As the adage goes, good fences make good neighbors. While this generally refers to perimeter fences surrounding a home, fences also play an influential role when it comes to landscaping.
Keep in mind that getting the perfect fence isn’t as easy as copying the design, size, or materials used for someone else’s enclosure. Each home and yard is unique, and the same goes for your family’s needs and preferences.
To ensure that your fencing will serve you well and last for many years, you should plan wisely and consider it an investment in your future. Spend plenty of time researching your options before you make a decision on which type of fence is ideal for your yard.
In this article, I’ll help you deal with your new fence installation, giving you a general idea of landscape fencing and its many uses.
Table of Contents
What is Fencing in Landscaping?
As the name suggests, landscape fencing refers to design ideas for enclosing your landscape or property. These fences also benefit you beyond beautification reasons, as they also help define space, control views, and improve homesite safety.
Any kind of fencing is considered an integral feature of a landscape, which indicates a private possession as opposed to a public space. These landscape fences are also commonly called “partitions” since they work like indoor walls enclosing an area such as a backyard garden.
In addition to creating borders and separations, many fences are designed to be more of an aesthetic landscape feature. Detailed fences such as picket or split rail fences will add a certain feel and identity to our property.
Factors to Consider in Choosing the Perfect Fence for Your Yard
Nowadays, there are various types of fences in many different materials, colors, and styles. Many of which do not require painting, saving you the labor and additional costs incurred. The wide range of choices may prove to be a challenge to many, particularly new homeowners.
If you’re thinking about getting landscape fencing, here are some factors to consider in your decision-making process.
Rules and Regulations
It’s crucial to consult with the local governing bodies before you dig too deeply into this fence idea. Most areas will require a building permit, and most will have specific guidelines regarding property line offsets and height, design, and material restrictions depending on the location in the yard.
It doesn’t pay for you to start envisioning your newly fenced-in yard until you figure out what the powers that be will allow you to do.
Many people are interested in fencing for privacy and safety reasons, and some fences are both. I told you this fencing stuff was a bit tricky.
It seems that most folks interested in fencing are interested for privacy reasons. Maybe they want to keep their yard private from the neighbors’ yard or just want to keep their pets and children privately enclosed in the yard so that there will be no worries. Wait, is that privacy or safety? A bit of both, I guess.
With the population rising and land prices increasing, privacy fencing is growing in popularity as an affordable way to get the privacy that a larger piece of land in a less populated area might get you. Privacy fences are often too tall to see over and often use side-by-side or overlapping boards to keep prying eyes out.
Usually, privacy fences along a property border must be installed so that the attractive side faces the neighbors’ yards. This is one reason why the shadow-board fences have become so popular since they look the same on both sides.
Of course, privacy fencing can be made from a multitude of materials and in as many styles as we can dream up. The most crucial factor here is just a bit of privacy.
If you want a bit of privacy but still want to cross through with ease, you may want to consider an access fence. The access fence is just offset fencing sections that effectively block the view while allowing easy access to both sides of the fence. Access is a big deal when you are considering fencing your yard. Will you need multiple gates, or maybe an entire fence built for easy access?
Security or safety fencing is a very popular category. A good strong fence can keep out wandering neighborhood kids and pets as well as would-be criminals eying up your belongings.
If you aren’t concerned about privacy and only safety, you might be interested in the industry-standard chain-link fence. These have been used for a long time to keep things, people, and pets where they belong and not where they don’t. If you are concerned about safety and privacy, a tall chain-link fence with slats might be just the thing for you.
Many industrial buildings are surrounded by chain-link fencing, gates, and barbed wire as an actual crime deterrent. Barbed wire may be a bit too industrial for most residential neighborhoods, but a good chain link fence and gate have saved a lot of headaches by keeping pets and kids in and keeping strangers out. Or at least significantly slowing them down.
If the old chain link look doesn’t do it for you, there are many security fences made with more attractive materials such as wood, steel, iron, aluminum, iron, or even PVC.
Sometimes, it’s not so much about what you are keeping in or out, nor is it about blocking the view. Sometimes the fencing is meant to simply be attractive. Many a split rail, white picket, or ornamental iron fence section have been installed for no reason other than to beautify the property.
