Garden Fence Ideas & Considerations

Get some new found inspiration for your next garden build

By Thomas O'Rourke

The fence is one of the most important structural elements of a garden. It has both an aesthetic and a functional role – keeping intruders out and your home protected while improving the look and feel of your property.

Nothing should be left out when building yours. From the choice of materials, the colours and the solidity of the structure, every decision will affect the end result.

In this guide, we’ll teach you what to consider when building your own structure: which are the best materials to use, and how to integrate a fence into your landscape. And we also have a bunch of conventional and unconventional garden fence ideas to inspire you!

In this guide - a ton of unique fencing ideas ideas & tips, including...

Section 1: How Will You Use Your Garden Fence?

Deciding to fence off your garden is never easy. Some people feel the enclosure separates them from the neighbourhood and from the homes around them, creating a barrier that can impact on the relationship with your neighbours.

Luckily though, there are many garden fencing ideas that can keep you in close contact with the homes around you whilst also protecting your property.

Perhaps the first thing to decide before building a garden fence is to establish the reasons for building it.

There are three major reasons homeowners usually build a fence:

The primary reason for building a fence is for security. Although considering crime and burglary can be disturbing, these things do happen, and you can never take enough measures to keep your family and your property safe.

There are a few elements a good security fence must have:

  • First, it should prevent outsiders from being able to see your possessions. There are many solutions to think of, from tall wooden panels to nice wrought iron structures backed by tall shrubs. Either type of fencing creates a solid barrier you can’t see through.
  • Second, the fence must make it hard for the outsiders to get inside your property. Height is once again an important element, while sharp or pointy decorative elements on top of the fence will make it less inviting for potential burglars to climb and jump over the fence.

Perhaps you live in a quiet neighbourhood where crime rates are incredibly low, but you don’t like nosey neighbours. A fence not only prevents people from seeing into your garden; it prevents them from taking a look into your living room, bedroom, or even bathroom.

We sometimes don’t consider what others can see of our property from the street, but building a fence is the easiest way to keep the curious at bay.

From a structural standpoint, the fence must have the same qualities as a fence built for security. It must be tall and restrict the field of view.

With such a fence, you’ll be free to act natural and behave as you like in your own home, making even a small property feel private and intimate.

Caring for a garden is no easy thing. You’ve invested time and money to create perfect flowerbeds or to grow edibles, and you undoubtedly don’t want anyone to spoil them. That’s where a garden fence can come in handy once more.

If this is your sole purpose for building a fence, you don’t necessarily need a tall structure. A short enclosure can prevent kids on bikes and small animals from gaining access and spoiling your flowerbeds.

This type of fence can even be installed only in a specific area (such as round the vegetable garden) if you really don’t like the idea of fencing the entire lot.

You can also choose from various styles and materials. Picket fences are perhaps the most popular, but wire net makes an inexpensive choice to keep your edibles protected.

Top tip: If you live in the countryside, wild animals, from rabbits to deer, may sneak in to steal some of your edibles. Build a fence solid enough to prevent even larger wildlife from trespassing.

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Section 2: Fencing Imagery & Ideas

Section 3: Scoping Your Garden Fence

Whether it’s for protection, privacy, or for your plants, your garden fence must integrate flawlessly in your existing décor and blend with the landscape. A metal panel fence, for example, would look awkward alongside a countryside cottage made from red brick.

Likewise, building a traditional picket fence around a contemporary house in an ultra-modern designer neighbourhood would look equally out of place.

Preference matters, but beyond it, there are some objective criteria that come into play when building a fence. Ignore them, and you could end up with an unflattering renovation of your landscape.

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Style

There are two variables to consider when choosing the right style: the design of your property and the design of the fence.

Regarding the design of your property, assess whether it is particularly:

  • Traditional
  • Rustic
  • Modern
  • Contemporary
  • Eclectic

Once you’ve determined the overall style, pick a style of fence that matches the other elements in your landscape.

A picket fence or trellis can really complement a traditional or rustic home. Cast or wrought iron is another inspired choice; often flanked by tall hedges.

Modern and contemporary homes pair well with slats and panels made from a variety of materials. Most of these modern solutions offer both security and privacy, and typically also offer noise reduction.

Semi-solid panels are another great choice for a designer home, adding a unique twist to your property.

Eclectic gardens pair well with almost all types of fences and will benefit the most from the unconventional garden fence ideas.

Location

A fence is intended as a boundary, so it makes sense thinking of it placed on the outskirts of your land. But that’s not all you have to think of.

Do you want to build a fence for your front garden? For your back garden? Or even for your vegetable garden?

