What is a Perimeter Fence?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

A perimeter is an imaginary line around the edge of a polygon. In the case of a property, it marks the boundary of the property. A perimeter fence is any kind of demarcation that marks off the boundary of the property by enclosing it in some way. There are several different types of perimeter fence. They may be used for privacy, safety or security, or as an element of landscaping.

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

A perimeter fence can sometimes be built to restrict access to a property. Such fences may be chain-link fences mounted on posts. This type of fence is often found around schoolyards, tennis courts, and construction sites.

Post-and-rail fences work well for marking the perimeter of large areas.
Post-and-rail fences work well for marking the perimeter of large areas.

Such fencing can also surround areas that are off limits for safety, such as swimming pools, reservoirs or utility sub-stations, on the one hand, or penitentiaries, on the other. When safety is an issue, you may see such a fence topped with razor wire or barbed wire. Barbed wire is also used in agricultural fencing to keep cattle, for example, in one area or out of another area.

Prisons may employ electric fences surrounded with barbed wire to discourage escapes.
Prisons may employ electric fences surrounded with barbed wire to discourage escapes.

Electrified fences, either standing or buried, can be set around the perimeter of a place to cause a shock to anyone or anything that attempts to cross it. The standing kind has been used in prisons and along the national borders of countries that were at odds. The buried fences are used in conjunction with a collar worn by a dog or livestock to keep the animals contained without the upkeep and appearance of a visible fence.

Barbed wire fences are often used as a type of perimeter fence.
Barbed wire fences are often used as a type of perimeter fence.

Wooden fences have often been used around the perimeter of lands associated with a home in order to provide privacy. Usually such perimeter fences have a gate at the front, and — depending what is behind the property — they may also have a gate at the back. Sometimes outbuildings such as a garage will form a connection between one part of the fencing and the next, if they stand right on the border of the property. Types of wooden fences include picket fences, post-and-rail fences, and stockade fences. Zig-zag and split-rail fences are rustic styles of wooden fence.

Split rail fencing adds a rustic look to landscaping.
Split rail fencing adds a rustic look to landscaping.

When a house has a garden or fields, there may be a perimeter fence in the form of a hedge or a hedgerow. The hedge may be short or tall, providing more or less of a barrier. This type of divider may be chosen for its attractive qualities, or possibly to reduce wind on the property or to provide privacy.

A wooden fence makes an attractive perimeter fence for rural or urban properties.
A wooden fence makes an attractive perimeter fence for rural or urban properties.
Wooden fences can be erected around the perimeter of a yard or garden.
Wooden fences can be erected around the perimeter of a yard or garden.
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments

WaterSerpent

@ Bronze Eagle

Well, in a perfect world perhaps there would be no need. If you lived where I live, you would see the need for protective perimeter fencing. What about American Embassies throughout the world in dangerous areas? How do you feel about that?

BronzeEagle

Perimeter fence just sounds so harsh. It makes me think of a concentration camp or prison. Why do we feel we need fences everywhere? To keep ourselves safe? To keep "them" out?

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