Curb appeal definitely matters when it comes to fencing. A tall ugly fence blocking out the sun will not be too attractive from the road, nor will a chain-link fence that makes your yard look more like an impound yard. Property value is a big deal. In the long run, you will likely be selling your house, so build a fence that suits your needs, but keep in mind that the curb appeal might be what sells the place.
Fences are an excellent way to keep pets, and other animals contained. Having a nice safe, fenced-in yard can be a great comfort to the homeowner letting their pet out back for a bit of exercise. When considering a pet fence, you need to consider the countless hours this new fence will save you. This will be all of the time spent watching, following, and picking up after your pet on all of those walks around the block and backyard visits. That fence is sounding more attractive already.
Be aware that certain fences may be hazardous to your pets, especially if they wear collars. Pet collars can sometimes get stuck on fences, resulting in the pets suffocating themselves with their own collars. Pets have also been known to get into trouble with fences that have gaps large enough to allow them to stick their head through the opening. Be sure that your fence design won’t let either of these tragic events happen to your pets. This is not a one size fits all category. Fencing a yard for a cat or small dog is entirely different than fencing your yard for a large dog.
Many fences are built to keep animals out as well. A well-constructed fence might just keep the bunnies and deer away from the veggie and flower gardens. Keep in mind that deer are fantastic jumpers and can clear tall fences. Depending on your location and how hungry they are, your deer fence may need to be 8-10′ tall if you want to be sure to keep them out.
On the flip side of that, the fence must be tight to the ground when trying to keep out rabbits. Those little bunnies can get into very small holes. Sometimes, burying a section of chicken wire or hardware cloth around the bottom of the fence and digging it into the ground might be the only way to keep them out.
Some animals, we really can’t fence. Squirrels, chipmunks, gophers, and mice are a few. These pesky critters can get through almost any sort of fencing that we can muster.
Before having a fence erected, you will need to consider the weather conditions of your area. Doing so will help you install the right fence to fit your needs.
For instance, if you live in a coastal area and choose to have a metal or wooden fence, be prepared to contend with rot or rust often. Sea breezes can be very destructive, and salt is not friendly to many materials.
Choose a fencing system that can survive the various weather conditions of your environment– rain or shine. Aluminum and PVC fences prove to be excellent choices in this respect. In particular, PVC materials can withstand both harsh ultraviolet rays and moisture.
Many different materials are available for your fencing needs, from wood to aluminum PVC to steel. To determine the best material type for your home, you must carefully weigh your options and ensure the pros outweigh the cons.
Some fence materials are cheap, easy to install, and resilient to different weather conditions. Meanwhile, others come at a hefty cost, require a lot of maintenance, and are prone to rust or decay.
I will discuss the pros and cons in detail in a later segment. Nonetheless, it’s best to take your time in deciding the appropriate fencing arrangement for your property.
In erecting a fence, you will need to consider the maintenance you need to do after its initial installation. Determine the amount of time you can commit to tending to your fence and maintaining its proper condition.
Typically, you get what you pay for, so cheaper upfront costs may result in more expensive and time-consuming repairs down the road.
Not all materials that would appear to be the same are, in fact, the same. Be very careful of your choices. A wooden fence built from pine is quite different than a wooden fence made from pressure-treated pine, cedar, or redwood.
Stainless steel is very different from standard steel. When dealing with metal fencing of any kind, the thickness of the material will make a huge difference in its durability, weight, and cost.
When considering some of the plastic (PVC) fences on the market, considering the grade of the fence will significantly affect its durability. You can find PVC fences that are very lightweight and flimsy and others that are very well built and durable. Once again, the UV resistance and thickness of the PVC material will make a big difference, as well as whether it is reinforced or not.
Having painted post and rail horse fencing as a kid, I will tell you that I would certainly choose a fence material that does not require painting as that can be a very time-consuming yearly task.
What is the Best Fence For You?
How do you decide which fence material is the best fit for your needs? For starters, you need to understand the pros and cons of various fencing materials.
