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Fences: From privacy and security to hard working critter prevention

From privacy and security to hard working critter prevention


From safety, security, privacy, pets and securing small children – even as a symbol of the American Dream – today’s fences go way beyond traditional white pickets and iron clasp gates.

Today’s fencing offers a wide variety of attractive materials. Think metals and coatings, wood, synthetic manufactured materials, eco-friendly even foraged stone for half and retaining walls, fences can be a useful and beautiful feature in the landscape.

Because fences are a barrier, they keep people and pets contained. They also deter predators from entering the protected area they enclose.

If you have a deer problem, a fence can help provide protection for your flowers and vegetables.

If you have backyard livestock, like chickens, goats or sheep, a fence may be crucial to their health, safety and well being.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, privacy fencing, either using fast growing natural shrubs as green screens or fabricated, slatted or solid wood panels or vinyl sections, is increasingly popular.

Tall solid fences create an outdoor cocoon and shield property owners and guests from neighbors, cars and passersby. They also act as a buffer to soften road noise.

Deer deterrent

If you’re considering a garden fence to discourage deer, the best fencing investment is an eight to 10 foot tall fence, installed to enclose the entire garden, said Margaret Pickhoff.

Pickhoff is a commercial horticulture educator in the Bucks County office of Penn State Extension in Wrightstown Township.

“Deer can jump higher than you think, and fencing is the best way, long term, to keep deer out of the garden,” she explained.

Because deer are reluctant to enter spaces from which they don’t see an easy escape, a formidably high fence is the best option, she said.

“It’s about how to make your garden space look less inviting and less easy to escape from” when it comes to unwelcome deer visits, Pickhoff noted.

To discourage destructive digging and burrowing critters like groundhogs, make sure at least a foot of the fencing material is set below the ground surface line.

Protect valuable assets

Valuable and rare plants may benefit from fencing, too. Either grouped together and enclosed by fencing, or fenced individually, you can pick and choose how to set and fence exotic plants, especially if you don’t have many to protect, Pickhoff said.

“If it’s not a big garden area, or you have a couple of prized plants you’re trying to protect, you can do that with smaller scale fencing,” she noted.