David Beaulieu is a landscaping expert and plant photographer, with 20 years of experience.
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Published on 01/30/23
When choosing a type of fence for your yard, you'll want to consider the design, privacy, security, and cost of the structure. If you want a fence that will provide maximal privacy, then you clearly won't want a structure with openings in it that people could see through as seen in a wrought iron fence. Likewise, if the fence is for security, you can immediately rule out structures that are weak, short, or easy to scale like a picket fence.
Below, we'll break down the ins and outs of each type of fence and the factors you should consider when choosing which is best for you and your yard.
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Low-End Security Fences: Chain-Link
Best for: No-maintenance and budget
Even if you don't care about privacy, marking a border, or dressing your yard up with a decorative fence, you may well feel the need to secure your property. Chain-link is one of the go-to types of fencing for this function because it's no-maintenance and cost effective.
It comes in different heights, so if you're concerned about security, use a type that is at least 6 feet tall. Such a fence can also serve to contain small children or dogs on a property. It's quite durable because the metal is galvanized.
Despite its pros, chain-link fencing also has some cons. Because it's see-through, it won't double as a privacy fence. People also frequently try to disguise it for aesthetic reasons, since it's one of the least attractive types of fence.
Requires no maintenance
Costs less than many other fencing materials that could be put to the same use
Won't double as a privacy fence
Many see it as unattractive
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Medium-Range Security Fences: Steel
Best for: Durability and medium security
Steel fences are a compromise between cheaper (chain-link) and more expensive (wrought iron) metal fencing. They're durable and better looking than chain-link fences, but don't offer privacy given their structure.
Superior appearance to chain-link
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Doesn't offer privacy
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High-End Security Fences: Wrought Iron
Best for: Security
Like chain-link and steel fences, wrought iron fences are metallic, low-maintenance, and can provide security. That's where the similarities end.
On the plus side, wrought iron fencing is one of the most attractive types of fence and is very sturdy. It is often capped with highly ornamental finials, but the spaces between the verticals are too wide to control many dogs.
Other cons include that it is costly, doesn't double for privacy, and can rust in some climates. However, when elegance is called for in a fence, it's hard to beat wrought iron. It's an especially appropriate material if you seek aformal landscape design.
Good for security
Prone to rust in some climates
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Standard Wooden Privacy Fences
Best for: Privacy
Most quality wooden privacy fences will double for security. But if privacy is your main concern, you are not limited to hardscape fences. A hedge of plants can serve as a "living privacy fence."
If you care about low-maintenance landscaping, maintaining plants is generally more time-consuming than maintaining a hardscape fence. If you do decide to go with a hardscape fence, you still have a choice to make between various types (which come with varying degrees of maintenance).
A wooden fence has to be stained, especially if it's made of non-rot-resistant wood (such as pine). By contrast, there's little maintenance with a vinyl fence, but if you're willing to put the work into maintaining a wooden fence, your decision may come down to aesthetics. Some people just like the look and feel of wood better than vinyl. Wooden privacy fences run the gamut from very plain to very ornate.
Great for privacy and security
Must be stained
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Ornate Wooden Privacy Fences
Best for: Design enthusiasts
There are all kind of different ways to improve on the appearance of a standard wooden privacy fence. For example. the choice of wood can change the look and style of your fence. Cedar is a sophisticated choice with a price tag to match. If money is no object, you can even go higher-end than cedar like teak.
You don't have to go with the standard vertical paneling. Panel orientation can also be horizontal or diagonal. But a vertical orientation is the cheapest; the longer boards required for other styles cost more.
To complete the look, a wooden fence can be capped off with lattice or finials. You can further adorn it with hanging pots, window boxes, and more if you don't mind attaching the required brackets.
Customizable to your design style
Can be costly depending on the type of wood
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Best for: Semi-privacy
Privacy fences are designed to shut out prying eyes completely with solid paneling. Some people want a touch of privacy while still maintaining a looser, airier feel, so a privacy fence that has gaps between the vertical paneling is the perfect compromise.
Not as expensive as ornate wooden fences
Not ideal for security or full privacy
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Best for: Privacy and security
The two materials most commonly used for fencing are wood and vinyl. Whether you choose wood or vinyl for your security or privacy fence comes down to personal tastes and budget. Ironically, while some people feel that vinyl "looks cheap" when compared to a classic wooden fence, it is vinyl that is usually more costly.
Doesn't splinter or rot
Not susceptible to insect damage
Can be decorated with finials to improve its appearance
Must be cleaned to prevent staining from algae, mold, and mildew
Can be expensive
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Lattice Fencing for the Garden
Best for: Gardeners
Although we've surveyed only security and privacy fences so far, there are other purposes a fence can serve (for example, to mark a border or to serve as support for plants). Since these purposes are less essential in nature, aesthetics are bound to be a stronger consideration when making your selection. A lattice fence is a great option for gardeners who want to introduce a trellis into their yard that doubles as a property marker.