Front yards may not necessarily require a tall fence if you live in a quiet neighbourhood and love to use curtains for privacy. In this circumstance, a short fence may even make your property more welcoming to guests.

Back yards are typically enclosed with taller panels though, giving you the right levels of privacy when you want to lounge in the garden or throw a barbecue party with your friends.

For a vegetable garden, a short picket fence or wire mesh could suffice. Perhaps you could look to enhance the design of the latter with thick wooden poles or planks.

Purpose

Besides the reasons above, you may want to build a fence to prevent your children or pets from running into the street. The structure, in this case, doesn’t have to be particularly tall and you can choose a semi-solid solution as long as the gaps between the panels are not too wide.

One-metre tall solid brick fences, potentially embellished with a cast iron ornament could be a great solution.

You may also want to build a structure to keep wildlife away from your plants –

In this case, it is important to assess the type of common garden pests you’re most likely to deal with.

If the troublemakers are rabbits, moles or badgers, a buried barrier of wire mesh raising half a metre over the surface may be more effective than a fence. Garden edging could also be a more inspired choice in this case.

Larger wildlife can cause trouble in countryside areas. Deer are particularly famous for damaging vegetable gardens after being attracted by the many edibles, but contrary to popular belief, height is not the main factor to consider.

Deer are great jumpers, and a tall fence might not stop them from getting into your garden. However, these animals have poor depth perception, so building two fences at a distance of about a metre will keep them from jumping over.

Natural deterrents like daffodils, catnip, and other plants unappealing to deer will not only beautify your garden but can keep the animals at bay.

Section 4: Tips To Selecting The Right Garden Fence

We’ve discussed many important aspects by now, but there are a few other things to know before choosing the fence. Here are a few tips to help you pick the right enclosure.

1. Consider the size

We have emphasised by now the importance of a tall fence for privacy and security reasons. But this doesn’t mean you can just buy the tallest fence panels and install them.

When assessing the size, you must consider your purpose, but also the national and local regulations.

At a national level, UK planning laws require consent to build fences taller than two metres. While you could ask for consent, the procedure is laborious and a two-metre fence usually serves its purpose anyway.

Top tip: Protective toppers and fence foundations may add up to the height of the fence panels. Check the overall height of the fence before installing it to ensure you comply with the law.

Local councils may also have their own regulations in place regarding the maximum height of the fence. It is a good idea to check before deciding on a size.

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2. Consider the climate

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While the entire British Isles is notorious for its temperamental weather, not all climates are the same. The milder climate in the southern area of the country may allow for the installation of a solid panel fence, but if you live in a coastal or northern area exposed to strong winds, a semi-solid installation is more appropriate.

This type of fence allows sudden gusts to pass through and are generally more resistant than solid panels in adverse weather.

3. Consider the light

When choosing the right fence, you must also consider the exposure of your property and the other landscape elements that could cast shadow over your garden and home.

If your garden gets plenty of light, a tall fence can help reduce it and provide a welcome shadow in the warm afternoons.

On the contrary, if your property is already fairly dark, a tall fence will darken it further. In this case, you can either opt for a shorter variant, for translucent panels, or a semi-solid fencing solution which lets light pass through.

Depending on the style of your garden, you can opt for a:

  • Wooden picket fence
  • Cast iron fence
  • Venetian panels
  • Woven panels
  • Palisades

Check your local fencing retailer for a comprehensive guide to the range available.

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Section 5: Garden Fence Types

Two important aspects to account for when picking a garden fence are the type of the fence and the material it’s made from. These elements can help you choose a fence that blends in your décor and matches with the existing landscape.

Essentially, there are five popular types of fences:

Hedge

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Frequently used in public gardens and parks, hedge fences promote contact with nature and make a statement in either a classic or modern landscape. Compact hedges can make for either short or tall fencing solutions and are easy to shape as desired.

Top tip: Reinforce the hedges with wire mesh to keep your pets in the yard and/or prevent animals from entering your property. The net also gives major protection against intruders.

Picket

A timeless classic, the picket fence is one of the most popular. Typically made of wood, this type of fence is simple but elegant and can be painted in all range of colours.

Depending on the height of the fence, the type of wood employed in its construction, and distance between the planks, the picket can provide both protection and privacy while enhancing your exterior.

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Trellis

trellis fence

A trellis fence is another classic choice, and it can replace the picket with real success. The secret to creating robust trellis fencing is in the materials used. Choosing high-quality pressure treated timber is essential if you want to invest in a boundary that will last for more than a couple of years.

Trellises also give you the possibility to choose from two style options – square and diamond holes. The former can complement the design of a modern property while the latter looks great in a rustic or traditional landscape.

