FENCES FOR ALL REASONS AND SEASONS
Wood Fencing, Chain Length, Wrought Iron, Vinyl? It's All Here
Fence Types and Materials
These days you'll find many choices when it comes to fencing materials. There are different woods, including pressure-treated woods; chain link; metal such as aluminum and wrought iron; and vinyl. Wood and vinyl fencing are used for privacy as well as security; chain link or other typical types of metal fencing doesn't give you much privacy, but is good for keeping kids and dogs where you want (or don't want) them. Picket fences, made of wood or of vinyl, aren't usually considered privacy fences either, but will keep your pets and children in the yard and others out of the yard. We mostly see the privacy wood fences in back yards, and the chain link or metal in the front, since most of us want to see what's happening on our street, but want the privacy and security in the back yard, since that's where we often play or entertain. Here are the basic fence types, including materials often found for each type.
Wood and Vinyl Fencing make good privacy fences. If you want to enjoy your back yard without the neighbors seeing your activities, choose one of these fencing options. Styles of wood or vinyl fencing include the "stockade" style, which offers a solid barrier between your yard and your neighbors; tall picket fencing, which provides partial privacy; and a popular alternative design which has a solid barrier for 3/4 of the fence, topped by a lattice on top, giving you an airy feel to your fencing. There's also the "good neighbor" fence, which offsets the panels on each side of the rails. This way, no one has to look at the less-attractive backside of the fence. It can also be considered a good fence for security purposes, and serves to be a noise and wind barrier.
If your primary concern is security, you should know that chain link fences usually offer more security than the wood ones, especially if they are built at least 6ft. high, and use a thickness of at least 9 guage. A chain link fence will allow you to see what's going on outside your property yet keep people and animals out. With a 6ft. fence, they're really going to have to work to get into your yard. Wrought iron fences are also excellent choices for security, but they are much more expensive than the chain link fence. Chain link fencing is more economical than most other fence types. Also in this category is fencing for your swimming pool.
Decorative fencing can also serve a purpose besides appearance. The picket fencing you may remember from childhood does serve to keep animals and people out, as well as serving as a frame for your house and yard. Post and rail fencing offers little in the way of security or privacy, but is purely decorative unless you have a cattle ranch. Another type of decorative fencing is the lattice fence. This type of fencing is often used to hide something in your yard that you don't wish to look at, such as an HVAC unit, RV or boat. They offer little privacy or security to the outside world, but if your purpose is to hide something less attractive, consider this option. Wrought iron fencing can be both decorative and very secure.
Sources and Price Ranges
We found several informative online sources for fence building. If you are a do-it-yourselfer and want to build your own fence, the DIY web site had step-by-step instructions, materials lists and other information for you. Another good site for the do-it-yourselfer was Hometime.com. Master Halco and the About web site were good choices as well, and all of these sites featured photos of these fence types.
For wood privacy fencing, you can buy the materials as prefabricated panels, or with the panel boards sold separately. For instance, at our local Lowe's, we can purchase panels separately for $2.79 to $3.97 each. Both types are of cedar, the more expensive panel is treated to last longer so it would be worth the extra money. You can also buy pre-fabricated panels in 6 to 8 ft. lengths for prices ranging from $50-80 per length. To buy chain link fencing in a roll, we found prices from around $65 for a 50 ft. roll of 60 inch 11 1/2 gauge fencing at Lowe's
If you are not the do-it-yourself type, check your local sources for pricing on installation. Included in the installation should be delivery of fencing materials, the installation of your new fence, including setting posts in concrete, etc., gate installation and testing of same, and clean-up and hauling away of all debris and excess materials. If you are all thumbs when it comes to handy-man type work, or the thought of hauling all the debris to the dump doesn't excite you, it may be worth the extra expense to hire it done. Lowes and other dealers have experienced installers on hand to do this chore for you.
Our closing topic will cover some specialty fencing types, like pool fencing, deer fencing, and wireless fencing for your dog.
If you have a pool, for safety of your guests, especially children, you should fence it. Usually types of fencing include lattice or picket fencing. You will probably want it to be somewhat decorative to go with the rest of your landscaping, but its primary function is for safety purposes.
If you have a problem with deer invading your yard, standard fencing often will not be a deterrent to them. Deer fencing is made of a heavy metal, and can be expensive. It is also not decorative, so if this is important to you, there are other alternatives. McGregor Fence Company's deer fences come in three strengths, and prices start at $88 per 100 ft. roll. There are also electric deer fences, which deter the deer from entering your yard. These are less expensive than the usual deer fence, but if you have children or other pets, this could be a problem.
Electronic dog fencing. If you don't have a fence and don't want to install one at this time, yet want to keep your dog in your yard, consider an electronic pet containment system. This is a system of underground wiring, a transmitter which plugs into a standard outlet and a receiver in your dog's collar. When the dog gets too close to the wiring, the receiver sounds a high-pitched warning tone. If he continues nearer, he will receive a mild shock that should make him stop and think. It may take a few days to train him to what is going on, but this should keep your pet in your yard. And if your yard is already fenced but you want to keep him out of your flower beds, you can install the wires around the flower beds and expect the same results. Keep in mind that sometimes this does not work to keep your dog in, if he is very determined to escape.
Before you begin installation, whether you're doing the work or having it done for you, remember to check with your local authorities regarding fence regulations. While most areas do not require a building permit, there are often restrictions as to height and placement of your fence. Knowing what these are ahead of time will save you headaches and probably money too.