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Fencing Facts

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

We can supply and erect all types of fencing either bespoke or manufactured.

There are a vast number of fencing styles to choose from. You may want something practical yet attractive to stake out boundaries of your property, or a simple utilitarian barrier. The different types of fencing will lend differing characteristics to your garden; for example, a solid type of fence will provide a wind break for the patio or trellis, whilst some semi solid types will allow a gentle breeze to filter through whilst still affording privacy.

Prefabricated Panel Fences

These provide the quickest and most cost effective means of creating a solid barrier. However, they are not the most rigid of structures being constructed from thin cheaper cuts of timber. Our panels are constructed from pressure treated soft wood (pine). This process forces the preservative into the wood and as the preservative penetrates deep into the wood, this gives protection against rot for around 10 years, providing the timber is not in direct contact with the ground.

The strength of a panel fence is provided by the posts. These can be of wood, concrete, metal or plastic, and the choice of material and cross sectional area (thickness) will depend on the application. Generally, for any panel fence over 4 foot high, a post of at least 4”x4” (4 inch square) should be used. Often we have to repair 6 foot high panel fences which have been erected (by so called professionals) using 3 inch posts as this size is totally inadequate for this type of fence. 3 inch posts have neither the strength nor the resistance to rot required. It is also very rare to require sufficiently long posts which are anything resembling straight.

The most popular post materiel for this type of fence is either concrete or timber. Timber is stronger and is always used for anything over 7 foot high or where greater strength is required; however, concrete has a much greater resistance to rot and is therefore particularly good in damp sites with poor drainage.

A Panel Fence with Concrete Slotted Posts & Trellis

The Waney edge or Overlap panel

The type of panel in the picture above is now the most popular type of prefabricated panel. The horizontal planks have irregular shaped lower edges, often with the bark still attached, which overlap to form a solid barrier. The planks are fixed within a softwood frame and either slotted into concrete posts as above or nailed using galvanized nails between wooden posts. To increase the longevity of the panels, they are usually set on horizontal gravel boards (6” high 1” wide plank); this gives them a measure of protection from damp rising from the ground.

A Panel Fence with Concrete Posts

A Panel Fence with Wood Posts

A Panel Fence With Concrete Posts & Gravel Boards

Basket Weave Panels

The first type of fence panels to be commercially manufactured were basket weave panels. These are made from slats of larch or pine and are woven horizontally around vertical slats in a basket weave pattern. These panels are attached to posts in the same way as the Waney panel above.

Trellis Panels

Trellis panels are often used, as in the picture above, to give height to a panel fence. Trellis can also be used as a lightweight fence in its own right. Semi solid trellis makes an excellent screen for rubbish bins or compost heaps. As trellis is lightweight, when used only for screening purposes, it can simply be attached to 3 inch wooden posts and secured to the ground using spiked Met posts, making a considerable saving on labour costs.

Trellis Panel

Split Hazel (wattle) or Willow (osier)

These are panels of basket work available in a range of sizes and great for an instant rustic look. They make very natural looking plant supports. A wattle hurdle in particular weathers very quickly, becoming unobtrusive in a matter of weeks.

Closeboarded Featheredge Fencing

Where good security at a property boundary is called for, perhaps the best type of fence is the Closeboarded or Featheredge fence. It consists of posts either wooden or concrete with mortice holes for either two or three horizontal Arris rails. The vertical boards are wedge shaped hence featheredge - these are usually either 4 or 6 inches wide and are nailed with galvanized nails overlapping by at least 1 inch. A shaped weather capping called Alice capping can be attached on the top of the vertical boards.

Anatomy of a Closeboarded Fence

Post and Rail Fencing

There are various versions of the post and rail fence, which are generally used as boundary fencing. It consists of two or more horizontal rails nailed to or notched into the posts. The posts may be round and the rails half round in section, and they may or may not have the bark attached. Within this category, there are many different types; however, the most common ones are:

Ranch Style - These fences have thin planed planks of softwood nailed to short posts of softwood or housed in slots cut into posts.

Double Ranch Style – a semi solid variation of the basic ranch style fence. The double variation has additional planks fixed to coincide with the gaps between the planks on the other side.

Picket Fencing (see picture below) - also known as Palisade or Paling. These form an elegant boundary used in front gardens, particularly in rural areas where it is planed to a smooth finish and painted in gloss white, although for a less formal look, it may be left as rough sawn and treated with preservative.

Palisade - True Palisade fences are similar to picket types, but differ in that the vertical slats are butted to each other making a solid fence.

Hit and Miss Palisade Fencing - This is made up of poles split in half lengthways and nailed to horizontal rails in a staggered pattern, providing complete privacy yet allowing the wind to filter through.

A picket fence gives a semi solid fence with trellis on top to give extra height for security - a total of 8 feet high in this case. This fence is both secure and still gives the appearance of being “light".

Metal Fencing

Vertical Bar Fencing - this is made of vertical round iron bars, looped at the top and held together with rails in rectangular sections. This type of fencing is most commonly associated with country gardens - this is a long-lasting, relatively expensive alternative. Usually has a painted finish.

Railings - these are normally associated with town front gardens and were traditionally made of vertical iron bars with cast iron finals or arrowheads. Railings are now manufactured in aluminium alloys and are available in a variety of designs or can be manufactured to a specific personal design.

Continuous Bar Fencing - this is a traditional means of enclosing fields or estates. The fence is made of horizontal wrought iron straps and round vertical bars. Whilst it is long lasting and still available, it is rather costly.

Wire Mesh - As a practical means of achieving a fence, wire mesh may be suitable; however aesthetically it is rather utilitarian. The mesh is fixed to timber concrete or angle iron posts. It is mostly used for controlling animals.

Chain Link or Open Mesh - The size of the mesh may be from 3/8ths of an inch to 4-inch squares either galvanized or plastic coated, usually attached to tying wires which are in turn attached to posts by eye bolts. Meal stretcher bars are used to attach the chain link to the posts. Timber concrete or angle iron posts can be used. There are three different types of post - the end, intermediate and corner.

Decorative Wire - Often found hooped at the top, decorative wire mesh is available in rolls in heights from 4 inches to 3 feet. The larger sizes are attached to posts as for chain link, but the pointed ends of the smaller types may be pushed into the ground.

Welded Mesh is the toughest of the wire structures the steel wire being welded at each junction.

Split Chestnut Paling or Stockade fencing is made from cleft chestnut stakes connected at the top and bottom with galvanized wire. These line wires are stretched between thicker posts of softwood usually diagonally braced with intermediate posts to prevent sagging.

Spiked Chain - used purely for decorative effect or to mark out a boundary without forming a solid barrier. Spiked Chain fencing consists of steel chains.

Rope Fencing - Similar to Spiked Chain, but thick rope replaces the chain between posts.

A Close Boarded or Featheredge Panel

A Overlap or Waney Panel

Canterbury Combi Fence Panel

Combi fence panel with oak posts, post trim panels and post caps

Also included are 3 gravel boards so that the top of the panels are the same height.

Written by Stephen Charles

Updated February 2020

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