5 Fence Alternatives That Innovate on the Traditional Style
Author: Jen Worst | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
People look for fence alternatives typically for the same reasons. Mainly we want something a bit more creative and less plain around the boundary of our property.
This could be a privacy fence or boundary one, but the reasons are the same. We want it to look nicer than the typical boring options.
If you have a home with some yard space, you've probably thought about erecting a fence pretty frequently. This is especially if you have or intend on having kids or have pets on the loose. We want them to have fun safely without you having to lord over them constantly.
But at the same time, you don’t want to spoil the look of your beautiful home with something as rudimentary and crude-looking as chain link or chicken wire fence. Neither do you want to spend time painting a regular wooden fence over and over again.
The following are five innovative alternatives to fencing that you see among all of your neighbors. Everyone's sick of the same uncreative and plain fences. Once you're done here, check out our series of 31 fence ideas, all in picture format.
5 Fence Alternatives
What we're not going to cover are variations on normal fencing. Options like corrugated metal panels, types of rope with ivy, criss cross lattice fencing, and others are either still traditional fences or just another version of one of the choices below. Here's your 5 fencing alternatives.
A hedge is one of the best alternatives for a traditional wooden or chain link fence. Apart from replacing the uninviting and hostile looking types of barbed wire or gothic spear top iron or steel fences, any types of hedges will also lend more warmth and greenery to your property.
A hedge is also an excellent replacement for a traditional fence because you can also experiment with a variety of plant types to erect your hedge with. Imagine a rose bush bursting with colorful flowers and making your yard look inviting, right out of an Instagram shoot... yes!
There is also a perception that maintaining a hedge will take a lot more work than a regular fence. However, it will take just the same amount of work to maintain the upkeep of a regular fence. If it's one of the types of wire fencing, god forbid, you will need to ensure the wire is not catching rust.
Besides, it's not safe if you have a small child or a pet at home that can crawl under or through the gaps, like a picket fence or a slat rail fence. A wooden fence will also need regular polishing and paint jobs.
If you think about it, a hedge might end up taking less maintenance and you don't have to worry about hardware like screws, gate latch types, hinges, etc.. The harder part is in the first few months when the hedge is growing. Once the hedge has its full volume, you can start pruning and trimming it to the shape you prefer.
After the first prune, all you have to do is keep the hedge watered and give it a trim every month or so. The type of bush you pick for your hedge will also determine how much work needs to go into maintaining it. So pick a bush that works for you, if they are flowering, even better.
Making a fence out of brushwood can be slightly tricky, but when done right it can make your property look charming and welcoming. Brushwood fences are typically made of dried twigs, often from tea trees.
They are also known as broom brushes as the fence looks like it is made of several thickets of brooms put together. This is a durable and efficient fence that can easily last for about 25 years and does not require as much maintenance.
They also don't catch any types of termites and do well even in the rain as they are dried and treated. The only maintenance they may require every now and then is that you will have to tie them back in place neatly. Kids can break pieces off though, which is something to consider.
Brushwood fences are used in dry, arid regions quite often as fence alternatives. They give the house a natural, rustic charm that will make your property look inviting. One of the biggest factors in opting for a brushwood fence is that it is environment friendly and will require practically nothing to maintain.
The work going into maintaining a brushwood fence is only in the early stages when you are installing it. If you get the work right at that stage, the fence will serve you for a long time without requiring any work.
You don't need to prune or cut the wood because it's made of dried and treated twigs. It will also not require a varnish as frequently as regular types of wood fences might. You can paint it or spray it on quick and dirty, too.
These have the romanticism of a hewn log and branch fence, which brings to mind images of horses running about, similar to a ponderosa rail fence.
Vertical Garden Fence
A vertical garden is a fashionable and beautiful way to erect a fence around your property without using the traditional materials. A vertical garden looks elegant and will give you joy when you look at it instead of anxiety about having to guard your property against intruders.
A vertical garden can look vibrant—green or colorful with various exciting flowers. This adds a beautiful green element to your home but does not require as much maintenance as a full-fledged garden.
