Buying a fence is a long term investment. Different materials can deliver you privacy, whilst others can result in less maintenance over time. We take a look at the different types out there and what else you need to consider before installing a fence for your home, and how it will affect your budget.
Understand why you need a fence
Before you decide on a specific fence type or material; look at the reason behind your purchase. Fences may appear cheap at first. However, you need to consider that they cost money to buy, install and maintain. Storm damage or general wear and tear can result in your fence needing more love and care. That means less money in your pocket. Thankfully by choosing the right fence for your needs and home, they can also assist in boosting your property value.
Best fence for pool
It is a requirement in Australia that any pool 300mm or more (including portable) is fenced. This is part of the Australian standards for swimming pools and fences AS 1926.1-2012.
The laws require fencing to be safe so that they restrict access to those vulnerable such as children drowning.
Some of the components of the law include:
- Fencing is permanent.
- At least 1.2 meters high when measured from the ground height.
- No gaps between vertical parts of the fence exceeding 100mm
- A non-climbable zone of at least 900mm in height and radius.
- Latches need to be safe and not accessible to toddlers.
- Fence gates must open outwards, close and latch automatically.
In each state and territory, there are certain rules and restrictions which also apply.
Australian Capital Territory
The information provided is not to be relied upon when constructing a fence around a pool or body or water. You must seek your own independent advice.
Best fence for dogs
If you are looking to add a fence to keep your dog in your backyard or frontyard, there’s a few things you need to consider.
No matter how large your dog is, a taller height fence is usually the best way to go. This will ensure there’s less of a chance they jump it and escape. Fences also help to add a level of security to your home and protect your furry friend from outside.
Protecting your pet is one thing, but by choosing the right fence you’ll also ensure you comply with state and local government laws. Most laws protect the general public from dogs. As a dog owner you are required to ensure your pet can’t escape the fence; either by digging out or jumping over. You could be fined or face further penalties if your dog gets out. You should also ensure that any gaps in your fence won’t allow your dog to harm or scare those passing by.
Similar to pool regulations, state and territories also have laws about how you confine your dog.
New South Wales
Northern Territory – Refer to local council
Please seek independent advice prior to installing any fence.
Fencing laws and steps
When building a fence, especially divided fences – you are required to consult with your local neighbour. In many cases if your neighbour and you agree on the location, payment and type of fence – you can go ahead and build the fence. Check your state government and council regulations to ensure this is the case. A fencing contractor or builder may be able to provide you with this advice.
Different types of fences
We’ve taken a look at the seven most popular fence types in Australia:
- Wrought Iron
- Chain linked
Easy and simple. This type of material is one you can install and forget. It suits many homes but does not give you privacy if that’s what you are after. They are usually difficult to climb; adding to your security, but this will depend on the height and style of the design. Whilst aluminum fences are maintenance free, they are not as strong and are less useful for a home which experiences strong winds or storms on a regular basis.
Looks appealing and gives you privacy. Wood fences come in many different colours and designs. They are relatively cheaper than metal fences. A professional installer is recommended. You can choose to have the natural wooden look or paint over it. Although, if you choose to paint your fence – you will need to repaint it in a few years time, dependent on how quick it deteriorates. Wood fences can also become weathered over time, so many need replacing or repair. To add further style, consider adding bamboo or a green vertical garden screen.
The cheapest option for those on a budget. The PVC fence is one for those looking to save. The material can also aid existing wooden fences to add further stability. This type of fence can last with Australian weather. Although individually not as sturdy, extra elements within the fence such as sleeves, help to keep it upright and in place. Perfect to add privacy when mixed with a green hedge.
Wrought iron fence
Custom made with style. Wrought iron fences come in many different shapes and sizes. They are made to beautify your home. They are less desirable when you want privacy and are commonly used for gates in driveways. If you want to maintain these fences, they need to be sanded and repainted every 2-3 years.
Perfect to avoid graffiti. The vinyl fence is ideal for those who have a problem where people graffiti fences or stains are common. It is paint resistant. So if someone decides to use a spray can, it can easily be washed away with some water and soap. This type of material is also stronger than wood fences. However, it comes at a higher price than other types of fences. That said, with zero maintenance it will save you in the long term.
Chain linked fence
Cheap and durable. The chain linked fence is most common in an industrial setting. They are not great to add privacy unless you mix them with a vertical garden screen or garden such as vines intertwining with them. A little creativity goes a long way. For security, they don’t provide too much benefit as they can be easy to climb or break with tools. However, this can be helped by adding barb or wrapped chicken wire on top of the fence.
Green and environmental. If the earth matters to you or you want to create something with international flair, then bamboo might be for you. There are three main types of bamboo fencing including live, cane and rolled bamboo. Rolled and cane bamboo use poles to become sturdy (like the image above). Live bamboo can grow up to a foot a year. Less desirable for those not wanting their fence to grow.
Adding to your fence
Once you’ve decided on a fence based on your needs, don’t forget that the fence isn’t the only way you can make your fence look like a natural fit with your home. Whether you are on a budget or want to add some greenery, you can consider other options like bamboo screens or artificial vertical garden walls and fake plants.