Life Style

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.

Part 1

1

Gain Privacy. If you want true privacy, choose a fence with little to no space between boards. A closely spaced lattice can be nearly as private as a solid material when combined with the lush foliage of climbing plants. The height will depend on the slope of your yard and your neighbor’s yard, the position of your seating areas and any applicable local building codes. Try using a length of paper or cardboard the height of the fence you are considering, and have a friend hold it up while walking the perimeter of your yard. Stand up and sit down in each area of your yard to see if the fence will be high enough for your privacy needs.

2

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.

3

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.

4

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.

5

Feel Secure. The most important features to have for a security fence are a taller height, a lack of places to grip and a sturdy, lockable gate. Any security fence should be at least 8 feet high, although you can add a few feet of trellis to the top of a 6-foot fence for security that doesn’t look quite so imposing. Choose a fence with flush boards and no horizontal rails on the outside, to deter potential intruders from attempting to climb it.

6

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.

7

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.

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