What are the Different Types of Yard Fencing?

Dan Cavallari

Yard fencing varies in style, materials, and purpose; different designs are meant for different applications, from security or privacy to aesthetic appeal. The type of yard fencing one chooses will have an impact on the functionality of a space as well, as many fences can limit the amount of sunlight an area receives while others can help plants grow taller and straighter, especially vine plants or tall, heavy plants. Some yard fencing is designed to be ornamental and functional, providing a clear boundary around a yard while providing an attractive focal point. Picket fences are a good example of ornamental and functional fences.

A house with a picket fence.
A house with a picket fence.

The materials used in yard fencing vary according to purpose. Galvanized steel is used for chain link fencing, and while such a fence is a great choice for security, it is often not the most visually appealing choice. Wooden yard fencing provides an aesthetically pleasing appearance and can be used for numerous applications including privacy. Wood fencing does require more maintenance than other materials and will need to be repainted or re-stained periodically. Vinyl is a relative newcomer to the yard fencing market, and it is an affordable, attractive choice for decorative and privacy fencing. It is not, however, the strongest choice, and installation can be quite difficult.

Picket fences can be designed to be very functional.
Picket fences can be designed to be very functional.

Garden fences can be installed around a garden area in a yard to keep pests out of the plants. These fences need not be heavy duty in most cases; a simple boundary fence made from light steel or aluminum can go a long way toward keeping pests out, and such fencing can also be used as a support for creeping plants. Gardens that are not planted with aesthetics in mind may benefit from heavier duty fencing such as wood or even chain link fencing, though in most cases this is not necessary.

Pool fencing is common in yards where inground pools pose a risk to passers by. Often made from vinyl, aluminum, steel, or even wood, these fences are meant to keep animals, small children, and unwanted guests from entering the pool area. Since inground pools pose a drowning risk, especially for children, it is important, and sometimes required by law, to fence off the area. Chain link fencing is a good choice for this application, and some chain link fences are available in different colors to enhance aesthetic appeal and add another layer of rust-proofing. Most pool fences feature a gate for easy access to the pool area, and just about any fencing material can be used to create a perimeter fence with a gate.

Galvanized steel wire is often used for making a woven, chain link fence.
Galvanized steel wire is often used for making a woven, chain link fence.

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Discussion Comments


@Animandel - I'm not going to argue with you when you say that wooden fences are more attractive than chain link fences, but I have to disagree when you say that the wood fence does the same job as the chain link fence.

One reason chain link fences are so popular as a way of protecting businesses is because they help keep people out, and they also allow people to see through them. In other words, once a thief hops over a wooden fence, he is actually protected by the fence from being detected. Neighbors or police officers can't see him, so he can go about robbing your house without worrying about a nosy neighbor seeing him and calling the police.


@Sporkasia - My neighborhood does not allow chain linked fencing on any of the properties. A good tall wooden fence is just as good as the chain linked fence. The wooden fence gives you privacy and it will keep your pets in the yard. And it will add value to your home rather than taking away value like the chain link fence and other unattractive fencing options.


This article makes a good point about the security value of a chain link fence and also about how displeasing they are to look at. I lived in a house on a tree lined street when I first graduated from college. The house was an old two story home and all of the houses on my street were gorgeous old homes.

My next door neighbor decided to build a fence after her husband died. She was old and she said she felt safer with a fence around her yard since she was living alone. She also bought a dog and the fence was a good way to keep him in the yard. I was so disappointed when she finally did have someone put up a chain linked fence.

Every morning when I looked out of my bedroom window, that fence was in plain sight. I understand why she wanted the fence, but it was an eyesore and it lowered the value of her property and my property, too. The other neighbors were not happy about the new fence either, but what can you do? It was her property, and she should be able to add a fence if that's what she wants.

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