“Good fences make good neighbors,” wrote the poet Robert Frost. In context, he wasn’t advocating for separation between people. Still, at times it’s true. But there are a lot of reasons to have a fence. And there are just as many types of fence to choose from.
Fences come in all shapes and sizes. They can be built for all sorts of reasons. If you’re looking to construct a fence, it’s important to know the options available.
Why Have A Fence
In general, a fence serves to divide or separate something. In general, fences serve to separate an area. It may be for the sake of privacy, preventing access or even a view of a certain area. But it might also be for safety. For instance, it’s important to have a fence around a pool so that young children don’t decide to take an unsupervised swim.
Fences can also be for the sake of animals. They can allow your pets to be outside yet still keep them from running off. At the same time, a fence can keep other animals out of your yard or garden.
But fences can be for aesthetic reasons, too. Sometimes they need to have any practical effect. Instead, they help your property look better and highlight certain areas.
When choosing your fence, it’s important to know what your goals are. The design and materials used have functional as well as decorative uses. Most fences that have a practical purpose can look great, although not all good-looking fences will have a practical effect.
Types Of Fences Ideal For Yards
With so many types of fence, how do you choose? Are you familiar with the options available? Do you know which types will best suit your needs? Almost anything can be used to serve as a fence, but here are a few popular types.
Owning a home with a white picket fence shouts “American Dream.” It’s a traditional element that has a certain “throwback” appeal.
Picket fences are mainly decorative, although they can also help keep larger dogs in the yard. Around your garden or lawn, they can serve as a way to prevent someone from trampling your plants and grass.
While white is the most traditional color, there’s nothing to prevent you from adding some color.
A picket fence is generally only waist-high, so they don’t provide anything in the way of privacy and little security. Taller ones often don’t look as great because of the thin vertical slats. It’s still possible to look between the slats, though, so they don’t add much more in terms of privacy, either.
Shorter ones can look great around garden beds, though! They can also be a good reminder of where you or guests can walk or where you need to stop mowing.
Bar fences use slats arranged vertically or horizontally to make the fence. Picket fences do belong to this category, but they are so well-known and popular in their own right, we gave them their own section.
A bar fence generally serves for security but not for privacy. This category is generally tall enough that it can’t be seen over, but you can see between the bars.
This is a great type of fence for keeping people from intruding on your property. It’s also great for keep children or pets in as long as the bars are close enough together that they can’t squeeze through.
The open space helps prevent these fences from feeling restrictive. The general design and stronger materials, though, do provide a certain level of safety.
It’s hard not to be redundant here since the whole purpose of a privacy fence is right in the name. When you want to enjoy your yard without prying eyes on you, this is the right style to choose.
The boards or slats in a privacy fence don’t have space between them. That means people can’t see in and you can enjoy your own space in peace.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t stylish; these can actually look great, too. You can choose from a variety of materials. Designs are varied as well and can help create a beautiful environment in your yard.
Of course, privacy fences are tall. Most measure at least six feet high so that the average person can’t peer over them.
Chain Link Fence
Chain link is a more basic style that’s designed to keep people from entering certain areas. It’s not the most elegant of fences, but it can do the job effectively.
This style is common in both mid-height and full-height varieties. At mid-height it’s a good reminder to respect property limits. At full height, it will keep out all but determined intruders.
Of all the fence types we’ve looked at it, chain link in its basic form provides the least privacy. Its “woven” structure is strong but doesn’t block visibility at all.
If you have a dog that likes to dig under the fence, chain link might be a good alternative. You can have it extend a foot or so below the soil so that your pet won’t be able to get under it.
If you do want more privacy or a nicer look, you can add intertwined slats that pass through the fence mesh. There are a variety of materials used in the slats and a great selection of colors.
Wrought Iron Fences
For a classy look, wrought iron is the way to go. Fences made with this material provide a simple security solution. But that doesn’t diminish their stately appearance.
Wrought iron fences often appear in front of private estates or official buildings. These tall fences do a great job of reminding people where the edge of the property. At the same time, their open spacing makes them feel less repressive.
Shorter versions also go great around front yards. They allow a clear view of the house but make a clear distinction between the public right of way and private property.
True wrought iron is handcrafted – that’s what the “wrought” means. But other materials can simulate the appearance.
Wrought iron fences do keep people off the lawn and provide some security (any fence can be climbed, of course).
Since these consist of narrow posts placed at intervals, they don’t offer anything in the way of privacy. Also, they’re not great at keeping pets in or other animals out. Children or slim adults can also easily slip through the bars. Ultimately, these look fantastic and can keep vehicles out. But they do little for people or animal security.
Pool fences aren’t a specific type of fence; they can be of many types. But their importance can’t be underestimated.
Choosing an appropriate pool fence is important for the safety of your family. A secure fence is also often required as part of homeowners’ insurance.
A pool fence should have a gate that locks and be sturdy and high enough that no one can enter who shouldn’t be able to do. It’s an important part of basic pool safety.
There are many types of fence but there are also many materials to construct them. More modern materials are often lightweight and sturdier compared to older materials. At the same time, they can look just like the original.
Chain link and wrought iron are great materials, but the material is identical to the type of fence, so we’ve covered them above.
Wood slats come in many forms for the building of fences. They may be pickets or wider boards. They can serve as upright posts and cross pieces to which slats are attached, too. Slats can be horizontal and vertical.
You can paint or stain wood or opt for an unfinished look.
Of course, there’s a degree of maintenance necessary. Nails do tend to work loose over time and need to be hammered back flat. The wood itself may also rot over time. Painting or stain has to be redone periodically as well.
Teak, redwood, and cedar hold up best, although they are also more expensive than other types of wood. Bamboo actually holds up great also and can help create a unique look in your yard.
Aluminum fences hold up well without much care. They also make a great alternative to many materials like wrought iron because they are less expensive and lighter. They hold up well and only needs to be washed. Occasionally, you may have to touch up the paint.
Aluminum is rust-resistant and durable so it will serve you for years. The great look endures over time and doesn’t call for much labor.
Another fantastic material for fencing is PVC. It’s moldable and available in a variety of colors. PVC can imitate wood, metal, or nearly anything else you can imagine.
A picket fence, privacy fence, bar fence or nearly anything else can be built out of PVC.
PVC won’t rust or decay. It’s also lightweight but durable. That means it will serve you for years to come without much maintenance beyond simple cleaning.
If you like a rustic look, you might like the idea of recycling old pallets. They can create the appearance of a bar or picket fence. You can even choose to have the slats go up and down or across.
A pallet fence only requires fastening the sides of pallets together and securely anchoring them to the ground. They provide some protection against trespassing or children or larger pets escaping. There’s a degree of privacy, too. There is some space between the slats, but it’s small compared to the slats themselves. The two layers help cut down on how much can be seen by a casual viewer, too.
There are also other great ideas that combine materials. For instance, decorative cement posts look great between sections of wrought iron fencing. Mixing lengths and widths of pieces of wood blend well to create a wide array of look, too.
Whether you’re looking for something practical or something decorative, there is a fence that will meet your needs. It can help keep your family and pets safe as well as highlight the beauty of your lawn and garden. No matter what purpose you want your fence to serve, you can do it with style!