How To Pick The Right Fence For You And Your Yard
So, you're going to install or replace a fence, but it isn't as easy as running to the store and buying any old fence. There are many options, and they all have their own pros and cons, so which is right? Check out these four tips to help you choose the right fence for your yard.
Find Out What the Laws Are
It's your property, so you can do what you want, right? Not quite. There are laws regarding fences, so before you start building a fence, educate yourself on the various laws in your area. Most cities and counties regulate how tall fences can be. While the exact specifications vary, in most cities, the limit is four feet in the front yard and six feet in the backyard. Depending on your area's laws, even a row of trees, bushes or hedges may count as a fence and must follow these guidelines.
Usually, as long as you follow the city/county laws regarding fences, you're in the clear. However, if you live in a community with a homeowner's association (HOA), you may have additional rules to follow. For example, your city may allow front yard fences that are four feet high, but your HOA may prohibit front-yard fences completely. Ignoring these rules could lead to fines, so make sure you check all the laws and rules before you build.
Consider How Much Maintenance You're Willing to Do
Your fence is going to require some level of maintenance. No fence is really going to be 100 percent maintenance-free. The real question to consider is how much work you want to do, and be honest. Yes, wood fences are beautiful, but they require the most amount of work to keep them looking good. You'll have to paint or stain the fence regularly and monitor it for rot and bug infestation. If you aren't willing to do the work, choose something that requires less maintenance, or else you're just wasting your money on a fence that won't last.
There are tons of low-maintenance fencing options. One of the most common is vinyl. Vinyl fences are prone to mildew in shadowy, moist areas, but you can usually easily clean the fence with soap and water. No painting or staining is required, and vinyl doesn't rot. Composite decks made from a combination of plastic and wood is another low-maintenance option that requires only minor cleaning and no painting/staining.
Decide if Privacy Is More Important Than Style
Some fences are designed to offer privacy, and these are often used in back yards. Privacy fences can be made from wood, vinyl or composite, and they are often a little boring. However, they are perfect for keeping noise and prying eyes out of your yard. Despite the laws regarding fence height, you may be allowed to build a privacy fence higher than what your city allows. For example, if you live next to a particularly noisy area like a highway or factory, you may be able to get an approval to build a higher fence to block the sound better.
When you choose a fence that doesn't offer much privacy, you can get a little more creative and add a little more style. These types of fences are best in the front yard, where they can add curb appeal. Stone fences, picket fences (wood, vinyl or composite) and iron fences do a great job of adding a little style to your front yard without blocking your view.
Determine if You Want to Keep People/Kids/Animals In/Out
The last decision you'll need to make is whether or not you care about keeping people/kids/animals in or out of your yard. If you have dogs or kids, the answer to this question is probably yes, you do want to keep kids and animals in and people out. You may also want to keep neighborhood kids out of your yard if you have something potentially dangerous, such as a pool.
Generally, the same fences that offer privacy are great for keeping people out and kids/animals in. However, there are other types of fences that work too. Chain link fences are a great option, and you can add a little privacy by installing slats. Tall iron fences will also prevent people from entering and kids from leaving, but smaller dogs may be able to slip through the posts.
Fences can add privacy, security and style to your home, but there are a lot of different fencing options, so before you start installing, you need to know your goals. For more information about fencing options, contact a fence contractor in your area today.