Today, fencing is designed for privacy, beauty and to increase a home's value. Garden fences look best when they complement or match the home's construction. For a brick house, a fence with brick dividers or fence posts would be attractive. You might choose a great plastic or wood picket fence for a cottage or colonial home. If you have a one story home that needs privacy from the street, put up a panel fence and soften it with some vines that grow in your area and you will quickly be able to add a new dimension of privacy to your home with little effort and time.
Choosing the right kind of fencing material can be an adventure. Just remember that there is more than one style of fencing that will look pleasing and meet all your requirements. Don't get too hung up on finding the perfect style or material. You don't have to be a landscape designer, trust your own instincts. Look around your neighborhood and see what is popular and why. Check with local home improvement stores and find out what's new. Establish a budget for your fencing and stick to it. You can save a lot by buying a few tools and doing most of the work yourself. Somehow, that seems to make that fence more valuable to your family.
A lot also depends on how much fencing you want established, and what part of the country you live in. You also have to consider if your house is on a hill or down in a valley. Will it get in the way of water draining away after rainstorms? Do you want breezes to come through or do you want to seal all wind, leaves and blowing snow out of the yard? Do you need to protect against burrowing animals or just your own dog digging holes underneath it? Is it primarily for protecting playing children from traffic mishaps and strangers, or is it to enhance and show off your famous rose garden or vegetable filled raised beds? It's all up to you - the garden fence designer!
Garden fence design is influenced in large part by the choice of materials to be used. Wrought iron fencing will suggest something more ornamental, while chain like fencing tends to be more utilitarian. Each materials has its own texture and aesthetic.
Wooden fences include hardwood and softwood, but sometimes the term "wooden" can stand for material that simply has the look and feel of wood - namely vinyl. Vinyl fencing should seriously be considered. While it's a little more expensive up front, its maintenance costs are negligible, since it doesn't chip, fade, rot, or become infested with bugs. It has a similar appearance and grain pattern to wood, but doesn't need to be replaced.
There are two main types of wooden garden fencing: stockade and picket fences. A stockade fence lacks any spacing between the slats, since they're connected at the edges with tongue-and-groove joinery. This gives the garden a more exclusive appearance. Bamboo garden fences are another type of privacy fencing. Bamboo is quite affordable and weathers in a manner that adds rather than detracts from the character of the wood. Homeowners less concerned with privacy usually choose the more, traditional, popular, classic white picket fence, which using spacing between the slats to admit a view of the garden from the other side.
Metal fences for gardens are usually aluminum or iron in nature. The two materials aren't mutually exclusive. Many fences that might look like wrought iron are actually made of aluminum finished with a powder coating that gives them additional rust and weather resistance, while being cheaper to boot.