Doubles as a trellis for vines
Can be wooden or vinyl
Not great for privacy
Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Best for: Modern design
Some fences are merely there to mark a border, so your choices are not restricted by the kinds of considerations necessary when getting a privacy or security fence. Instead, you can buy based on your personal aesthetic tastes.
A fence composed of horizontal metal panels strung between brick columns is one example of a decorative fence and offers an intermediate level of privacy. It's a great choice for sleek, modern design, but it's on the high end of the price scale.
Sleek, modern design
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Classic Picket Fences
Best for: Traditional design
The classic wooden picket fence is a better choice than metal panels to mark a border for homeowners who are landscaping on a budget. Design-wise, in contrast to a metal-panel fence, a picket fence evokes the feel of the traditional cottage garden. Indeed, picket fences look best when plants are grown either in front of them or behind them (or both). Not only will the plants soften the look of the fence, but the fence will serve as a nice backdrop for the plants.
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Vinyl Picket Fences
Best for: Low-maintenance aesthetics
As when choosing a privacy fence, you have an option of either wood or vinyl when selecting a picket fence. If you want a picket fence solely for the aesthetic qualities it brings to a yard, then there's a good chance you will choose wood over vinyl. Otherwise, the decision will again come down to the major pro of vinyl (low-maintenance) vs. its major con (cost).
Can be costly
Choosing a Fence
When deciding on a fence type, the most important factors to consider are privacy, security, cost, and aesthetics. Once you determine your budget as well as how much privacy or security you're looking for, the rest will fall into place.
If privacy is your top concern, look for fences six feet tall or higher with no gaps between the paneling like a wood privacy fence. If you're more concerned with aesthetics, a lattice fence is a beautiful way to incorporate your garden into the design, but it doesn't offer much in terms of privacy or security.
What type of fence is best for backyards?
Considering that the average homeowner wants a fence primarily for privacy/security, the answer for most people will be a solid (no gaps) fence, at least 6 feet high, with vertical panels. Such fences will double as enclosures for kids/pets. Pine fences require some upkeep, but they are cheap and attractive.
What type of fence is cheapest?
Wood is generally cheaper than vinyl or metal. Of the wooden fences, pine is cheaper than rot-resistance woods such as cedar.
What type of fence is easiest to maintain?
Vinyl is the easiest to maintain. It does need to be cleaned, but the task is an easy one.
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What are the different type of fence? ›
There are four main types of traditional fence construction: Overlap, Featheredge, Picket and Closeboard.How do I choose a privacy fence? ›
If you want true privacy, choose a fence with little to no space between boards. A closely spaced lattice can be nearly as private as a solid material when combined with the lush foliage of climbing plants.
There are three fencing blades used in Olympic fencing - the foil, épée and sabre - each of which have different compositions, techniques and scoring target areas.What is the most common fence? ›
Wood fencing is by far the most popular of all fences. You can do so many fabulous looks, from traditional to modern, and the price is nice too. On the downside, wooden fences require maintenance.
What Type of Fence Lasts the Longest? Chain-link fences with a galvanized finish that doesn't rust are the longest lasting fences. All other components of the fence are made of steel and are also galvanized, so there is relatively no maintenance.What is the easiest type of fencing? ›
The foil is characterized by its light weight and easy handling. It is considered the ideal fencing weapon for beginners so you can familiarize yourself with the fencing. Experienced fencers benefit from the elegant shape of the foil.What is the safest fence? ›
- Metal security fencing.
- Wire mesh fencing.
Vinyl fence is increasingly becoming the preferred choice for homeowners looking for a maintenance-free fence option. A long-lasting, easy-care alternative to wood, vinyl fence won't rot, warp, peel or splinter. Plus, you won't waste time and money on sanding, staining or painting every few years.What is the most secure fencing? ›
Precast concrete walls are perhaps the most impenetrable form of high-security fencing and often the best choice when high-level defense measures are required. Precast concrete is nearly impossible to scale, has the unique advantage of being bullet resistant and can withstand winds of hurricane proportions.What is the best and cheapest privacy fence? ›
Comprised of thick steel wires bent and hooked together, this type of fencing is often the best option for a small budget and a large yard. While the 2- to 3-inch spaces between the wires mean less privacy than a solid fence, chain-link fences effectively keep pets in and intruders out.
