Choosing the Right Fencing: How to Start the Process
Is it time for new patio or yard fencing? Whether it’s for more privacy in outdoor living spaces, to block an undesirable view, to secure the pool, or to keep pets in, there are many reasons to install a fence. Here, customers will learn how to choose fences based on their needs and their space.
Keeping Things Under Wraps With Privacy Fencing
If privacy is a concern, it’s important to choose fencing with little or no space between slats. When combined with climbing plants and lush foliage, latticework can be almost as private as a solid fence. A fence’s height will depend on the yard’s slope, the placement of outdoor seating areas, and applicable building codes. Consider using a stick or a length of cardboard that’s the same height as the potential fence, and ask someone to hold it up as they walk the yard’s perimeter. Sit and stand in each part of the yard to determine if the fence will provide enough privacy.
If easy access is more important than security, think about omitting the gate and installing some offset fences. This will leave room for pathways while blocking the view from the street. Stepped designs are another great concept, and they work well where tall privacy fencing is inappropriate. For example, there could be taller fencing around the pool and seating area and a lower fence around the rest of the lawn.
When families want protection from strong breezes without sacrificing lighting (or a great view), glass is a great option. However, if a blocked view isn’t a concern, any fence with slight gaps between the slats will work quite well. As far as height is concerned, remember that if the goal is to prevent wind from interfering with outdoor seating, the fence can be slightly lower than that around areas where people will stand, such as outdoor kitchens.
Feeling More Secure
The most crucial features for security fencing are a tall height, an absence of handholds, and a lockable, sturdy gate. Security fences should be a minimum of eight feet tall, although it’s possible to add a trellis to the top of a shorter fence for good looks and security. Choose fencing without horizontal rails on the outside, which prevents intruders from trying to climb over.
Blocking the View From the Street
When homes are on busy thoroughfares, creating quiet and peaceful outdoor living areas starts with a good fence. If the goal is to let some sunlight in, choose lattice fences or those with small gaps between slats. By layering plants on either side, additional privacy is created. Alternatively, a frosted glass design may work in some applications. As with a privacy fence, it may help to test the height before making a commitment.
Keeping Pets In
The most important factor here is for owners to know their pets. Are they prone to digging or jumping? If so, how high do they jump? Do they try to escape from the yard, or are they happy where they are? A three- to four-foot fence may be enough for a small, non-jumpy dog; a large breed, such as a German Shepherd or a Great Dane may need a taller fence.
With dogs that dig, consider burying the fence a foot underground or placing rocks along the line. Though almost all fence types will keep dogs and other pets in the yard, if they’re highly excitable, a solid fence will block visual stimuli such as cats, cars, and pedestrians.
Keeping Animals Out
Some species of deer can jump almost eight feet into the air, making it nearly impossible to keep them away from the garden with conventional fencing. Solid privacy fences are great here because they hide those tasty crops from deer and other invaders; a deer won’t jump into a place if they’re not sure it’s safe. In situations where privacy fencing isn’t the right choice (such as, if you want to see your garden grow), it’s possible to extend the height of a garden fence by hanging netting on tall poles. Another great idea is to widen a fence by planting hedges along either side; a deer can’t jump as high if it has to clear a wide area.
Keeping the Pool (And Guests) Safe and Secure
Even if there are no children in the home, it’s crucial to take steps to keep the pool secure. After all, relatives or friends with kids may visit, and it’s common for trespassers to sneak into pools without a homeowner’s knowledge. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry, and safety starts with secure fencing for the yard and the pool. The United States CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) set forth guidelines on safety barriers for residential pools. They suggest using fencing at least 48 inches tall, with no more than one and three-quarters of an inch between slats. There should be no footholds or handholds, so adventurous children can’t get in. Gates should self-close and self-latch, and latches should be childproof and open outward.
Before Installing a Fence
Though installing a fence is a wise decision for most homeowners, certain considerations must be made first. Before calling a fencer or requesting an estimate, be sure to check the city’s building codes and apply for construction permits if required. In some cases, fencing contractors will take care of the necessary permits. Next, hire a surveyor to mark the property line. Most areas have setback requirements, where fences must be placed a few inches to the inside of that line. Finally, ensure that no buried utility lines are in the way. Though these tasks may seem time-consuming, they’ll ensure a safer and more durable fencing installation.
As the saying goes, “good fences make good neighbours”. However, there are many other reasons to put a fence around a home. From a desire for privacy to a need to keep kids and pets safe, homeowners use fencing for various purposes. By considering their needs and their reasons for installation, customers will find it easier to choose the right fence.