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Making good fences

Consider materials and purpose when selecting the best fence for your property


Fences can be a luxury — or a necessity — depending on why you want or need one.

From an outdoor home décor element to providing privacy, restricting access to something, or for safety reasons, keep the type of fence aligned with other elements on the property and across your neighborhood so it is in harmony — rather than aesthetically out of step.

“Over time fences have become a fashion item for the home, it’s almost a piece of décor. You can emphasize the look of your home,” said Jaimie Meehan, a Realtor Group in Doylestown.

If you have a swimming pool, most municipalities will have strict requirements for fencing to keep your pool and property safe and secure.

“If you’re thinking of adding a pool, think about adding the fence into the process. Talk with your township, neighborhood HOA (homeowners association) if you are part of one in your community,” Meehan said.

But if you don’t have a pool and want to enclose or enfold an area with fencing, make your purpose and the longer view top priorities when planning and putting together your fence investment.

Whether it’s your prize vegetable garden, a play area for the kids or pets, or just a way to define the landscape, fencing can be a benefit to you and future homeowners.

“A fence becomes more of a focal point of the backyard, and it (can make a) great living space,” said Leigh Nunno, a Realtor in Doylestown.

Meehan said the family and household make-up may determine the need for a fence, as well as the type of fence to consider.

“Dogs have taken a place of priority for families, so for safety and convenience” fencing off a portion of the yard may be a good investment, according to Meehan.

Fence types

From the classic American-dream “white picket fence” to wrought iron, vinyl, wooden split or “California fences” made up of wood frames with metal chain inserts, which can be stained or painted finishes “people are using fences with flair,” Meehan said.

Consider the height, material thickness and whether you want to incorporate lighting or place solar lights on posts.

“There is a lot you can do. The time we’re spending at home and enjoying our outdoor living spaces is a quality of life discussion. When you’re pleased with what you see (when you pick materials) it’s an investment in what you want,” Meehan explained.

During the coronavirus pandemic, people spent more time at home, and the choices they made included upgrading and changing their outdoor environments. Landscaping and fencing options grew dramatically during those years.

According to the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, about 76% of homeowners had completed at least one home improvement project since the coronavirus shutdown in 2020, and 61% opted to spend money on their outdoor spaces.

“As more people were home-based, we’ve seen people decorating their fences with metal work, plant material, lights and more,” she said.

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