The size of the holes ensure either greater visibility or greater privacy, and all trellis fencing offers solid support for climbing plants.

Top Tip: When choosing a trellis fence, make sure the battens are made from high-quality pressure treated timber of at least 25x12mm, and that the components are fixed with galvanised or stainless-steel fixings. Corrosion of the components or poor-quality timber can negatively impact the overall lifespan of your structure.

Semi-Solid Panel

Semi-solid panel fencing can be made from a variety of materials including wood panels, bamboo, aluminium and vinyl, to name just a few.

These solutions typically have a decorative function and may also protect your privacy, depending on the specific model. However, they typically have a more modern nature and are often used for modern or contemporary homes.

semi solid fencing

Solid Panel

solid panels

The best type of structure to ensure security and privacy. These panels can be made from a range of construction materials, from brick and concrete to stone enclosed by gabions, aluminium panels, solid wood panels and more.

Depending on the materials employed and design, this fencing can be traditional or modern. Finding the right style to blend in your landscape should be easy regardless of the style of your home.

However, some solid panel fences may not be the best solution in areas exposed to heavy winds.

Section 6: Garden Fence Materials

Garden fencing comes in a variety of natural and synthetic materials to match all tastes, needs and budgets. The most common materials include:

Wood

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Hands down one of the most popular choices – wood is employed in the construction of many types of traditional and modern structures. This material enhances the sense of privacy but also adds warmth to a property.

Wood can also be an inexpensive solution depending on the type of fence you want to build. The cheapest are the picket or trellis options, while semi-solid or solid wooden panels may come at heftier prices.

A downside of a wood unit is maintenance. Luckily though, there are numerous paint products developed specifically for exterior wood that can keep your fence looking great for many years to come.

Cast-Iron

Cast iron is the budget-friendly solution to wrought iron; most cast-iron fences come in standard designs, and you’ll probably need to opt for the latter if you want a funky bespoke design. However, if you just like the allure of iron and don’t mind a simpler model, cast iron could be the right choice for you.

The material is strong and beautiful. Maintenance is needed every two to three years though, and it can be quite cumbersome if the original coating was of poor quality.

Due to their design, don’t expect huge levels of privacy from this style, but you can plant hedges behind the structure if you don’t want to give up on this solution.

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Aluminium

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Aluminium is often used for solid panel fencing, although some models can imitate cast iron. The material isn’t the strongest, so if you’re looking for paramount security, this solution might not be appropriate.

On the other hand: aluminium is cheap and needs little to no maintenance.

PVC

PVC units are certainly not the strongest nor the most durable, but they are a great replacement for a more expensive wooden structure if you’re on a restricted budget. These fences are typically made of a PVC sleeve that sits on top of a wooden core but cost a lot less as they use less wood.

Available in all styles and colours, common PVC options also resist the elements well and can last for years in areas with a milder climate.

pvc fencing

Vinyl

fencing4

A type of synthetic material similar to PVC but stronger – vinyl fencing can easily replace wood altogether. This material is robust and flexible, needs no maintenance, and is easy to clean even if someone paints on it.

Vinyl structures typically have a higher upfront cost, but the investment is well worth it given the low maintenance and long lifespan.

Wire Mesh

A wire mesh option won’t add much privacy or security, but they are cheap, need little maintenance and will perform a few basic functions, such as keeping kids and pets inside the yard or preventing them from spoiling flowerbeds or the vegetable garden.

For borderline fencing, wire net often pairs with hedges and shrubs to create a somewhat stronger barrier against intruders.

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Section 7: Unconventional Ideas

Conventional structures are not for everyone’s tastes. That being said, if you’re more thoughtful and craving something original or low-cost, check out these unconventional ideas and get inspired:

Woven Garden Fence

A garden structure similar to woven baskets adds originality and is easy to make. Simply install some wooden poles at the desired distance between 25 and 50 centimetres and use flexible branches or old garden hoses to create a woven pattern.

Up-cycled Pallets

Pallets are one of the most versatile materials for a DIYer. You can use them in multiple projects, from making garden or interior furniture to creating vertical gardens and even a garden fence.

Recycled Timber

Timber from old furniture can make for a beautiful and original garden structure. Mix and match various timber lengths, styles and colours to make an enclosure like no other.

Log

A log unit can really do justice to a rustic environment and is quite easy to make on your own. Inspire yourself by checking out some traditional rail fencing or use your imagination to create your own unique design.

Gabion

Gabion structures are a great alternative to the conventional solutions for a modern or contemporary property. Depending on your desired height, you can use shorter gabions and fill them with river rocks or large ones filled with quarry rocks for a taller installation.