Fences and Gates: A Buying Guide

Fences and gates are used not only for aesthetic appeal, but also for privacy and security. When your yard is fenced in with an attractive gate, you can allow your pets to roam the outdoors without worrying that they might escape and you can enjoy your yard without putting yourself on display for the neighbors.

If you’ve decided to install fences and gates on your property, there are a few things you should know.

The most difficult aspect of buying fences and gates is choosing the type you want. Not only must you select the material—wire, wood, metal, synthetic—but you must also determine the style, height and color. The type of fences and gates you choose will depend on their purpose in your yard and your own aesthetic tastes.

For example, pre-cut fence boards are a great choice for your yard if you are seeking complete privacy from neighbors and passerby. This type of fencing provides complete obscurity from outside entities below a certain height and can be erected in just a few days.

If, however, you are going more for looks than for purpose, you might choose a split-rail fence. You can further secure the bottom quadrant with wire mesh or landscaping elements so that your pets can’t escape.

Generally speaking, the more elaborate your fences and gates, the more they will cost. If you decide to purchase pre-stained wood, for example, you might add $1,000 to the entire project, depending on the size of your yard. You will alsp spend more money if you choose to reinforce your fence with concrete or extra boards.

If you are working with limited funds, you might consider going with inexpensive fencing, then concentrating on an elaborate gate. Gates with rounded tops, lattice features, ornate posts or landscape features can make even the most rudimentary fences look fantastic. Check out AmazingGates.com for a few examples.

Some home owners choose metal fences and gates rather than wood because they tend to be more durable and resistent to the weather. If you treat metal with a high-quality primer and anti-rust solution, a metal fence can last for many decades without any need for maintenance.

Some people find metal fences and gates to be cold and unwelcoming, but when coupled with beautiful plants and bold colors, metal fences can be beautiful.

If you’re looking for something with an even lower maintenance requirement than metal, you might want to check out vinyl fencing options. Vinyl fences and gates require very little upkeep and don’t show age as much as wood and metal. They are often lighter-weight and can be moved easily if you change the dimensions of your fencing; plus, they come in pre-assembled packaging for easier DIY installation.

The final popular option for fences and gates is chain-link fencing. Many home owners gasp at the very idea, but it is all in how you portray it. A simple chain-link fence with an ornate wooden or metal gate can be quite attractive, especially when you allow vines or other plants to interweave with the fencing. The major drawbacks to this solution is rust, which is quite common, and an increased need for maintenance. Weeds and undesirable plants will meld with the fencing, making them difficult to uproot.

Whatever type of fences and gates you choose, it is important to remember that quality will always be worth the price. If your fence rots after ten years, you’ll have to install a whole new fence, which will require more time and money than if you’d shelled out a few more dollars for better materials. Furthermore, you might want to hire someone to install your fence if you aren’t sure you can do it. Paying for the labor up front will save you years of headaches in the future.

Your local hardware store will have the supplies you need, but you can also buy online. Searching for the best prices on quality materials will make the entire experience more pleasurable.

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