Tips for Choosing Your Home Fencing

In 1914, the great American poet Robert Frost had his poem ‘Mending Wall’ published, and in that poem the wonderful line ‘good fences make good neighbors’ was written. Frost did not devise that most famous line. It was a popular colonial proverb from the 17th century, and variations exist from across the globe. In Norway, ‘there must be a fence between good neighbors’; in Japan, ‘build a fence even between intimate friends’; and from India, ‘love your neighbor, but do not throw down the dividing wall’.

The global and historical message is clear: your fences are important to maintain domestic harmony! So how do you choose the right fencing for you?

Purpose

You need to think about the reason why you need fencing. This is the most critical part of choosing your fencing and will affect all other considerations. Do you need to maintain a safe area for children to play in? Do you need to contain your pets or livestock? Or perhaps you just want a decorative fenced area to divide your space from next door. You need to have a clear idea as to what you want to achieve before decisions are made. For example, a timber picket fencing does not provide the same privacy as a traditional panel, but adds a decorative touch.

Dimensions

Once you are clear about the purpose of your fence, you need to think about the dimensions involved, and whether you have the space to realize your intention. You need to get your measuring tape out to confirm the height of the panel, and of course, the number of panels you will need. Measure out your fence line, and divide the distance by the width of the panel. If you calculate that you need a fraction of a panel to fill a gap, packing strips can be used to extend the panel. Don’t forget that if you are starting your fence at a building, an extra post or wall post will be needed to secure the fence.

Appearance

There are so many varieties of fence panels, and again, the purpose of your fence dictates the outcome. You can choose anything from a simple design, through to a more intricate design with a decorative trellis edge that supports climbing plants. A well-designed fence can no doubt improve your home’s curb appeal, but equally, a badly chosen one can detract from it. You need to also consider your neighbors – how does your fence look from their side? You may need to consider a fence that looks the same on their side as yours!

Treatment

You know your lifestyle, and what time you will have each year to treat your fences to maintain them. There are generally two types of treatments to consider: dip or pressure treated. Dip treated fences will provide up to 10 years anti-rot guarantee but will need an annual treatment with a timber preservative – you need to also think about the chemicals involved, as you may not want to expose yourself to them. Pressure treated panels provide a longer life-expectancy and do not need treating annually, which makes them the preferred choice for many.