Selecting the right fence for you will depend on what you want the fence to do for you. Are you after privacy, do you need security, are you going for decoration, do you need a fence to contain pets or children or do you simply need a perimeter demarcation line?
Often you’ll find you need a mix of all the above options rather than a straight forward simple selection. With this in mind we can evaluate which common fences may be best for you.
If privacy is the watch word in your selection you’ll want something relatively tall, without gaps, durable but cost effective. Often you’ll find that timber fences will cover all these bases for you. You’ll be looking at a typical fence panel fence initially on the basis of cheapest price and easy installation and height options. Fence panel fences come in standard heights from 3ft through to 6ft, and being of standard width they are easy to install and maintain over time.
If security is your aim you’ll be looking for a fence with height, structural strength but a solid fascia may not be so critical. The best security can be achieved with a rigid mesh fence system mounted on steel posts in heights from 6ft through to 8ft, or alternatively a steel palisade fence which can be purchased up to 3m high.
The problem with steel fences is that they are great for industrial or business situations but can feel like a prison when used in a domestic context. If you are looking for improved home security then you will want the strongest, tallest timber fence you can get to hide your property, prevent intruders scaling the fence and offer a solid boundary such as a close board fence or if you are not so concerned with privacy then a chain link fence which can be constructed to greater height and is harder to climb than a timber fence. A close board fence will be more expensive than a fence panel fence but being mounted on heavier section posts and coming in more height options will offer a higher degree of security than fence panels.
If decoration is your main concern then your choices are starting from the least expensive: wooden trellis fencing, picket fencing, decorative fence panels through to many varieties of metal railings. Budget and appearance will be the main deciding factors, although generally the more you spend the more durable the fence will be. The common factor with declarative fences is that they are usually short on privacy and security, but if used as internal dividers on your property they can be nice additions to the garden. Metal railing fences can offer a degree of security without privacy and are often the best, but most expensive selection for perimeter fences.
If you are after containment, for children or animals you have many options ranging from waist high timber rail fences clad with an animal mesh through to the security fences previously discussed. Deciding how much and what type of containment you require will be down to your exact situation and what you are trying to contain. Containing a horse will require a fence with different characteristics to a fence for containing children!
If you are simply after a demarcation line for your property the cheapest starting point will be a simple wire fence mounted on natural stakes a couple of inches in diameter at 3m intervals with a line of wire strung between them. Farmers will often upgrade a demarcation line of this type with either a wire mesh stock fence (1m high) in place of the line wire, or for larger animals or more durable fencing will go for a timber post and rail system roughly chest high and with either 3, 4 or 5 rails depending on their livestock (when keeping sheep/swine, this type of fence will also have the stock mesh clad to the lower section of the post and rail for added containment). Choosing which style and type of fence you require will depend on your exact situation.