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Wood Fence Alternatives

Updated July 20, 2017

Although wood fencing is a popular type of fence for many homeowners, there are comparable alternatives. Because the upkeep for wood can be challenging and time-consuming, some of these low-maintenance alternatives are more suitable for certain landscapes, especially those in harsh climates. The materials for many types of alternative fences are now readily available through local home improvement stores, providing access to several options with little shopping hassle.

Vinyl Fencing

Vinyl fencing is gaining in popularity as an alternative to wood. This PVC (polyvinyl chloride) material is durable and sturdy for both home and agricultural applications. Because it won't rot, warp or require much maintenance, it has a lifespan of up to 50 years or more. The initial cost for materials is higher than with most wood options, but its low maintenance and longer lifespan makes it more economical over the long run with normal use. Vinyl fencing is available in a variety of colours, styles and textures, providing a suitable option for most landscapes.

Living Fence

To soften the landscape or introduce colour, a living fence is an effective solution. Growing a hedge works well when a standard wood fence is not practical. If you need to block the view from upper floors in a neighbouring home or building, installing a large hedge does the job without the amount of labour required for installing a wood fence. This cost-effective alternative to a wood fence offers a large array of options, including specimens of all sizes, shapes and growth habits. With seasonal blooms and berries, a living fence suits most landscapes, while providing interest and attracting wildlife.

Chain-Link Fencing

When appearance is not a top priority, chain-link fencing is an effective alternative to wood. This sturdy and flexible fencing is useful to protect property or to contain children and pets. It provides no privacy screening without aftermarket "fence weave" to weave through the openings or the addition of plantings, but this durable fence requires little maintenance and last for many years. Opting for a coloured, vinyl-coated model protects the fencing from premature rusting in areas with high precipitation and harsh weather, while masking the bare metal.

Aluminium Fencing

Aluminium metal fencing is an attractive and formal alternative to wood. This lightweight but sturdy and durable metal is normally powder-coated to prevent rust, keeping it attractive for many years. Aluminium fencing is low-maintenance, requiring infrequent paint touch-ups, due to its strong coating, which resists chipping and cracking. Available in a variety of decorative styles and colours, aluminium fencing provides an option suitable for most landscape styles.

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About the Author

Based in Washington, Mariah Elaine has been a freelance writer since 2010. She has professional writing experience in a variety of media including Navy correspondence, business documents and research reports. Elaine holds a Bachelor of Arts in natural science/mathematics from Thomas Edison State College.