Here’s a brief rundown to help you select the best fence material for your property:
- Average Cost of Materials: $10 to $20 per linear foot
- Uses: Wooden fences can serve different uses, such as privacy or security fences and landscape beautification. Ornamental picket fences are popular front yard choices. Meanwhile, board-on-board, dog-ear, horizontal slats, and stockade are famous styles for backyard fences.
- Advantages: Wood is considered the most popular fencing material, given that it’s affordable compared to other options. It’s also one of the easiest fences to build on your own, allowing you to save money on professional installation. Given proper care, a wood fence can last for many years. As stated above, the wooden fence category is a complicated one. Do your research and find the type of wood that will best serve your needs.
- Disadvantages: Wooden fences generally require more maintenance, given that it is susceptible to pests, rot, and water damage. You may need to repaint and give your wood fence a power wash every few years if you choose some of the lower-cost alternatives, while a redwood fence can go many years with no trouble at all.
- Average Cost of Materials: $7 to $32 per linear foot
- Uses: Like wrought iron fences, aluminum fences are available in varying colors and styles. These fences are ideal for backyards and front yards, and they are also excellent choices for poolside fences.
- Advantages: If you’re into personalized designs, aluminum fencing is the best choice as it is highly customizable at an affordable price. The material also doesn’t rust, so it doesn’t demand that much maintenance on your part.
- Disadvantages: Aluminum is a weak material, making it prone to damage in harsh weather and harsh use. If your fence may encounter rough-housing teenagers, falling tree limbs, or large breed dogs, aluminum will not hold up well.
Wrought Iron Fence
- Average Cost of Materials: $24 to $35 per linear foot
- Uses: This material is used mainly for decorative and beautification purposes. Hence, they are available in a wide range of designs. You can choose to include spiked railheads for added security. Wrought iron fences are very popular as decorative front yards and entrances due to their ornate features.
- Advantages: Both beautiful and durable, this material is perfect for those seeking to erect decorative or creative fences in their yards. This material is also strong and resilient, so you can count on it to last for years.
- Disadvantages: Since most wrought iron fences are custom-made, prepare to shell out a hefty sum since these may get quite expensive. The material is also prone to rust and will typically need a fresh primer coating at least once every five years.
Vinyl Fence (PVC)
- Average Cost of Materials: $18 to $40 per linear foot
- Uses: This material makes for perfect, low-cost privacy fences, post and rail fences, and picket fences. It can also provide excellent security, beautiful landscape decoration, and pool or pet fencing. A vinyl fence can be used for both front or rear yard fencing as it can be constructed to look just like painted wood, and PVC and vinyl are essentially the same material.
- Advantages: Generally affordable and weather resistant. This material is available in different UV resistance levels, different thicknesses, and price ranges. Be sure to get the variety that will serve your needs. Warping, rotting, and painting are not an issue with PVC as long as you don’t paint it. Most vinyl fencing can be easily snapped together, making the installation process a breeze even for first-timers. Commercial grade PVC will tend to be quite nice and durable.
- Disadvantages: Buying cheap PVC fencing will give you a cheap-looking, not-so-sturdy fence. Cheap fencing in this category will be prone to breaking in frigid cold weather and may sag and discolor over time. PVC fencing will not do well with rough treatment, such as kids climbing, dogs jumping against the fence, or limbs falling on the fence.
- Average Cost of Materials: $5 to $40 per linear foot. Note that higher prices may be applicable for thick-gauge, high-security chain-link fences.
- Uses: If your main priority is to add an extra level of security to your front yard or backyard, a chain-link fence is a perfect choice. It keeps intruders (such as wild animals) off your private property. Its open design doesn’t give a lot of privacy, but you can buy attachable plastic privacy slats if you have the extra budget. Some homeowners also opt to include a barbed wire top for the additional sense of security.
- Advantages: This fencing material is generally cheap, durable, and maintenance-free. DIY homeowners can install it, but unless the homeowner is in the construction trades, I would suggest leaving it to a professional who installs these fences every day.
- Disadvantages: It contributes minimal visual appeal to a landscape. When buying a fence material without a protective coating, the metal can corrode over time.
