Fencing Options for Your Backyard
Looking for a way to keep your pets (or kids) confined? Need some privacy from your neighbors? A backyard fence is a functional and stylish way to protect your favorite family members, provide privacy and add landscaping and security to your yard (not to mention how nice it looks!).

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, selecting and installing the right kind of fence, with the features you need, requires forethought and planning. Before you build a fence that any penitentiary would be proud of, sit back and think about your fencing project before you---or a contractor---jumps in.
What you need to consider before building
- Materials

Selecting the right fencing material has a dual purpose. Consider what you want aesthetically and functionally---and the maintenance each material requires. Some fencing materials require a longer maintenance commitment than others, and you need to figure that into your budget.

• Wood. As one of the most common fencing materials, wood is one of the most customizable materials that comes in a variety of styles. From the white picket fence to the 6’ lattice privacy fence, you can choose what kind of fence---or what combination of fence styles---you can use in your yard. Wood does require maintenance however, so figure in regular refinishing and updating as you plan your project.

• Metal. Chain link and wrought iron fences are virtually maintenance-free. Chain link fences tend to be a good fit for the budget-minded family, and come in a variety of heights for families with small or large dogs. If privacy is not your main motivation, consider a wrought iron fence. Many wrought iron fences are designed so you can see beyond your backyard, while giving you the boundaries you need.

• Vinyl. This fencing comes in a variety of colors and designs, and is virtually maintenance free. The one downside? Vinyl fencing is not as customizable as traditional wood fencing, as it often comes in panels.

- Landscaping

Not only can your fence be beautiful, but adding flowers or hedges can also enhance the look of your backyard. If you want privacy, consider adding Arborvitaes or other hedges that can grow above the fence. Think about flower beds, bushes and climbing flowers as you design your fence, so you have the space you need and the kind of fence appropriate for all your landscaping ideas. If you want to add a pergola or arbor, think about how you can integrate it into your fence.

- Neighborhood/Municipal Regulations

Before you build, check with your local municipality or homeowner’s association to inquire about any regulations about the height or kind of fencing that you can install. Also inquire about whether you need a permit for your fencing project.

- Gates & Any “extras”

As you work on your fencing design, don’t forget to factor in where you need gates. Make sure you also think about any other structures you have in your backyard---pergolas, hot tubs or decks---as you may need to change your type of fencing or the height, in those areas.

Fencing is a big commitment, so make sure you think about what you need both functionally and aesthetically before you start. If you need inspiration, contact a local contractor that can give you ideas and put the design on paper, giving you a clear vision of the finished project. Then sit back, let your contractor work and watch your beautiful new fence come together.

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