What to consider when building or buying a garden fence

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Asianstyle design garden -GardScape- private gardens by Christoph Harreiß Asian style garden
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Who doesn’t love a fresh new garden fence? Well, for starters, your neighbours won’t be too pleased if you let a group of construction / design professionals (such as Landscape Architects, Gardeners, etc.) loose on your property with their loud tools without proper notification. 

But when doing our research, we found that informing your neighbour of any planned fence construction was just one factor to consider. So, from top to bottom, let’s look at 10 things to keep in mind if a brand-new garden fence is on your wish list for 2020…  

1. Decide what you want

First, know why you desire a garden fence. Is it to keep your pets contained? To block some noise or increase your privacy? How about enhancing your home’s exterior design?

To know what you want will help guide you in the right direction in terms of fence material and –finishes (which, obviously, will influence the amount you will have to pay in the end). 

2. Choose your materials

Will a white picket fence suffice for your garden / property needs? It may, but hold on before you rush off to buy wood posts and whitewash. 

Wood fences may require occasional sealing or staining. And they are more prone to warping and rotting over time, especially with the UK’s rainy weather. Why not consider a low-maintenance alternative such as vinyl, aluminium, steel, bamboo, wrought iron..? 

3. Mix it up

Want to cut costs? Wood picket fencing can still work at the front side of your home, for instance, but what about the back? Here is where you can opt for a more cost-friendly option (since fewer people will see it), such as chain-link fencing. This can save you installation costs, as well as future maintenance tasks, like repainting and sealing. 

4. Do your research

Chat to other homeowners in your area, as well as neighbourhood associations and municipal building code officials about regulations dictating the look, height, and style of fences. It could happen that neighbourhood rules specify the better-looking side of a fence (which doesn’t show posts and rails) must face towards the street. 

Be sure to also check if there are rules stipulating how far a fence needs to be from sidewalks and property lines, and whether it requires a building permit. 

5. Go green

It’s entirely possible that local building codes and neighbourhood fence rules cover living / green walls. You will also need to check that planted materials don't overgrow any property restrictions in the future.

6. Rely on the professionals

Depending on the type and size of fence you install, it could be a fun little DIY exercise over a weekend. But it could also be very hard and challenging, in which case it’s probably better to rely on professionals to have that fence successfully installed. 

7. Keep your neighbours in the loop

We urge you to be open and up front about your fence-installation plans with your neighbours. Not only should you inform them of the work and noise before it starts, but you should also not block their views unnecessarily.

A party fence can always be built and shared by two or more neighbours, but then it needs to be made in writing and after the relevant property boundaries have been determined by a professional. 

8. Keep the climate in mind

Small, low maintenance garden Yorkshire Gardens Minimalist style garden Wood-Plastic Composite
Yorkshire Gardens

Small, low maintenance garden

Yorkshire Gardens

With the UK’s cold and wet weather, concrete anchors are vital for fence posts. A post needs to be secured about 90 cm deep in order to avoid cracking when the temperatures plummet. But if you’re living in much warmer climates, your best choice would be vinyl (wood is too susceptible to water damage). 

9. Create proper entrances

Country Family Garden With Oriental Water Garden Cherry Mills Garden Design Country style garden
Cherry Mills Garden Design

Country Family Garden With Oriental Water Garden

Cherry Mills Garden Design

Plan at least two paths into your fenced area for safety- and convenience’s sake. And make sure one of them is wide enough to easily move bulky outdoor equipment (like lawnmowers, garden furniture, etc.). 

You can always have fun with stepping stones, pergolas, and other decorative elements to help indicate the locations of the entrances / gates. 

10. Style it up

Speaking of having fun, once your fence is in place, customise it with decorative posts or finials. Look to your house’s style and design for ideas on what colour to paint your fence / gates (modern and contemporary designs are prone to earthy / neutral hues). 

And you can always add even more pizzazz by planting rows of flowers in front of your new fence, adding a garden bench, etc. 

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What garden fence (style, material, etc.) is perfect for you?

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