When thinking about putting up a fence, there are many things to consider. Most people think of fences as a tool for keeping strangers and animals out of your yard, but a quality fence can be so much more.
The style of fence that you choose can greatly affect your enjoyment of the finished product. The most important thing to consider when building a fence is what it will be used for, besides setting up a boundary for your property.
Chain link fences usually come in a straight metal finish or coated in coloured plastic. Chain link is one of the least expensive types of fence and is available in different gauges, or thickness of wire, to allow for a variance between durability and price. As an added bonus, a chain link fence can pull double duty as a garden trellis which can greatly enhance the aesthetics of the fence. Imagine your fence coated from top to bottom in passion flower, wisteria, or lavender.
Wooden fences are offered in four main styles which can then be branched off to create a personal touch. The four main styles are privacy, semi-privacy, split-rail, and picket.
Privacy fencing is several boards butted up to each other preventing anything from getting through. This can be particularly useful if you do not want outside people disturbing your yard. For a unique touch you can add a lattice pattern at the top of your privacy fence or cut between posts an elongated U shape from the top of the boards to create a wave pattern.
Semi-privacy fencing is created by allowing a small gap, usually one to three inches, between each board so as to allow people and animals to see through while still stopping anyone from crossing over. The bonus to a semi-privacy fence is that the wind can pass harmlessly between the boards, instead of applying direct pressure to the fence. Staggering boards on either side of the main supports will allow wind to continue to pass through, but will make it more difficult for people and animals to see through.
Split-rail fencing is stereotypically used in the country, often for corralling horses or cattle. This type of fence involves several vertical posts evenly spaced with two or three horizontal logs or boards running between each. This type of fence will not likely deter people and animals from entering or exiting your yard, but it can give your home a traditional “country” impression.
Picket fencing is originally one of the most popular fencing types. It is much like the semi-privacy fence, but involves boards that have been tapered or pointed at the top. To this day a white picket fence is considered to be the conventional vision of middle class suburban life in America.
There are too many styles of stonework, concrete, and iron fencing for me to possibly be able to describe each one. My favourite aspect of stone fencing is the resemblance to a medieval castle. A concrete fence is more easily accessible, but does not provide the same feeling. Wrought iron fencing can be very expensive, but it is absolutely gorgeous. Wrought iron fences can also support many styles of climbing vines.
It’s important when choosing your fence to think about your personal style and preferences. Is it important that no one be able to see through? Do you prefer the look and feel of wood, metal, or vinyl? What height will your finished product be? Will you be able to devote time, energy, and possibly money to upkeep the fence in terms of regular cleaning, as some types of fences are more prone to graffiti?