The famous phrase, “Good fences make good neighbors” was popularized by a poet who loved the woods of New England, but who also spent time in the bustling city of Boston, MA. He knew that fences make a difference whether you are packed into your neighborhood like sardines or if you live in wide open spaces.
However, we should recognize that not all fences are alike, and the purposes and maintenance requirements of fences vary depending on your home or business location. Here are a few examples to consider.
If you live in the sprawling city, fencing can be vital to your life. The first purpose that many city dwellers think about when purchasing fences is security. Crime rates, particularly theft, vandalism, and other personal and property crimes is always higher in cities, just because more people are living there who are potential perpetrators.
Generally speaking, the higher the population density of an area, the higher you can expect the crime rate to be. Fencing can be an excellent deterrent for criminals, especially when paired with adequate lighting.
The second principal purpose for fencing in urban areas is raising property values. This is especially helpful for rental properties and real estate agencies. The added security and the attractiveness of good fencing will fetch a higher price on the market, and in urban areas, the competition for housing is always higher than in remote rural areas.
If you want to make more money on your rental property, install a fence around the perimeter.
Aluminum fences can be ideal for both security and aesthetic purposes in urban areas. They are lightweight, easy to install and maintain, cost-effective, and have the appearance of being stronger than they actually are.
Would steel fences be better for security? They would be stronger, but if someone wants to break into your property badly enough, they will find a way over any fence. The object of urban fencing for security is not entry prevention, it is deterrence, and aluminum can do that just as easily as steel, at a much lower cost.
What kind of maintenance can you expect for aluminum fences in urban areas? If you live in a well-paved area in a warmer climate, you can just a little light cleaning, perhaps spraying down your fence with water a couple times a year. Extreme air pollution may affect the coloration of your fence slightly, but a small amount of Dawn dish soap in a bucket of water, wiping down your fence with a soft cloth should take care of most of that problem.
The bigger issue in urban areas is collision damage. With more cars in the area, it is more likely that your fence may be hit by a vehicle, which will almost always require replacement panels and posts. You may want to look into an extended warranty or insurance policy for your fence, especially if it stands near the road.
Rural areas use fences for slightly different purposes. One of the most common objects of fencing in rural areas is to mark property boundaries. This is not the same as security, because these fences often do not completely surround the property in question. Instead, they cut lines between neighboring properties on the same side of the road, lines you can easily walk around or over. However, these fences help delineate mowing responsibilities, farming or gardening opportunities, and legal or municipal code issues such as where to bury septic tanks.
Another important purpose of rural fencing is to keep animals on the property. Rarely are rural homes built to keep others out. Instead, fences are used to keep dogs, cats, chickens, goats, and other animals on the property and out of the road. Rural residents are far more likely to have multiple animals (pets and livestock) than urban households. Fences help protect those animals by keeping them on the property.
Wood fences are a traditional standard in rural areas, but they require regular maintenance, or they rot and fall apart. Aluminum fences are significantly more durable and easier to maintain.
They will get dirtier than most urban fences. They will not erode away due to moisture and insects though, as wood fences will. Vinyl fences are another possibility, and they can be made to look like wood fences, and they are easier to maintain as well. However, they cost a bit more upfront.
How do you maintain your rural fence? You will likely have to wash it more thoroughly than urban residents. The increased elements of soil, wind, and rain will conspire to keep your fence dirty, especially if it is painted a lighter color. If their fence is near the road, they too may have issues with vehicle collision causing damage and requiring replacement.
If not, rural fences often have to deal with animal collision as well. Most dachshunds will not destroy fences unless you have one prone to chewing metal, but large dogs, like St. Bernards, can cause damage by colliding into it.
You may have larger livestock as well, and some of these will require stronger fences to keep them penned in. Even if you do not have pets or livestock, you are more likely to contend with wild animals like deer, coyotes, and more. These will probably cause less damage than a car but may harm your fence in smaller pieces.
Whether you are an urban dweller or a rural resident, fences have a place in your home or business. Making sure you keep up the proper maintenance on your fence can help ensure you get a long life out of your investment.