- Average Cost of Materials: $3 to $6 per linear foot
- Uses: Generally, bamboo fencing adds privacy to a backyard. You can erect a bamboo fence in two ways: growing live bamboo in clumps or buying rolled bamboo fence panels.
- Advantages: This fence material is an eco-friendly option, which will be a delight to environmentally-conscious homeowners. Bamboo is also cheap and easy to install, making it a great pick for those who want a fence without breaking the bank.
- Disadvantages: Given that Bamboo is a type of wood, it’s naturally prone to rot and pests such as roaches. It is also considered an invasive plant; hence live bamboo can take over your yard or quickly spread beyond your property lot. If you purchase rolled bamboo panels, it’s crucial to apply the protective coating and install them a couple of inches above the ground to prevent early decay.
- Average Cost of Materials: $15 to $45 per linear foot
- Uses: These solid panels offer security and privacy and provide a safe containment if you have pets and toddlers at home. Composite fencing usually blocks views given its tall height, so it’s ideal to use for backyards rather than front yards.
- Advantages: Composite fence material comprises plastic, resin, and wood pieces– making it a durable mix. It is also available in various colors and designs that imitate the look of natural wood, minus its vulnerability to rot and pests. Some manufacturers also offer composite fencing that takes on a natural stone look. This fence is generally low-maintenance and requires occasional water spraying to look appealing.
- Disadvantages: Given their durability and premium quality, composite fences are more expensive than other options. It will also be challenging to install on your own and may sag or fade over time. Composite is a very loose term, and lesser costs mean lesser quality, so buyers beware.
- Average Cost of Materials: $10 to $80 per square foot. Its price may vary based on the stone quality and fence thickness.
- Uses: Typically, brick, concrete, stucco, or stone fences increase curb appeal and add heightened security to your home. If you install them high enough, they make for private outdoor spaces. Meanwhile, low masonry fences are perfect for boosting the appeal of your front yard landscaping. Taller versions are an ideal fit for the backyard.
- Advantages: A masonry fence, when properly installed, can stand the test of time and harsh weather conditions with little to no maintenance.
- Disadvantages: A high-quality stone fence is a very expensive option. This type of material is already pricey, and it also requires professional installation.
Invisible Dog Fence
- Average Cost of Materials: $200 to $2,500. The price depends on your yard size and the number of your dogs or other pets.
- Uses: Also known as an electric fence, this material consists of an underground barrier activated by a receiver in your pet’s collar. It’s a great pick if you want to keep your furry companions in the yard without obstructing your view. Invisible fences can be erected in the front yard, backyard, or both and can cover areas in any form or size.
- Advantages: Invisible fencing is less expensive and easier to install than other types of fences, and it also won’t get in the way or block your views.
- Disadvantages: Pets will be contained in your yard with the help of electric fencing, but they cannot keep other animals out. For instance, wild animals like Raccoons or Coyotes may still enter your property unannounced, and this leaves your pet with no method of escaping them. Also, invisible fences stop working if the power goes out as they are powered by electricity. The static shock that keeps your dog from crossing the boundary may also pose unintended consequences.
- Average Cost of Materials: $3 to $5 per linear foot
- Uses: Hog wire works as an excellent fence for gardens, as it keeps intruders away from your flowers, vegetables, and other plants. In general, wire fencing plays a huge role in rural and urban settings. It serves agricultural, industrial, and aesthetic purposes.
- Advantages: This fencing material is relatively cheap and easy to install, so you can skip paying labor fees from a local contractor. Aside from making occasional repairs, your new wire fence is expectedly maintenance-free.
- Disadvantages: Wire fencing can be visually unflattering to many and can sag and decay over time. Hence, consider this for practical fencing purposes rather than for landscape beautification.
- Average Cost of Materials: $17 to $90 per linear foot
- Uses: Steel fencing primarily serves as a protective barrier on your property.
- Advantages: Undoubtedly, you can count on the strength of your steel fence, given its power and durability. High-quality steel fencing also has a long life expectancy.
- Disadvantages: This material can be quite expensive, lacks versatility, and is difficult to install due to its heavy weight.
