Choosing a Fence for Your House or Garden


This is the quickest type to install and consists of ready-made panels set between posts. The disadvantage here is that an exact number of panels may not fit the dimensions of the area you wish to fence off. In this case, you either have to cut a panel (which is difficult and can spoil the aesthetics of the fence), or you have to increase or decrease the size of the area to be fenced (which is not always possible where you have neighbours involved).



These fences are stronger than panel fences. They consist of upright posts that are attached by cross-rails. Vertical slats are then secured to the cross-rails. These slats are normally wedge-shaped so that they overlap. 



Picket fences are constructed in a similar fashion to slat fences, though gaps are included between each vertical slat. This makes the fence less prone to rot as there is plenty of air circulation around the panels.  



Hurdles make an attractive fence. They normally consist of panels constructed out of wicker, which could be made from a number of different types of timber including wattle and willow. A such they are not solid but have plenty of tiny gaps. They are not very durable and are best suited to areas where you are trying to establish a hedge or where you wish the hurdles to be subsumed by climbers.  

A word of caution

When ‘sinking’ wooden posts into the ground never hit the top of the post directly with your sledge hammer. Always place an off-cut of timber between the hammer and the end of the post. Also, do not cut the post to size until it is ‘sunk’ to its final depth.


If cost is of concern, wire fences are often the least expensive option. Wire mesh is simply stretched between and tied onto steel posts (ie. star pickets) hammered into the ground at about 3‑5 m intervals. These fences are improved greatly by stretching 3‑4 strands of wire between the posts and tying the mesh to those strands. For added height, use longer posts and stretch a couple of extra strands above the mesh. 

The major disadvantage of a wire fence is that it doesn't provide privacy. By planting shrubs along the fence line, or climbers to grow on the wire, you can over time create a more solid barrier. If you have access to bush timber you might make a cheap fence from interwoven sticks (1‑2 cm diameter sticks tied together to form random latticework), or logs for a post and rail fence. The most expensive aspect to building a fence from bush timber like this is the preservative (eg. creosote) which it should be painted with if you want the fence to last. If it's only a temporary fence, that won't matter.



In some states legislation has made it compulsory to fence private swimming pools. While this might not be legally obligatory in other states, we are all aware that many children die every year in unattended, accessible swimming pools. Before fencing a pool it is advisable to check with a member of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association. Not all pool fences are child proof.