Some of the earliest known fences date back to the Neolithic era when farmers built walls from stone or mud to protect crops. The Greeks and Romans were also well known for marking their conquered land with barriers, but by this time fencing had begun to take a more modern form. In the medieval era, wooden fences were the most popular and even donned ornate carvings.
The word fence itself comes from the base word fens, meaning protection. As growing rates of the population began claiming their territory during the Industrial Revolution, fences became a natural way to delineate their space from their neighbors and keep animals from wandering off their property. Today, fences are largely used for the same purpose, in addition to expressing personal style and adding curb appeal.
Benefits of Adding a Fence
Today, there are a variety of reasons why investing in a quality fence can improve your quality of life.
One of the quickest ways fences increase the value of your property is by blocking unsightly items. Hide garbage bins, equipment, and clutter to instantly give your yard a cleaner look. By choosing beautiful high-quality fence materials or fences with unique ornate details, you may help increase the aesthetic appeal of your home. You can also customize size and height to ensure the prying eyes of neighbors are kept to a minimum.
If you have pets or young children, it can be a huge relief to have a quality barrier between them and busy roads. This allows your kids and animals to wander around and play more freely while giving you greater peace of mind if you’re busy while they’re outside. It also ensures greater privacy and protection for them from potentially aggressive strangers or other animals.
Fences are also an effective way to ward off invaders potentially. While no home can be 100% ensured against all intrusion, the more obstacles there are to your home, the less attractive your home may seem to looters. You’ll also help shield your beautiful yard or garden from some unwanted pests as well! Stray dogs or other critters who can’t jump and climb very high may become less frequent and do less damage to your beautiful greenery.
4 Popular Fence Types
The material you choose for your fence depends on your core reason for adding one. Do you want to create a decorative appeal whilst adding privacy, to simply keep your dog from running away, or is top-notch security more of your concern? If you belong to an HOA (HomeOwners Association) you’ll also want to check in with any regulations regarding the look and size of your potential new fence.
Another major contributing factor is your budget. Certain materials are significantly more expensive to both source and install. The cost of having a fence installed professionally may increase the overall price. However, trusted businesses can help guarantee that your fence is finished properly and will withstand the elements for a greater period of time, potentially reducing the risk and costs of constant reparations.
One of the most popular and easy-to-maintain options are wooden fences. Reduce your carbon footprint by considering Western Red Cedar for your wooden fence. You can choose from a large selection of designs, stains, and sizes. Also consider an Inland Cedar or Incense Cedar which are both less red in nature, due to the lack of iron in the soil where the trees are grown. Wood is one of the most versatile and attractive options for most homes. Depending on the variety of wood you choose, it is also one of the more affordable options with little upkeep.
Vinyl fencing is second in line for its growing popularity. Not only is it highly durable, but it also doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. They are great for resisting wind and harsh weather while offering privacy and security. You will likely need to invest more funds in vinyl fencing, but considering the lower need for repairs, it might be something worth considering.
Ornamental Iron fencing is galvanized steel or aluminum that has been coated to prevent rust. The process of hot-dipped galvanizing includes applying and immersing a molten-zinc coating over fabricated iron or steel material. It is important to be aware of the level of zinc protection used for your iron fence. The highest level of zinc protects against the elements and extends the life of ornamental iron products.
This process coats the fences, pickets and rails inside and out for complete protection. Iron fencing can come in a wide range of decorative designs that enhance a home’s curb appeal. However, certain metals offer better privacy options than others if that’s your main concern. While some iron fences can be expensive, they generally last a long time.
Chain-link fences require little to no maintenance, can be quickly installed and are very durable in all weather. It is one of the least inexpensive options and is great for basic needs like marking your property lines and keeping dogs from wandering off. They also will not suffer or rot from pest damage over time. They tend to be easy for adults to climb and less sturdy than most other fence types, so security and aesthetic appeal won’t be greatly enhanced.
Investing in a quality fence may cost a few thousand dollars, but the benefits such as increased privacy and peace of mind over the years are often worth it long-term. If you plan on potentially selling your home, later on, fencing may increase the value depending on the buyer’s needs. Most families with young children and pets will consider fencing a prerequisite or highly attractive bonus.
Choosing the Right Fence
The fence you choose can beautifully frame your property, highlight its best features, and even hide some of its flaws. However, you’ll also want to survey your neighborhood and the general local aesthetic for the most cohesive look. Consider what your home would look like from an outsider’s perspective. Take a walk around your street and look at your property from several feet away to gain a more objective point of view before committing.
It’s also best to speak with your neighbors and tell them your ideas and plans before getting started on your project. If your fence will delineate space between the two of you, it’s best that it’s in harmony with their style also so you both end up gaining something positive from the investment. Don’t forget to also check with your neighborhood and city zoning office laws as well to avoid costly mishaps.
Once you’ve nailed down the style you’re going for, you can take your property to the next level. Add flowers, vines, and greenery for a romantic feel, or install decorative ornaments and intricate metalwork to the front gate for an elegant appeal. You can even get creative with the sizing. Smaller yards look excellent with fences that are only 3 or 4 feet in height because it creates the illusion of expansion.
Fence Care & Maintenance
To keep your fence looking in top shape, you’ll need to inspect it for stains, signs of wear, and breaks at least once a year. Keep in mind each fencing material has different repair needs.
Wood needs to avoid excessive water, so keep sprinklers facing away from the fence. It will also need a good wash every couple of years with a power washer to avoid debris build-up.
Metals fences look best when cleaned often, and they can rust if not properly sealed. Consider using a rust-preventive primer and oil-based paint if you’re planning on changing the color.
Vinyl should be routinely rinsed with water and scrubbed with soap to minimize scratches and stains.
Chain-link needs to be regularly cleaned and protected from greenery, which may dislodge the fence, create an uneven look, and enlarge gaps that pets may run through.
For all fencing types, it’s best to fix any problems right away to avoid larger repairs.
DIY vs. Professional Installation
While do-it-yourself installation is less expensive, you’ll need to keep in mind the amount of time and effort you want to invest, plus the risk of repairs if something doesn’t go well. Professional installation will likely cost more, but you can rest easier knowing things are in top shape and are less likely to decrease your property value later on.
Before getting started, talk to a Viking Fence expert. We can help you decide if your goals are feasible or if you may fare better with expert assistance.