LLDPE Fencing (SimTek)
- Average Cost of Materials: $70 to $90 per linear foot
- Uses: Linear Low-Density Polyethelyne is a durable fencing material that will be low maintenance yet perform better than PVC.
- Advantages: A combination of galvanized steel and recycled polyethylene plastic, this material type is resilient and can withstand strong impact, and it is also UV light-resistant. SimTek fencing is available in various styles and sizes, giving you plenty of options for your home.
- Disadvantages: This material isn’t widely accessible, as opposed to other fencing types. Simtek Fences are more expensive than wood or vinyl, so it takes a particular buyer to afford this fence.
- Average Cost of Materials: $70 to $100 per linear foot
- Uses: This material is mainly used for pool areas or scenic views. Not only does it offer attractive benefits, but it is also a unique safety barrier. It is perfect for homeowners with stunning waterfront or bush locations, considered a stylish alternative to traditional wood or aluminum fence.
- Advantages: This high-end fencing option offers a sleek, elegant aesthetic. It will also provide you with an uninhibited view of your surroundings. Glass fencing can be considered an investment that adds value to your property. Any deck, patio, or terrace transforms into an attractive focal point that can belong in a lifestyle magazine.
- Disadvantages: Like most premium fences, this material can be expensive. It also requires high maintenance and may feel a bit risky around playful little kids or pets.
Now that you’ve acquainted yourself with the basics of different fence materials for your property, you can now make an informed decision on which one is the right fit for your needs!
Low-Budget DIY Fencing Options
If you want to erect a boundary around your property on the cheap, you certainly have multiple options to choose from. Check out these DIY cheap fence ideas for your next project:
Simple Pallet Fence
As the saying goes, simplicity is beauty. Even for beginners, a simple pallet fence is a quick and easy DIY project, and it only takes a few hours to install and is a considerably low-cost option.
The construction is relatively straightforward: pallets are stacked one on top of the other, with T-posts placed between the pallet boards and hammered into the ground to maintain the fence upright. Screws are also used to secure the pallets as they are added. Apply a coat of paint to make it look visually appealing. For a beautiful vertical garden project, consider planting herbs or flowers.
Split Rail Fence
This historical fencing option requires no special tools, as long as you have wood logs split into quarters or eighths. Rails are placed in an interlocking zigzag manner to ensure sturdiness. Generally, split rail fences are constructed so that they are simple to build and dismantle when needed.
Fence posts can be installed at the joints to improve stability, and quality woods can be used that resist rot. A truckload of this fencing material can be delivered, and the fence installed the same day. It is very easy to move around.
Another ancient yet simple building method, wattle fencing, requires no hardware or tools upon installation. It is completely made out of wood and relies wholly on tension to keep it upright.
For the posts, you’ll need pieces of thicker wood. Each one to two feet apart is hammered into the soil to a depth of one foot. Keep them close together if you want a sturdy finished product.
This fence has a lovely rustic appearance. You may create a live wall by planting clematis or other climbing plants along with it.
To build cheap fencing that is visually appealing, you can consider recycling old materials or buying new ones. Who knows, you might already have all the materials you need in your storage, especially if you happen to have torn down an old metal shed. Just sink some posts and fasten the corrugated panels.
This type of fence is constructed by piling cleared brushwood (small trees or twiggy vegetation) until a broad structure several feet tall is formed. It is nearly impenetrable due to the dense thicket of twigs and branches. Steel posts can be used at intervals to make this fence more sturdy.
If you’re looking for a living fence that offers seclusion, acts as a windbreak, and provides a habitat for birds and beneficial insects, you might want to consider installing a hedge. They are aesthetically pleasing and environmentally friendly. Just choose some thick, hearty shrubs that grow the height you are looking for and plant them in a tightly spaced line. Hawthorn, hemlock, prickly ash, barberry, boxwood, arborvitae, and privet are popular hedge plants. If you want the fence to be effective in winter, choose an evergreen plant.
