Purchasing a fence is no simple task. When faced with the mind boggling array the market has to offer, many consumers become confused. In addition, practically nobody has "fence purchasing experience", since the act of buying a fence is not a day to day event (the average person will purchase a fence only once or twice in a lifetime.) In order to reduce the level of confusion, we have prepared a detailed guide that will help you choose the fence best suited to your needs.
This guide is divided into two parts: first, we will define your expectations of your future fence (do you want a pretty fence? A fence to protect your privacy? A fence to guard you against burglars? and so forth.). Second, we will review the different fences available in today's market, and learn about the unique qualities of each type of fence. Once you have a clear idea of your true needs as well as extensive knowledge of the products available in today's market, you will be able to make an educated decision, and buy the right fence.
Defining Your Needs
A fence can serve a wide range of purposes. A fence may protect your home and garden from inquisitive eyes. It can prevent or at least hinder a burglar from entering your property, or alternatively, prevent your small children from getting too close to the busy road while they are playing in the yard. A fence can also be purely ornamental, and elegantly define areas of your garden, such as a vegetable patch, play area and other areas. In order to choose the fence most suitable for you, it is important that you define precisely which functions you expect it to perform.
Don't forget that a fence can simultaneously perform more than only one task. A fence can fill several functions at once: it can be both elegant and classy and at the same time prevent burglars from entering your property; it can hide your home and protect your privacy and at the same time be beautiful and un-intimidating. An educated choice of a fence will allow you to enjoy the best of all worlds and have several needs met at once. Before purchasing a fence, try to answer the following questions as specifically as possible . This will help you to better define what demands you have of your future fence:
1. What is your budget?
In the field of fencing, As in any field, budget plays a major part in choosing the most suitable product. Fences are priced by type and size. Of these two parameters, only the type of fence is flexible, as the size is dictated by that of your yard . If you are operating on a limited budget it may be possible to reduce the expense of a fence by using a cheaper and less aesthetic type of fence around the back end of the yard, since most people will not notice that side of the fence anyway. Apart from the price of the actual fence, it is important to take into account future maintenance costs. There are some fences which can survive for many years without any need for care or upkeep, while other types of fences will need to be painted or have some work done every few years to keep them in good working order. A fence which looks cheap today may turn out to be very expensive to maintain in the future.
2. What style of fencing is common in your neighborhood?
Are your neighbors anxious about their privacy, therefore surrounding themselves with high fences, or is it more common not to enclose the yards in your neighborhood at all? Do your local homeowners tend to beautify their gardens and encircle them with low ornamental fences, or are most of your surrounding gardens unkempt and surrounded by an old rickety fence? Although a fence that works for your neighbors is not necessarily the best choice of fence for you, you probably won't want to buy a fence that sticks out like a sore thumb in your local landscape, even if this means compromising some of the requirements you have of your fence. It is said that "good fences make good neighbors", but certainly you would not want your fence to make your neighbors change their favorable attitude toward you.
3. What is the crime level in your neighborhood?
In the USA, around 3 out of every 100 homes get broken into every year. Are break-ins a standard event in your neighborhood, or are they relatively rare? Are acts of garden vandalism or pet-napping a common occurrence? If such events are relatively frequent, you should consider the level of security you will need from your new fence.
4. Do you have very valuable objects in your home?
People who, for example, own expensive pieces of art in their home, will generally need a higher standard of security than an ordinary home. Obviously, in such a case, the fence should only be part of a larger scheme of the home's and possession's security. Even so, as the fence is the first line of defense the burglar will encounter, it must be well suited to the job at hand.
5. Do you have small children at home?
Small children playing in the yard, can, in the rush of a game, run and exit the boundaries of the yard into a busy street. Over 280,000 children are injured in automobile accidents every year in the United States. A large percentage of these children are hurt in their own neighborhood, close to their home. This, on its own, should be a good enough reason to install a fence around the yard, even if it is only a low and symbolic fence that will not allow for a sudden rush into the adjacent road.
6. Do you feel as though you need extra privacy in your home or yard?
There are many reasons that would make you want a fence capable of protecting your privacy. Many times we run into badly planned urban architecture, which places neighboring houses at such an angle to one another, such that the residents of each house can see whatever is happening in the other. Obviously, such a situation can be most unpleasant. It is also possible that you have a pool in your yard, and you would like to sun-bathe without worrying about the peeking of your inquisitive neighbors, or possibly, you just feel like you need a little more privacy, period. This is a very legitimate need. Obviously, the more dense and tall a fence is, the more privacy it will give. This should also be taken into account when considering the final look of your fenced in yard, from inside and out.
7. What does your yard look like?
Do you garden, and keep a lovely flower bed or maybe a set of fruit trees? Maybe you're the type to prefer a standard lawn? Coordinating your fence with the general décor of your garden view can make the garden look that much better. You can choose the feel of your garden and go rustic, modern, classical etc. After defining your needs and expectations of your new fence, let us move on to the next step.
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, the market offers a very wide range of fence types. Since there are many fence manufacturers all over the country, it is possible to find many variations on any basic fence type. In this guide we will introduce you to the basic fence types, although the choice and matching of the final product will have to be made with the assistance of your fence manufacturer or installer.
There is, of course, the option of building a fence with your very own hands. We intend to address the types of fences that one can build on their own, but please note that these types of fences are intended mostly for beauty, and are not meant to provide a decent amount of security. If you are interested in a professional and reliable fence, you will have to turn to a security fence professional.
For those of you who have installed a surveillance system, or hooked up the home alarm system to a security company, it is advisable to advertise this information by posting a sign saying something along the lines of: "this home is monitored by so-and-so's security company!". This should deter most burglars looking for an easy and clean brake-in. Truth be told, you can advertise being hooked up to a security company even if you are not, and more often than not it will still serve as a deterrent to potential thieves who won't take the risk of checking if you're bluffing or not.
In contrast, if you plan on posting a sign about having a watchdog in the yard, it is advisable to only do so if you really do have a dog, since this is much easier to check. If the burglar sees you were bluffing, the sign will no longer be a deterrent.
One more important note regarding the level of security of your fence: when speaking of the level of security, it is customary to speak in relative terms rather than absolute ones. Even the strongest, most advanced fence on the market will not be able to resist all intruders, just as the advanced security systems in museums have not stopped thieves in the past from stealing the works of art inside them. A fence can do one of two things: it can greatly lengthen the time needed for a burglar to reach the house, or it can deter the burglar from trying to break into the premises in the first place. A good fence will probably deter most intruders from trying to break into a house, but it cannot stop a very determined burglar.
It is important that you understand that the fence is only part of the entire home security plan. The fence is the outermost security measure, but it does not, by any means, make further security measures redundant. Along with each type of fence, you will find some general, summarized data, such as price, level of security provided, privacy and aesthetics.
Of course this is not an exact science, and the various information given is based on my personal experience. It is important to realize that almost every type of fence can be personalized and parameters can be changed to affect the level of security, privacy and beauty. For this reason, the information provided here should be regarded as an approximation only.