What kind of fence is best for property value? ›
In general, privacy fences made from wood or stone increase property value the most. These types of fences are usually well-built and look attractive, making them a popular choice for those looking to increase their home's value.Which is better vinyl or cedar fence? ›
Conclusion: If you're set on having a wood fence, cedar is the best choice for its durability (natural rot and insect resistance) and low-maintenance (no need to paint or stain). If overall maintenance and durability is a primary factor, vinyl fence may be a better choice.Is fencing first to 15? ›
In all three weapons, the match goes until 15 points. If no one has reached 15 points, then the fencer with the most points wins.Where is fencing most popular? ›
PVC fencing. The cheapest way to create a fence for your home is by getting one made from PVC. Such fences substitute wooden pickets and stakes to offer your protection from the outside world. PVC sleeves improve the stability of wooden posts used as a fence, reducing the cost of material and the labor used.What is the most expensive fence? ›
Finally, wrought iron is the most expensive fence, and we include it only to round out the list. Wrought iron fences these days are used almost exclusively in restoration projects around older homes. It's rare that a new home will have a wrought iron fence.What is the best fence material for Canada? ›
Steel is extremely strong if appropriately treated, capable of withstanding intense cold, wind, and ice buildup without sacrificing structural integrity. It's also easy to keep clean and maintain, and with a vinyl coated chain link mesh fence, you still get ample security as well as winter resistance.Which is best fencing for land? ›
A field fence, also called a woven wire fence, is the best option for protecting these animals. It is also effective in containing cattle and horses. Field fences are strong, as they are made of heavy gauge galvanized steel.What is the fastest type of fencing? ›
While saber is the quickest, most aggressive style of fencing, epee is the most defensive, requiring high skills to stop an opponent attempting to score a point.What is the best fence to stop intruders? ›
Anti-climb fencing options such as Securemax 338/358 and Corromesh 358 are excellent choices for most business sites. They're strong, robust, aesthetically appealing and tamper-proof. As an added deterrent, fence toppers such as Razar Tape are guaranteed to intimidate even the most die-hard intruders!
What is the best fence to keep trespassers out? ›
Anti-climb fencing is one of the best fencing options for keeping trespassers out. You can also get fences that discourage cutting in addition to anti-climb fences. Ask your commercial fencing contractor about which material best suits your project.What is a neighbor friendly fence? ›
What is a neighbor-friendly fence? A neighbor-friendly fence, sometimes called a good neighbor fence, describes a fence style that looks the same on both sides. While traditional fences have a “good side” and a back side, a good neighbor fence provides both neighbors with an equal view.Why are there 3 types of fencing? ›
There are three different "types"of fencing, which are called disciplines or weapons: epee, foil, and saber. The three weapons differ greatly between one another in rules, looks, style of play, skills needed, and in what is required from a fencer.What is cheaper than a wood fence? ›
Chain link fences are typically less expensive than wood fences. That's because the material is less expensive and the labor hours required for installation are usually less. However, add-ons like gates, vinyl coating or fabric screens will all increase the total cost per foot of a chain link fence.Does a fence increase home value? ›
A fence can increase value to your home by adding curb appeal if it enhances the visual appeal or some other aspect of your home, such as adding privacy. Significantly improving security may also add more value where break-ins are common.What color fence is best for backyard? ›
Probably one of the most popular colors for fences is white. The American Dream involves a white picket fence after all. White fences are popular because of their ease of use. The color works with any style and material of fencing.What adds the most value to a home? ›
- Remodel the kitchen. Updates to the kitchen pay off. ...
- Upgrade the appliances. ...
- Boost the bathrooms. ...
- Remodel the attic or basement. ...
- Get decked out. ...
- Boost curb appeal. ...
- Improve energy efficiency.
Vinyl wins this first match hands-down. Vinyl can stand up to harsh weather, pests, decay, and fungus. In fact, without any help from you, it can easily last decades. Although wood can last around 20 years, it will break down over time and you will have to repair and replace the fence's lumber.What color vinyl fence is best? ›
White — The classic. A white vinyl fence is the most popular for a reason: its elegant look matches almost any home and any style. We recommend white to homeowners who don't want to commit to a strong stylistic statement but want to have an attractive curb appeal that will never go out of style.How long will a vinyl fence last? ›
Life Expectancy Of Vinyl Fencing
Good news: When properly maintained, a vinyl fence can last for decades — upwards of 30 years in many cases. That's longer than wood.
What is the best type of fencing for backyard? ›
Simply put, an aluminum fence is the number one backyard fencing option for those who care about convenience. Aluminum and vinyl fences are tied for the best fence material here.What type of fence provides the most privacy? ›
Simple Vinyl Privacy Fence
One of the most effective privacy fence styles on the market, these vinyl fences are made of tall vinyl panels that completely block the line of sight.
A security fence is no good if a burglar can easily go around it, under it or cut through it. So to make sure that doesn't happen, get a fence that: Is secured into the ground with concrete. Concrete footings along the whole length of the fence are your best bet here.What type of fence adds the most value? ›
In general, privacy fences made from wood or stone increase property value the most. These types of fences are usually well-built and look attractive, making them a popular choice for those looking to increase their home's value.What are 3 facts about fencing? ›
INTRODUCTION TO FENCING FACTS
Foil is the type of fencing most people are familiar with. A foil is a thin, light, and flexible sport sword. You can only score points with the blunt tip, not the blade. The target is the portion of your opponent's body that you can hit with your sword to score points.