What's the Best Fence for My Yard?

Written by Angie's List staff
Updated February 9, 2016
wooden fence
Make sure you know the fencing restrictions in your neighborhood before deciding on materials. (Photo courtesy of Jeremy Bredehoeft)

Wood, metal and stone fencing materials are popular options for residential fences, but first consider your needs.

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An attractive fence can enhance your property, but there are a couple of things to consider before you get started.

Fencing needs and restrictions

Before you set out in search of the perfect fence, decide what your goals are. Do you just want to keep your animals and loved ones in?

Or, are you also looking for some privacy?

With so many options out there, it is important to establish some objectives. Otherwise, the task of selecting a fence can be daunting.

Before installing the fence, check to make sure your neighborhood doesn’t have any provisions against a particular type of fence. It's also important to consider how the fence you choose will contribute to or hinder the resale value of your home.

Research fence options

Each type of fence has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to cost, maintenance, and functionality. Although a wood fence may be beautiful now, without proper maintenance it will look worn in a few years. Consider all of your options.

Also, getting estimates from at least three companies before you make a final decision will help you avoid hidden costs.

Related: 4 Tips for Choosing the Best Fence For Your Yard

Video: Find the Right Type of Fence for Your Home

Know your fencing limits

Remember, good fences make good neighbors. While it's not legally required, you should discuss any fence building plans with your neighbors before beginning to build.

Although the fence company is responsible for laying the fence on your property, make sure you have an understanding of where the property line is and if you have concerns while the fence is going up, raise them before the installation is complete.

If you’re not certain of where your property line is, have a survey done. In one Angie’s List fencing report, a member raves about their new fence, but says they hope the neighbors like it too because they fenced in three feet of the their yard on accident.

Tips before you install a fence

Also, there isn’t a “season” for fencing; fencing can be installed year-round. In fact, winter is a great time to schedule your fence installation because companies may not be as busy. Ask the company about their timeline.

Depending on the time of year, it could take weeks before they get to you.

Ask the fence company to paint before installation, or if you're doing the finish work, ask them if you can have the materials before the job starts. 

The paint job will last a long time if you paint each piece of wood after they are cut to length but before they are installed. Painted fences may need to be touched up every year or two.

Your fence will lose its appeal if you don’t maintain it. Check your fence every few months for splintering, peeling, mold, breakage or insects.

Be careful with the weed whacker near the fence. Over time, that causes splintering and scratches which breaks the seal and encourages damage.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on January 9, 2009.

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