Ahead, find the fence type that fits your needs and budget.
A fence that keeps out nosy neighbors and possible intruders can also boost your home’s curb appeal—without breaking the bank. While some materials, such as aluminum ($35 to $55 per linear foot) and vinyl ($20 to $40 per linear foot) are decidedly pricey, you can install a front or backyard fence far more frugally. Click through for 15 durable and affordable options—some purely utilitarian, others quite attractive. You’re sure to find the fence that’s perfect for your property and your budget.
1. Treated pine ($12 to $19 per linear foot installed)
Pine wood panels that are chemically or pressure-treated to resist rot and pests, installed in a non-breaking vertical or horizontal orientation, are available for far less than naturally rot-resistant lumbers such as cedar or redwood. Because treated wood does tend to twist or warp post-install, handpick fence panels from your lumberyard to ensure that they aren’t green or damp, signs that the wood will easily move out of place once in the ground.
3. Wrought iron ($24 to $32 per linear foot)
For a centuries-old appearance that makes for dramatic décor on a Gothic Revival, Second Empire, or Italianate home, opt for the secure fortress style of a wrought-iron fence. Thin, vertically oriented balusters made of a rot- and warp-resistant low-carbon iron alloy are placed inches apart between taller, thicker vertical iron posts. Plain black iron posts start at the lower end of the price range, while galvanized (zinc-coated) ones are pricier.
4. Barbed wire ($1.50 to $2 per linear foot)
When you’ve got livestock to rein in and fierce roaming predators like wolves and coyotes to keep out, it’s hard to beat this low-cost option. Three to five strands (i.e., tiers) of barbed wire are stretched horizontally between metal posts around the property line, with wood or metal posts installed at corners to hold the wire up. Note that barbed wire fences are only permitted in rural areas.
5. Hog wire ($3 to $5 per linear foot)
Budget-conscious homeowners will appreciate this dirt-cheap material used to fence in small animals or mark property boundaries. Rigid metal wire is usually strung in a grid-like pattern over a series of large wooden frames; the minimal wood in the design may allow you to splurge on a high-end species like redwood for a more attractive look.
6. Electric ($1 to $6 per linear foot)
Electric fencing to deter animal and human intruders is popular with homeowners for its low cost and simple setup: a transmitter, receiver, and multiple wire strands strung between vertical wooden posts. These security fences deliver a high-voltage pulse when the wire is breached, so are usually only allowed in rural areas and must be kept clear of roads and highways.
7. Pallet (free!)
Want a wood fence but don’t want to pay for it? DIY from pallets you can pick up gratis at nurseries, construction sites, and other venues. Pallets can be installed either vertically or horizontally between vertical pallet posts, either with or without space in between. Make sure any pallets you score bear the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) logo, which certifies they were heat-treated or fumigated to prevent the spread of insects or plant diseases. Also know that pallets can contain splinters and nails—handle with care.
8. Split rail ($10 to $20 per linear foot)
Traditionally used on farms and ranches to corral animals or mark property boundaries, the split-rail fence has made the leap to ranch and Southwestern-style homes and beyond. Timber logs, usually cedar or chestnut, are split lengthwise into “rails” and then stacked horizontally between short or tall vertically oriented posts. Because there are eight to 10 inches of space between individual rails, this fencing uses less material than solid varieties, and so costs considerably less.
9. Picket ($5 to $10 per linear foot)
An enduring symbol of the American Dream, the picket fence is also among the best affordable fence ideas for bringing privacy to the yard, thanks to vertical fence pickets spaced one to three inches apart that are attached to top and bottom horizontal rails. A range of decorative picket styles, including pointed and round, also boost the curb appeal of a Colonial, Craftsman, Cape Cod, or Georgian home.
10. Dog ear ($15 to $20 per linear foot)
In this modern twist on the picket fence, ideal for Colonial Revival homes, the top of each individual section of fencing takes an inverted curve shape. The fence panels in a dog-ear fence may all be of shorter lengths than the fence posts, adding more visual variety. But more complex wood cuts are needed to achieve fence panels of different heights, hence a higher price than traditional pickets.
RELATED: 11 Ideas for Better Backyard Privacy
11. Lattice top ($15 to $20 per linear foot)
This unexpected tweak on a solid wood fence is well-suited for Queen Anne or Country French homes. A frame of thin slats, made of wood or metal in a crisscross pattern, is installed on top of a shorter, solid wood fence to let in sunlight and maintain a view to the outdoors while preventing unwanted attention from passersby. Even better? The lattice doubles as a trellis for nearby climbing vines. And because the lattice itself is made of smaller slats rather than full-sized wooden fence panels, you’ll pay less for a lattice-top fence than a traditional full-height fence.
12. Privet ($1 to $2 per linear foot)
Green thumbs appreciate living privacy “fences,” most commonly made of privet hedges. Depending on the privet species (there are more than 50), the semi-evergreen shrubs grow tall, anywhere from four to 10 feet or more. They can be planted around the entire yard or only a small expanse, and then pruned and sculpted to suit your taste.
13. Spotted laurel ($8 to $9 per linear foot)
These hardy, bushy plants with green leaves and yellow or brown markings can survive air pollution and salt-bearing winds alike, so popular in places with sub-optimal air quality as well as near the coast. They reach six to 10 feet tall at maturity, ideal for backyard privacy with a burst of color.
14. Bamboo ($3 to $6 per linear foot)
These tall and striking plants in the grass family around the perimeter of your property look great with Tropical Modern or California Bungalow homes. Bamboo reaches 10 to 50 feet or higher to boost outdoor shade and comfort. Keep in mind that the more invasive “running” variety of bamboo spreads fast and far, potentially overtaking the land, so stick to the clumping variety that grows in small mounds. Bonus: Bamboo repels deer, so your new fence won’t be food for four-legged neighbors!
15. Yew ($5 to $6 per linear foot)
This dense, dark, hardy evergreen is a smart choice for a living fence in cloudy and sunny climates alike. Yew is slow-growing, however, usually taking years to reach a mature hedge height of from four to 20 feet or taller, depending on the variety.
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