How to Choose the Right Fence

Need a new fence for your yard or patio? Whether you crave more privacy in your outdoor space; need to block chilly wind, mask a street view or secure your pool; or keep your dogs in (or deer out), we’ve got you covered.

Here’s the need-to-know info on choosing the right fence based on space and needs.

Gain Privacy

If you would like true privacy, choose a fence with little to no space between boards. A closely spaced lattice are often nearly as private as a solid material when combined with the luxurious foliage of climbing plants.

The peak will depend upon the slope of your yard and your neighbor’s yard, the position of your seating areas and any applicable local building codes. Try employing a length of paper or cardboard the peak of the fence you’re considering, and have a lover hold it up while walking the perimeter of your yard.

Get up and sit down in each area of your yard to ascertain if the fence are going to be high enough for your privacy needs.

Consider going gateless. If ease of access is more important to you than security, consider forgoing the gate entirely and installing several offset fences to allow room for a path while blocking the street view, as shown here.

Consider a stepped design. If it seems like too much to have a tall privacy fence all the way around your yard, consider going with a stair-step design to get privacy just where you need it. For instance, you could have a taller section of fence around your seating area and hot tub, and lower fencing beside the lawn.

Shield Wind

When you need to block strong breezes but don’t want to lose the light — or a grand view — the best option is glass, as shown on this stunning rooftop patio. If blocking a view is not an issue, any privacy fence with few to no gaps between boards will work well.

For height keep in mind that if you primarily need to keep the wind out of a seating area, the fence can be a few feet lower than around an area where people will be standing, such as around the grill.

Feel Secure

The maximum important capabilities to have for a security fence are a taller peak, a loss of locations to grip and a sturdy, lockable gate. Any security fence have to be at the least 8 feet excessive, although you could add some feet of trellis to the pinnacle of a 6-foot fence for protection that doesn’t look quite so enforcing.

Pick a fence with flush forums and no horizontal rails at the outside, to discourage capability intruders from trying to climb it.

Block a Street View

When your home is on a busy street, creating a peaceful backyard space begins with the right fence. If you want to allow some light in, pick a fence with small gaps between boards (or even a lattice-like design) and layer lush plantings on both sides to provide additional privacy.

Or try a frosted glass design, as shown here. As with privacy fencing, it can be helpful to test out the fence height you are considering before you commit.

Keep Your Dogs In

The first step is knowing your dogs. Are they jumpers or diggers? How high can they jump? Are they likely to try to escape from your yard, or are they generally content to hang out?

A 3- to 4-foot fence could be adequate for smaller dogs and those who do not jump; larger dogs will need something taller. If your dogs are diggers, bury the fence at least 6 inches underground or place hardscaping along the fence line.

Consider blocking visual stimuli with a solid fence. While nearly any type of fence can do the job of keeping your dog in the yard, if your dog is excitable or loves to bark, consider investing in a solid fence to block the visual cues (cars, pedestrians, cats) that get him going.

Keep Deer Out

Some deer can jump nearly 8 feet high, making it quite difficult to stay them out of garden beds using normal fencing. A solid privacy fence is right because it blocks the deer’s view of your tasty plants — it’s unlikely deer will jump into a neighborhood if they can’t make certain it’s safe.

If privacy fencing isn’t desirable (for instance, you would like to be ready to see and luxuriate in your garden), you’ll make a daily garden fence taller by attaching netting to taller poles, in effect making a taller (but nearly invisible) fence.

A choice is to form your fence significantly wider by planting large hedges along one side — deer cannot jump as high if they need to also clear an extended distance.

Secure Your Pool

Even if you do not have children in your home, it is important to take steps to secure your pool — friends or relatives with children could visit, and neighborhood kids could try to sneak into your pool without your knowledge.

Be on the safe side by securing both your yard (with a security fence) and the pool itself. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s safety barrier guidelines for home pools suggest using a fence with a minimum height of 48 inches, a maximum spacing of 1¾ inches between pieces and no handholds or footholds for children to use for climbing.

The gate should be self-closing, should be self-latching with a childproof latch and should open outward from the pool.


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