There are ways to use sponges and other materials that keep the vertical garden moist. You can also choose to use plants that require minimal work, such as succulents and cacti.
Again, a vertical garden is one of the most environment-friendly options, and if you choose the right kind of plant, you don't need to spend a lot on maintaining it. It can be a vertical garden of large bonsai, which means the plants won't grow too much and you won't need to prune them as often.
You can also choose to plant succulents, which means you won't need to water them as often. There are also regular flowering plants that grow quite easily and don't require too much care and effort.
A fence is an object that is meant to keep intruders out, kids and pets in, or create privacy and can be quite the important part of your exterior design to deal with. Growing climbing vegetables on your wattle fence, for instance, can strengthen it, too.
However, a vertical garden gives you the security of a home that has been fenced in but also does so by presenting you with a great feature in your home that you can love and nurture. One that will certainly be a conversation topic among friends and guests who come to visit you.
Bamboo is one of the most durable and strong types of wood that makes for an excellent fence. A bamboo fence looks spectacular, especially when compared to a traditional fence. You can scallop the tops or add a shadow box design with dog ears, or anything else.
A bamboo fence will also be difficult for rodents and other small animals to chew through at the bottom, and they also don't get infested with termites. There are many types of bamboo to choose from.
For the same reason, a bamboo fence won't require too much maintenance. You won’t need to varnish it often or get it painted. The only work the fence may require is the occasional rebinding or tying.
You can use bamboo sticks to construct a neat boundary but you can also simply plant bamboos as well, depending on the region you are in. Bamboo grows very fast and can grow quite tall, making for one of the coolest fences out there and a quick solution to blocking a neighbor's view for privacy.
Of course, this means that you will need to keep cutting the bamboo so it does not overgrow and rake up some of the leaves as they fall. So if you plant bamboo instead of simply using bamboo stilts, that will certainly change things.
You'll have to put in a lot more work to maintain the fence. Watering bamboo is also complex since the roots can rot if they are waterlogged for too long. New bamboo plants will require frequent watering, while grown bamboo might require less water.
If you have experience with gardening and tending to plants, you can consider planting bamboo as your cheap privacy fence alternative. But if you want something low maintenance, a bamboo stick fence is a great alternative to regular fences.
Nothing beats the durability and strength of a stone or concrete wall. Stone walls are resilient and will keep intruders as well as rodents and small animals out (or in). You won't have the problem of rodents nibbling through the material and entering your yard and eating up your garden.
A stone wall can be constructed keeping in mind various designs. You can have an exposed brick wall or have a charming grey stone wall. You can even construct a concrete wall for which you can play around with color and perhaps even commission a splendid mosaic art installation.
A stone fence may cost more than most other types of fences. However, this is a good investment to make in the long term because it can easily last you entire generations of time with occasional paint jobs and maintenance.
Typical fences are boring. A gabion fence segment between wooden sections looks great too. These are made from wired cages with large stones poured in. They're relatively cheap and when used decoratively, they're incredible. Wooden bollard fences are a cool choice too that let light and breezes through.
A stone wall is one of the most permanent fences you can erect around your property, even more so than steel or iron. This also means you won't have as much flexibility in case you want to change the fence.
For example, a bamboo, brushwood, or even regular fence can be removed with more ease and can be fixed or replaced. But a stone wall will have to be broken down completely, requiring a lot more effort and labor.
A good stone fencel can give your home a quaint, cottage-like feel and you can also grow plants and creepers along the wall to make the fence look more lush and charming.
There are several flowering creepers that you can plant on your fence alternatives which do not require as much work or maintenance but will make your stone look vibrant and picturesque.
Fence Alternatives are Actually Better!
From the options described above, it is clear that there are several alternatives to fencing in your yard in the traditional manner. You can experiment with stone, concrete, and even different types of wood that aren't typically used.
Your fence can look lush, vibrant and colorful with the right kind of materials. Depending on the type of work you are willing to put in and how much time you want to spend on maintaining it.
While most people do not look beyond traditional choices, you now know that there are several fence alternatives out there.