There are many reasons to add a fence to a garden. Not only do they keep out people and animals, fences can also be used to eliminate soil erosion, manage landscaping and the visual effect of the garden, and to control snow, water, sun and wind. Although fences have been made in every imaginable form with every possible material, the best fences for the garden include wooden, stone and those made from hedges or other plants.
Traditional fences include chain-link or rail, picket and board fences. Chain-link fences offer protection, long life, maximum visibility and ease of construction. Chain-link fences are available in different heights and can be used in almost any size space. These types of fences provide maximum protection from intruders, both human and animal.
Wooden rail, picket and board fences take up a bit more room and offer less protection from animals because of their construction. These types are suitable for surrounding sizeable gardens in large, open yards.
Stone Fences and Walls
Stone fences, basically walls, don't offer much in the way of protection from animals; however, they do provide a shield against the weather, as well as from soil erosion. Masonry choices include several different types of brick, such as glazed, pressed, face and cored, as well as concrete block, river rock, and fieldstone. Another decision to make is whether to use cement to hold the bricks together or to instead use fieldstone rocks laid on top of each other for an English countryside look.
Hedges and bushes are great "green" choices when it comes to fencing. Not only do hedges protect against soil erosion, as well as water, wind and snow intrusion, they last longer than wood fences and provide a habitat for birds and insects, which is necessary for good pollination. The downside is that hedges require maintenance by way of trimming and watering, although the hedge can be watered simultaneously with the garden. Depending on how closely the individual plants are laid together, the hedge can become a formidable wall when it matures. Good choices for fence hedges include Ilex Holly, Symphoricarpos, Hornbeam and Cuppressus leylandii.