The Best Backyard Fencing Options for Your Lawn
By Axis Fuksman-Kumpa • April 10, 2023
Putting a fence around your house is often a pretty practical decision. Whether you’re trying to keep the dog in, the deer out, or the kids off your lawn, a sturdy fence is the way to do it. But a good fence is much more than that! Fencing is often the first impression people get of your home as they walk or drive by, and it sets the tone for your curb appeal. Or in a backyard a fence can make a style statement or blend into the background depending on your needs.
Nothing says “quaint and classic” quite like a white picket fence around your home. A sleek black aluminum fence adds panache to modern front yard landscaping. A rough hewn post and rail fence adds rustic farmland appeal to any location. Your fencing is an opportunity to use a practical feature to make a powerful design choice.
Interested in adding some fresh fencing to your landscape design? Keep reading to learn about some of today’s most popular fencing styles and materials—and find the perfect fence idea for you.
Fence Materials & Styles
Here are some material options to consider for your backyard fence.
Vinyl (or PVC) is a versatile fencing material that can have the appearance of a classic picket fence, a tall privacy fence, or even a split-rail fence. Vinyl is more durable and longer lasting than wood and will never need to be repainted, meaning it’s a much lower maintenance option. If you do ever wish to change the look of your vinyl fence, there are special paints made for vinyl that will let you refresh your color.
These fences also typically come in large fence panels, making installation a relatively easy landscape DIY project. If you’re left with scraps after install or you’re ready to take down an old vinyl fence, good news: they’re recyclable! Vinyl is accepted at many recycling centers, but the best practice is to return the materials directly to the manufacturer when possible so they can reuse the high quality vinyl for more fencing.
One of the only downsides to vinyl fencing is the cost, which tends to run a little higher than wood and other affordable fencing options. However, the durability and lower maintenance help to offset that cost in the long run.
Aluminum fencing is a popular fencing option that can suit any style from modern to gothic. You can find aluminum fencing in a range of colors, but black is by far the most popular (and the cheapest and easiest to find parts for). Black aluminum fencing is especially loved for how it captures the look of wrought iron fencing while being more affordable, lighter weight, and rust-proof. Its water resistance combined with the unobstructed views make it a popular backyard pool fencing option.
Costs vary a great deal based on the height, style, and color of the aluminum fence you choose. More ornamental shaping with spiked tips, fancy finials, or an arched top edge will add to the cost. The simplest black aluminum fences can be relatively affordable and are a durable and attractive fencing option.
Composite fencing is a type of fencing made from a mixture of wood fibers, recycled plastic, and other materials. It is designed to mimic the look of wood fencing while providing increased durability and low maintenance. Composite fencing is highly durable and resistant to rot, insect damage, and weathering, making it an ideal option for outdoor use.
It will require minimal maintenance compared to traditional wood fencing. It does not need to be painted, stained, or sealed, and it can be easily cleaned with soap and water. Composite fencing is made from recycled materials, however it can be difficult to recycle.
Composite fencing is available in a range of styles and colors, so homeowners can choose a design that complements their backyard space.
Bamboo fencing is a type of fencing made from natural bamboo canes. It is a popular option for homeowners who are looking for an eco-friendly and natural looking alternative to traditional wood or metal fences. Stick with clumping bamboo and avoid invasive bamboo, which will spread quickly and very hard to contain.
Bamboo fencing is not as strong as some other fencing materials, but could be right for your space depending what you are looking to keep in or out!
Modern Hog Wire Fence
This is a type of fence that uses a combination of wooden or metal posts and welded wire panels made from heavy-gauge steel wire. The panels typically feature 3-inch or 4-inch square openings that are designed to allow for maximum visibility while still providing a strong and secure barrier.
Hog wire fencing is a popular option for homeowners who are looking for a modern, minimalist, clean look. It is commonly used for backyard enclosures, garden fencing, and as a decorative element for outdoor spaces. Hog wire fencing can be easily customized to fit your specific design needs. It can be painted, stained, or left raw to create a unique and customized look for your outdoor space.
A picket fence is a timeless and traditional fence. The most common picket fence is relatively short and mostly an ornamental boundary, but they can become an excellent backyard privacy fence (or even an attractive front yard privacy fence) when the pickets are taller and closer together. They can be a great option to protect a garden as well. A white picket fence may be the most classic look, but these fences look beautiful in natural wood tones and can be painted any color of the rainbow.
There’s a wide range of material options for a picket fence, including wood, composite, and vinyl. Wood is a popular option and can be affordable. You can even find pre-built wood fence panels to make installation simple. On the other hand, wood is vulnerable to warping, cracking, and general wear. It also needs to be regularly repainted and entirely replaced every ten years or so.
As mentioned above, vinyl is more durable and lower maintenance, but costs more and can have a plasticy look. Composite fencing (made from a mix of wood, plastic, and resin) offers similar durability to vinyl with the look of wood, but is typically the most expensive option of the three. Although it’s frequently made from scrap wood and recycled plastics, composite decking is notoriously difficult to recycle (as mentioned above), meaning that it’s most likely landfill bound at the end of its lifespan.
Chain Link Fencing
Don’t underestimate the power of the humble chain link fence! While they’re not widely known for their curb appeal, chain link fences are affordable, easy to install yourself, durable, and maintenance free if you opt for metal with a protective coating. Tall chain link panels can’t be beat for keeping animals in or out of your fencing. If you’re hoping to block prying eyes, you can easily weave plastic privacy slats through the links to create an effective privacy fence.
The potential downside of a chain link fence is the appearance. If you like the look of chain link, good for you—but might be in the minority. Chain link fences are typically used for industrial and security applications instead of for beauty, but there are plenty of practical reasons to use it around your home as well. Chain link fencing is a perfect affordable option for a dog fence around their play area or a garden fence to protect your crops from overzealous deer and rabbits.
Post and Rail Fencing
Post and rail is a very traditional fence style made of rough hewn wooden fence posts and horizontal fence rails. It’s most commonly used on farms to contain horses and other large livestock and it instantly adds a rustic appeal to your front landscaping. The wide spaces in between the rails allow for great views through the fence, but do mean it’s not a great option for anyone looking to keep their escape artist chihuahua on the property.
Wood is certainly the most common post and rail fencing material, and it has certain advantages. It’s affordable, easy to find, and the construction of a post and rail fence means it’s easy to remove and replace single beams when repair is needed. If you’re concerned about durability and maintenance, you can also find composite and vinyl post and rail fencing options for a higher price tag.
Are you trying to fence in an oddly shaped area? Do you find all the fencing options at the hardware store a little…blah? Or maybe you just have your heart set on an intricate wrought iron design? That’s where custom fencing comes in.
When you call on experts to make the exact fence you want, that opens up a lot of options for your front yard design ideas. From trellised wooden garden gates to laser engraved glass paneling, they can offer you materials that you can’t pick up at Home Depot. This service will help you design your dream fence, but it also comes with a price tag to match. You’re paying for expert service, after all!
Backyard Fence Considerations
Before adding a fence to your yard, there are several factors you should consider. You'll want to check your local regulations to ensure that you are allowed to add a fence to your yard. You may need to obtain permits or adhere to specific guidelines regarding the size, height, and placement of the fence.
Determine your budget for the fence, as this will impact the type of materials and design you can choose. Also think about future maintenance costs when picking the material you will use.
Also think about the installation. Are you installing the fence or will you be hiring a professional?
There’s a whole range of options out there to help frame your beautiful yard. Walk around your neighborhood and get inspired!
Read more about: Landscape Design Tips