How to Decide on the Best Fencing Materials

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The sheer number of fence styles and fence materials can be overwhelming. Stroll down the aisle of any hardware store’s fence and you will see different terms like “dog ear fence” and “scalloped fence.” Then there are the half-dozen materials, which may or may not suit your garden and budget needs.

When it comes to budgeting for a fence, even that can get confusing. It can be easy to just look at the fence panels to determine the price. But that’s before you factor in the posts you’ll need, additional parts like gate parts, and labor costs to install the fence. The average cost to install a fence is in the thousands of dollars.

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If you do it yourself, placing fence posts in the ground can be a backbreaking job requiring a post hole digger. The project can take days or weeks, depending on how long you have. A professionally installed fence can be erected in as little as one day.

With the cost and labor involved, you want to be sure that you are choosing the best fence for your garden. Below we will describe the different fence materials and styles so that you can make an informed decision.

Fencing materials

Wooden and metal fence outside modern house

Dariusz Jarzabek / Shutterstock

All fencing materials have pros and cons. Some also work better on certain aesthetic styles than others. So your first step is to compare different fencing materials with each other. Here is a guide to help:


Wood is a classic and attractive material that works in any style of garden. It is also cheaper than other options like vinyl privacy fences or masonry fence materials. Cedar, teak, and redwood are popular types of fence material for their durable and long-lasting properties. Bamboo fencing has become an eco-trend option as it grows very fast. You can also look for pressure-treated woods to increase durability and resistance to rot and insects. Wooden fences can last a couple of decades or more with proper care, although this can vary depending on the type of wood. However, it eventually warps and rots. It may also require repainting. This has led to other fence materials becoming popular.


There are a few different types of metal fences that are popular, such as aluminum, wrought iron, and chain links. However, metal has a very specific design aesthetic that may or may not work in your home. For example, wrought iron can add a majestic feel. Chain link fencing is typically found in very casual yards. Certain metals, such as wrought iron, may also require scraping and painting to keep rust and other signs of wear away. However, metal fences tend to be inexpensive. And they serve purposes like keeping pets inside without visually closing off the yard. Metal fences can last for decades or longer with proper care.


These are made from wood fibers and plastic. They have the look of wood with the longest durability of plastic. They do not warp or rot as much as wood and are more resistant to insects. The quality and price of different compounds vary widely, so you’ll want to make sure you do your research and speak with a reputable seller.


For cost-cutting fencing materials, there is nothing better than PVC, which often works as stakes, post sleeves, and stakes. It is a way of reducing costs and increasing durability because less or no wood is used in construction.


Vinyl fencing is the superstar of the fencing world. It is very expensive, but if you can afford it, you may want to consider this type of fence. It is stronger and more flexible than wood. In addition, it does not need maintenance and is very easy to clean. It can also last 20 to 30 years.

Masonry Styles

One style of “fencing” that is often overlooked is masonry. This encompasses styles such as concrete, brick, block, stucco, or stone. These types of walls are known for their longevity, often lasting more than 100 years with proper maintenance. They are expensive, but their durability can make them worth the initial cost. They also go very well with houses that have classic or stately styles. However, they must be installed by a professional, as they often require complex bases and supports. And, over time, they may need to repair the mortar joints.

Fencing styles

White Vinyl Backyard Privacy Fence

Genotar / Shutterstock

Beyond basic fence materials, fences they also come in a wide range of styles. So you will want to consider the following. Each of these works in different aesthetic settings and with different goals for the garden. Here is a basic guide to help you compare fencing styles with each other:

Privacy fence

This is a common utility type of fence that blocks all views outside of the yard. It often comes in 6 foot tall panels.

Lattice fence

This blocks most lines of sight, but has a partial view through a decorative checkered pattern at the top of each panel. Add a bit of romantic flair to a patio. You can usually find the lattice fence in 6 foot high panels.

Spaced picket fence

When someone refers to the suburban par excellence white fence, this is the guy you’re talking about. It usually goes to the waist and has widely spaced slats. It can give a clean and classic look to patios.

Scalloped fence

This is like the white picket fence, but the top of the fence has a curved design made up of stakes of varying heights. It can give a romantic and decorative feeling.

Dog eared fence

The dog-eared fence obstructs views with alternate planks placed across from or behind each other. This type can add an attractive texture to any garden.

Square fence

This basic type of fence is simply narrow bars placed a few inches apart from each other. It is a nice addition to patios with a stark modern appeal.

Near the farm

The farm fence is made up of a few widely spaced narrow horizontal wooden planks. It is usually waist-high and provides enough obstruction to prevent a cow from wandering away. It is ideal for rustic or country style houses. And remember, before you find the fencing materials and styles of your dreams, check with your local municipality. Some areas have height and privacy regulations for fences.

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