Fences serve many different purposes in our lives. They help mark boundary lines between our properties and those of our neighbors. They protect pets and livestock and keep them where they should be. They decorate our homes and improve the curb appeal of our properties. They protect our growing plants from errant rabbits and other wildlife. They protect our children as they play in our front and back yards.

No matter what you want your fence to do, it is important to select the right design, material, height and style. It is far less costly to choose the right fence in the first place than to replace a substandard fence when its deficiencies become apparent. Whether you are fencing in the entire perimeter of your property or just a small portion of the back yard, there are some key things to consider before the first nail is driven or hole is dug. Here are some things you should consider when choosing the right fence for your property.

What is the Purpose of the Fence?

Where To Start

The first things you need to think about before building a fence is what that barrier needs to do. Is the fence intended to be merely decorative, used to set off your property and improve the curb appeal of your home? If so, a picket fence, split rail or low wood-look plastic fence would be a great choice.

Do you plan to buy a horse or raise cattle on your property? If so a high-tensile wire fence, electric fence or quality wood fence would be in order. Is the fence designed to make the boundary lines of your back yard and provide privacy from the neighbors? If so, a tall wood fence may be just the thing. Until you know exactly what the fence will be used for, it will be difficult to move on to the next step.

How Strong Does It Need to Be?

The strength of the fence is obviously an important consideration, and you will want to look for that sweet spot when making your plans. A stronger fence may be more expensive to put up, but the extra strength can reduce the risk of damage down the line.

The strength of the fence is very important if you will be keeping animals in that fenced space. A fence designed to contain horses or cattle naturally needs to be stronger than one designed to keep your dogs in the yard. When building a livestock fence, practicality is often more important that looks. You want your fence to look as good as possible, but its number one job is to keep the animals you own where they are.

How High Does the Fence Need to Be?

The height of the fence is obviously an important consideration, and it is one you should think about right from the start. If you want to create a private haven in your back yard, for instance, you will obviously need a fence high enough that the neighbors cannot see over it. If the fence is purely decorative, it can be much lower.

Deciding On A Fence Height

If you are fencing in a specific part of the back yard for a garden, you will want a fence that is high enough to keep out rabbits and other unwanted invaders but low enough that it will not obstruct your gardening or be too inconvenient.

If you are fencing in your pool, be sure to check with the area where you live. Many townships have specific requirements for pool fencing, including minimum height, material specifications and the like. The last thing you want is to build, and pay for, a fence that does not meet the minimum safety requirements.

How Much Can I Afford to Spend?

financing optionsAffordability is always an important consideration when planning a home improvement project, and fencing is certainly no exception. You will need to think carefully about the cost of the materials and how much you can afford to spend when fencing in the allotted space.

You will need to compare the cost per foot of the various materials you are considering. If two fencing materials provide the same benefits but one is less costly than the other, that might be enough to tip the scales and help you make the decision.

Are There Any Zoning Restrictions Where I Live?

Depending on where you live, the choice of fence may not be entirely your own. Many municipalities place severe restrictions on fencing in residential areas, and that can affect everything from how high the fence can be to what kind of materials you are allowed to use.e

Before you call a fencing contractor or buy any lumber, you need to contact your local government officials and find out if there are any restrictions in place. If those restrictions exist, be sure to get a detailed blueprint outlining the height, size, materials and other details. That will help you make the right decision and avoid any unpleasant misunderstandings down the line.

Chances are you will also need a building permit to erect the fence, so be sure to check into that as well. Once you know what you are allowed to build, you can work with your chosen contractor to create the fence you need at a price you can afford.

Things To Think About When Building A Fence

No matter where you live or what kind of property you own, adding a fence can be a smart move. If you live in a rural part of the country, your fencing may serve a practical purpose – containing livestock, marking property lines and protecting the privacy of yourself and your family.

If you live in the city or suburbs, your fencing needs may be more basic but no less important. That urban or suburban fence still needs to protect your children as they play, mark the boundary with your neighbors and protect you from criminals.

In the end, it does not matter where you live or what type of property you own. Choosing the right fence means looking at a variety of different factors and taking many different things into consideration. From the purpose of the fence to the affordability of the materials used in its construction, you need to think about a lot of things before you can call a fencing contractor and get the work underway.