also provides an opportunity to select stools to contribute to your aesthetic.

Sunburst & Criss-Cross

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There are endless wood patterns that can be created with the spindles of your deck. The farm-like criss-cross pattern can often be found on the decks of beach houses but can, of course, be used on any deck. The sunburst design is bright and cheery. It breaks away from the rigidity of horizontal or vertical lines allowing for a sophisitcated playfulness.


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Use flat, horizontal slats to create a backrest for a built-in bench. You can also create a backless bench with built-in flower boxes as your posts. A bench creates additional seating, extra space and provides design opportunities for pillows and throws and other decor.



Glass, or plexiglass, provides the greatest view, undisrupted by spindles and designs. You can also get an opaque or tinted glass which lets in light but allows for more privacy while also preventing birds from accidents with birds flying into glear glass. If you are using glass rather than plexiglass, be sure to select tempered, shatterproof safety glass.



Rock on! Powder-coated aluminum is rust proof and incredibly easy to maintain. It is available in a number of colours and designs.


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Cable railings, like glass, make for excellent views. They often contribute to a modern aesthetic.

Chippendale & Craftsman Styles


More wood designs! The list could go on forever, but these are just another couple common wood railing designs. The chippendale design is on the left, creating amazing light patterns and energizing effect. The craftsman design is on the right, adding interest but remains calm and conservative.