From the category archives:

Fence Designs

Residential garden fencing doesn’t have to be expensive. In many cases, pricey fence panels can give your garden an overly formal and unwelcoming look. There are definitely a few garden fence ideas that can turn a small budget into a creative challenge to showcase your resourcefulness and creativity.

Bamboo fencing. In a world where hardwood and softwood lumber is becoming more scare and expensive, bamboo is cheap and plentiful, since it’s essentially a fast-growing grass. One of the more unique characteristics of bamboo is its “Wabi-Sabi” aesthetic, which refers to the austere beauty it acquires with age, in contrast to regular lumber that simply looks like it needs to be replaced.

Stone fence designs. Unlike brick and concrete, properly stacked stone fencing requires no additional reinforcement from mortar or rebar. As a found material, the price of stone is unbeatable. More importantly, stone fencing is extremely durable and, like bamboo, only looks better with age; and if replacements are necessary, they can be done one stone at a time, unless wood or metal, which needs to have whole panels replaced.

Recycled brick fence designs. Recycled bricks aren’t just for driveways and tile. Unlike stone, you’ll actually need mortar for brick fencing, and you’ll have to make sure that the weathered look is what you want — there’s a fine line between something that looks antique and something that simply looks second rate. If you’re less concerned with privacy, you can minimize the amount of mortar needed by staggering the bricks for a gapped pattern.

Rusty iron. Rusty iron fence panels procured from the local salvage yard can be covered with vine and climbing plants. This is essentially the Western version of the Wabi-Sabi concept: age adds character. Compared to the huge expense of some decorative garden fencing like wrought iron, which is sometimes patinized for an artificially aged look, rusted iron fences are extremely cost effective.

Bottle fence designs. Fences made from recycled wine bottles are popular in rural areas. These can range from very simple arrangements: a series of upturned bottles with their necks planted into the ground, a series of upright bottles sandwiched between wooden cross-members, or another upturned set mounted on poles between rails.

Picket fences. They might not be original, but good old-fashioned white picket fences are pretty economical in the scheme of things. If you’re willing to spend a little more on the front end, think about installing a vinyl picket fence to virtually eliminate your long term maintenance costs, since vinyl doesn’t rot or fade over time. Always remember that most of your wooden garden fencing costs will go to replacement and maintenance, unless you take preventative measures.

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Garden fence designs are largely determined by the material being used, such as bamboo, aluminum or dry stone. The volume and texture of each type will impart its particular ambiance that either complements the house and garden to which it belongs effectively, or does so less effectively. Let’s take a look at a few popular garden fence ideas.

Vinyl and Wooden Garden Fencing

Stockade and picket fences are the most prevalent types of wood fencing. While wood is usually homeowners’ first choice of material, consider vinyl fencing, which is essentially faux wood. Vinyl is less prone to rot and weather than wood, resistant to insects, and has far lower maintenance costs in the long run. Of course, while vinyl can have a wood-like grain pattern when viewed from a distance, the truth is that, on close inspection, nothing beats the organic texture of an authentic wood fence.

A stockade fence is designed primarily for privacy fencing, typically employing a tongue-and-groove joinery to eliminate gaps between panels. Naturally, the privacy you gain comes at the expense of visibility from the house, or from any direction beyond the perimeter. A picket fence is the most widely installed fencing, allowing a view of the garden from the outside, while still cordoning off the property.

Somewhat related to stockade fencing is bamboo, since a bamboo garden fence is also ideal for privacy. While bamboo fencing is perhaps more limited in application, since it implies use with zen gardens, it’s extremely economical and ages well — it tends to look better with additional weathering. Moreover, bamboo privacy fencing looks less imposing than traditional stockade panels.

Aluminum and Wrought Iron Fence Designs

Wrought iron fencing is a favorite for public gardens, but it’s often beyond the budget of homeowners, who might be willing to spring for a wrought iron gate, but not the cost of a full set of wrought iron fence panels. For residential fences and garden gates, it’s become more common to install a steel or aluminum fence.

Aluminum fencing with a black power coat finish has a look that’s essentially identical to iron gates while being much lighter, more weather resistant, less prone to rust, and cheaper up front and over its lifetime.

A chain link fence, while inappropriate for decorative garden fencing, is a pragmatic choice if the main goal is to keep children and pets from coming in or getting out. It’s possible to soften the utilitarian look of chain link fencing by covering it with vine. There’s almost always a way to make functional fencing look at least somewhat decorative.

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The pool fencing ideas you consider should reflect and align with why you want to enclose your pool in the first place. Is your pool fence primarily for decoration, privacy or utility? In every case, safety will factor into every design decision, but aesthetics and functionality need to be weighed as well.

Popular materials for pool fences are wood, metal and vinyl. Wood fences are typically made of cedar and pressure-treated pine. A swimming pool fence made of cedar tends to last longer, as its higher-density grain makes it less vulnerable to insects and moisture. Metal and vinyl, particularly wrought iron, have an even longer life span and require less maintenance. The rods should be no more than 4″ apart to prevent kids from squeezing through, and any horizontal framing members should be faced on the inside of the fence to prevent giving kids a foothold for climbing.

If you’re mainly concerned with purely functional fencing, chain link fences are a popular and seemingly straightforward choice, but regulatory restrictions in your area may not allow it. Chain link fencing is a safety risk for children, since the links easy to climb. Some codes require that links must be no greater than 1.25″, making it more difficult for kids to insert their feet. Another alternative for an above ground pool fence is split-rail fencing. A split-rail fence typically comes in two-rail and three-rail options, both of which must be covered with wire mesh at least 48″ in height. Split-rail fences offer the least amount of privacy, but conversely offer the best view or the surroundings.

For privacy fencing, a stockade fence with no gaps between its wood slats provides maximum privacy. Needless to say, this also provides no view of the surroundings, and no view of the pool from the outside, which may feel uninviting before long. Small gaps between slats give enough of a view to convey activity to outsiders, but no significant level of detail to encourage voyeurism. To discourage kids from climbing, solid wood plank fences should be at least 48″ tall. Some regulations also require that the bottom edge of the planks be no more than 4″ off the ground to discourage kids from crawling underneath the fence.

For decorative fencing, nothing beats an ornamental iron fence if your budget allows for it. Wrought iron fences are the most popular choice for ornamental fences, but hot-dipped galvanized steel can provide an identical look at a lower price, while being far more durable than aluminum fencing.

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