Before even starting to consider what type of garden fencing options are available to you, there are a few points you should get clear since they will influence your decision.
- Appearance. Attractive fencing can add considerable value to your property. On the other hand, unsightly fencing can reduce your property’s appeal to prospective buyers. So it is important to make sure the style of fencing you choose fits in with the character of your property and the surrounding area. Attractive fencing can add value to your property in excess of the cost of installing it.
- Security. If security is a concern, possibly to keep burglars out or perhaps to keep dogs in, then you will have to opt for a stronger, higher construction. You can also include anti-climb measures in the design of your fencing.
- Shading. Remember that fencing can shade areas of your property. This can be good or bad depending on your climate, your preference and the types of plants you grow.
- Privacy. Most of us value our privacy, at least for some areas like the patio perhaps, so consider this aspect before finalising your decision on fencing choice.
- Screening. Fencing can provide a very effective windbreak. A windbreak is a ‘must’ for some exposed gardens and having one can have the knock on effect of producing savings on heating bills. Also, for those affected by noise from an adjacent road, fencing can go some way towards reducing the sound level.
- Maintenance. Decide (honestly!) how much maintenance you are prepared to do, or fund, over the years. No form of fencing comes entirely without maintenance requirements but some need a lot more than others!
- Legislation. Sometimes legislation sets out restrictions on the height and type of fencing you are allowed to erect. Your local authority will provide any regulations governing your area and this is especially important if your property is listed or falls within a conservation area. An experienced landscaper or fencer can also advise.
- Neighbours. Even though you may wish your new fence to be between you and your neighbours, you don’t want it to come between you and your neighbours! Discuss your plans with your neighbours, and listen to what they have to say. Perhaps they may even be willing to share costs.
- Budget. Have in mind how much are you willing/able to spend. Remember that investing in quality fencing may require an increased initial cost but produce savings in lower maintenance costs over the years.
Now you have a clear idea of what you are seeking from your new fence, here are your best garden fencing options:
1. WOOD FENCING. A natural and traditional option. Its versatility is considerable: it can have open slats or closed slats; it can be easily worked around obstacles or to accommodate level changes; it can be virtually any colour if you paint it; it can be modified relatively easily at a later date. The costs of wood fencing can vary greatly depending on the quality of wood you choose, so there is almost certainly a choice to suit your budget. If you are looking for a ‘quick fix’, it can be a cheap option. Beware that wood fencing will require maintenance and, if not properly maintained, will deteriorate, especially in a wet climate. The quality of wood you use will have a big influence on its future durability, so buy the best quality you can afford.
2. PVC FENCING. Relatively new to the UK market, this material has the obvious benefit of being low maintenance. At the cheaper end of the range, however, it can look a bit ‘plasticy’. It comes in a range of colours, but you are committed to that colour for its lifetime as you cannot overpaint. Also, it is not easy to modify its shape should you choose to redesign your garden in future. In colder climates, PVC can become brittle with age and in sunnier climates PVC can discolour with age.
3. FENCING RAILINGS. Modern railings are usually made from steel or aluminium and thanks to advanced paint technology often come from the factory pre-coated in a weatherproof layer. That means that maintenance, at least for some years, is minimal.
4. CHAIN LINK FENCING. Normally associated with commercial properties, home owners should not discount this type of fencing out of hand. It can be purchased with a coloured plastic coating making it bit more appealing and if its location allows for plant cover, the fencing serves its function as a barrier and yet is virtually hidden from view. This is a reasonably cheap option and will need little maintenance over the years.
One other decision: DIY or Hire A Professional?
While many DIY tasks around the home are well within the skill-set of most people, fencing is only for those few DIY enthusiasts who are prepared to do a lot of hard work in researching materials and best practice and also in terms of physical labour. It may also involve hiring specialist tools and equipment which can be expensive.
Hiring a professional landscaper is usually the best option for most of us, and will give the assurance of a job well done and liability insurance in the unlikely event that anything does go wrong. A qualified and experienced landscaper or fencer will discuss your requirements, be able to advise on legislative restrictions and give you a free quote.
As a final thought, when you hire a landscape gardener, you really do get what you pay for; if it seems too good to be true, then in all likelihood it probably is.