Dry Stacked Stone Wall
This wall is made from stones of various sizes, without any mortar to hold them together. Building this wall is simple to pick up, but mastering it will take some time. Consider it a labor of love that necessitates a great deal of improvisation. You may be able to find the stone for free or cheap if you can find a farmer with fencerows full of stone. If you have a strong back and a bunch of patience, you can certainly build this wall cheaply. The taller it is, the wider the base needs to be as it is entirely held together by gravity.
Horizontal Plank Fence with Metal Posts
Any wooden design undoubtedly adds a rustic appeal, but adding the metal posts provides more sturdiness. The design is ideal to ensure security purposes and give better anchoring. Frequently, homeowners in windy or storm-prone areas have their fences torn up since they aren’t appropriately anchored. Layered slats of wood give the design a visual texture, and the placing also improves the home’s privacy.
Your next DIY fencing project doesn’t have to be expensive. Expect to spend nothing but some nails and fresh paint to build a recycled fence. This is an excellent fit for many environmentally conscious homeowners since they can use recycled materials free of cost. If you can find someone who is getting a new fence or wants to get rid of their fence, they may give you the materials in exchange for taking down and hauling away the fence. Then, simply take it to your house and rebuild it. Consider your skill level and available tools before choosing a DIY fencing project. Keep in mind that even a basic wooden plank fence can be functional.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best backyard fence?
If you browse the internet, there is no definite answer regarding the best fence for your backyard– but the wooden fence usually tops most of the lists out there. Wooden fences are very popular because of the wide range of choices available and the fact that most homeowners understand a bit of wood construction and can likely install them with much trouble.
What is the cheapest fence to build?
The cheapest fence to build is most likely the PVC fence. You can get cheap PVC fences, but I wouldn’t install them as they aren’t likely to last long. I would probably look for used high-quality fence material before choosing cheap new material.
Is it cheaper to build a fence horizontal or vertical?
This all depends on what you mean by this. A horizontal two rail post and rail fence goes in rather quickly. If you are asking about post and rail vs. pre-built panels, that is another question entirely. For the most part, the conditions of your ground and the tools available to you will generally have the most significant effect on your fence building timeline. Digging and setting the posts is always the most challenging part. Of course, the horizontal split rail fence is the quickest to install since it requires no tools and no digging.
What height is a fence allowed to be
There is no set standard height for a residential fence; the locale will have its own set of rules that all residents must adhere to. The most common height being regulated for front yard fences are around 3 feet, while for backyard fences is between 6 and 8 feet.
How do you build a fence without digging holes?
Building a fence without digging holes may be done in various ways. One of the most common methods is attaching a concrete block to a bracket that is heavy enough to carry the materials you will use to build a fence. Instead of digging holes, mount the posts in the bracket, and you can finish building your fence from there. Another alternative for a no-dig fence is purchasing a fence with driven steel posts. Of course, you can always build a split rail fence as mentioned above, but that is a very particular type of fence and may not suit your site.
What can I plant on a fence line?
If you want your newly installed fence to have some greenery growing on it, here are some recommended fast-growing and ornamental plants that you can install.
Annual Flowering Vines
- Passion Flower
- Hyacinth Bean
- Morning Glory
Perennial Flowering Vines
- Creeping Fig
- English Ivy
- Boston Ivy
- Variegated Porcelain Vine
- Silver Fleece Vine
- Virginia Creeper
What can I use instead of a fence?
You are not limited to using a traditional fence, given that there are many alternatives out there you can consider. For instance, you can choose a hedge, stonewall, brushwood, bamboo, corrugated metals, and a vertical garden for when you need to create a perimeter around your yard. Often, your options for fencing materials will be limited by the local authorities, so always check before you put in a bunch of work.
In summary, landscape fencing is crucial as it adds value to a property and provides other benefits to the owner and the neighborhood. Be meticulous in choosing the best fencing configuration for your home and check your local regulations before beginning.
If you have little to no prior experience in fence construction, consult with a professional fence builder to get a bid on your project. An experienced builder from your area will also be knowledgeable regarding rules, regulations, and material choices, so don’t be afraid to ask many questions.
I hope this guide helped you understand all you need to know about landscape fencing. If you need other informative guides like this, please browse our other articles!