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Fences can be barriers or decoration or often a combination of both. Fencing can create a welcoming feeling to a home or a feeling of privacy.

There are a great variety of fence materials and designs available of homeowners. Determine your budget, the purpose of the fence and your personal style preferences. The style or form of the fence should ideally be visually appealing and compatible with the style of your home. A well designed fence adds aesthetic value as well as monetary value to your property.  A question to ask yourself is ‘what is the purpose of the fence’?  If it is strictly keeping the dog in the backyard, then a basic chain link will service the purpose. If it is blocking noise, then a tall and solid wood fence would be a good choice, as would this choice provides a sound barrier as well as adding privacy in a backyard.  For the Toronto area the following are popular fence materials:

Wood
Wood fencing is versatile and enhances any property, which is why it is a very popular choice. It provides visually appealing property lines while providing ultimate privacy. Privacy and security are the most common uses for this popular backyard fencing option. Wood fencing also helps to reduce street/traffic noise and block wind.  Wood fencing has the benefit of many design and color options. It can be stained a multitude of colors and it only requires a fresh application approximately every 5 years, depending on the exposure of the fence.  Cedar is often the best choice for a wooden fence. The cedar vertical fencing will not warp as compared to using the less expensive option of pressure -treated wood and it will last for many more years as well.  An emerging option to wood is a composite, an engineered wood product. It comes in a variety of textures and colours that simulates the look of wood. It never needs staining or painting and is very durable.

Wrought Iron
Today, wrought Iron fences are mainly made of fabricated steel. Wrought Iron fencing is mostly chosen for its aesthetic value and is often used for traditional styled homes, estates and historical buildings. It is elegant and stately. This ornamental metal fencing can be designed in a variety of styles from low key to ornate. It is highly durable, but must be powder-coated to protect it from rust and weather conditions. If rust occurs, it can be brushed off or the metal can be repainted with a rust-inhibiting primer and paint.

Aluminum/Tubular Steel
Aluminum fencing offers the look of wrought iron and is lighter in weight because it is hollow. It does not rust and therefore eliminates much of the painting and maintenance. It provides an open feel to the fenced area but does not provide good privacy. Defining spaces and setting boundaries are the most common uses. This fence material option is strong and long lasting. It is a popular choice for today’s residential homes and the many designs available are suitable for traditional or modern architecture.

Chain Link
This type of fencing is utilitarian looking but there is a variety of mesh sizes, wire gauges and colours to choose from. Chain link fencing is sturdy, maintenance free, durable and economical. It is mostly used for boundary fencing, sport courts and dog areas. It is a strong fencing option which is more resistant to rust and corrosion.

We often add an insert to a fence to add interest and provide a focal point. The insert could be an antique iron grill, old iron fence panels or a pergola above an entrance. The design options are endless.  Whether you are choosing a fence design for a new home or upgrading an existing fence, there are many things to consider. It is always best to determine the purpose of your new fencing and then consult a professional such as a landscape contractor  to help you with the design and installation.

By: Shirley Edwards