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Ask Mike: How do I pick the perfect fence?

Add value to your property with brand-new fencing
Mike (1)

There are several reasons you might need a new fence. Maybe the one you have has seen better days and needs to be replaced or you have a new construction home and are looking to install a brand-new fence.

Fences provide privacy and security. They help to keep pets and young children contained. They can also act as a sound buffer from neighbouring road noise.

Some are more straightforward than others, in both construction and installation. If you have a steep hill in your yard, for example, there are stick-built fences you can customize to suit the slope.

Fences also serve an aesthetic purpose: the right fencing can really add curb appeal to your home and beautify your garden and backyard. It can also add value to your property.

Mike from Heritage Home Hardware in Sault Ste. Marie says that installing a fence is indeed a do-able DIY project. He suggests you start by reviewing the wide selection of fencing products that are available. A lot will depend on what you most want the fence for: is it privacy, security, decoration or some combination of the three?

Here’s a breakdown of the different materials you can use.


Pressure-treated wood

Pressure-treated wood is very versatile; it can be painted, stained or left in its natural state. It has been treated to deter insects, fungus and rot, which helps to extend the look—and the life—of your fence. This material comes in a number of different styles, including privacy fences and lattice fence panels. Please note that these do require assembly: you’ll need galvanized or stainless-steel fasteners and hardware.


For a low maintenance option, consider vinyl. It successfully withstands the effects of weather, such as fading, rotting and splitting. It also comes in a range of styles and never requires painting or staining. Both versatile and durable, it works equally well for security, privacy and decorative fencing.


A mix of resin or plastic with wood, composite fencing can look like natural wood or stone. It is low maintenance and resists insects, splitting and decay. It is usually made from a combination of recycled plastics and wood pieces, so it is an environmentally friendly choice.


Ornamental fences

This type of fencing helps to beautify your lawn and garden and it can really increase the curb appeal of your property. Classic in feel, it comes in a variety of sizes and styles, so you can choose the look that most appeals to you and complements your space. Typically, these are metal fences made from steel or aluminum; they are durable, long-lasting and low maintenance.

Great for decorative fencing, lattice fences work well on their own or simply used as a top panel. Bamboo fencing is a unique alternative: it has a distinctive look and is environmentally friendly.

Ornamental fences often include decorative elements, such as scrollwork or post caps. For a finishing touch you can add fence posts and fence post caps, to tie the whole look together.

Lattice fences

You can find lattice fencing in a variety of materials. These include different colours of vinyl, pressure-treated wood and several wood species. Thanks to its open design, it offers a bit of shade, airflow and great support for climbing plants. Use it as a privacy fence or for decorative purposes.

Chain link fences

This is a functional choice that also happens to be easy to install. It is affordable, durable and made from rust-resistant galvanized steel that withstands the elements. You can buy it in a range of heights, roll sizes and wire thicknesses, as well as adding fence slats for privacy, to reduce wind or to block unsightly areas. Chain link fences are ideal when you need a security fence and to keep pets and kids in and animals out.

Garden fences

Both functional and aesthetic, you can add a great deal of charm to your flower or vegetable garden with a garden fence. It’s functional because it keeps animals out and can be used as a border or to create a pet containment area. You can buy garden fencing in a number of different materials, including steel, wire and plastic; it comes in a range of heights and lengths.

Rural fences

Rural fences are typically galvanized so they can be weather-resistant. Choose from woven, barbed and barbless wire. It comes in various heights and wire spacing, to suit different animals and acreages.

If you need to contain livestock, electric fencing is usually used. There are often other types of fencing used with it as well in order to prevent any pressure on the fence. For example, there are flexible fences that give way when struck; this helps minimize leg injuries in larger animals. If you have poultry and other smaller animals, such as rabbits, chicken wire is often used. If you have pets that wander, consider an invisible fence. If your pet gets too close to the perimeter of the fence, a sharp alarm is sounded and triggers a signal to your pet’s collar.

Modern-looking fences

LP Elements performance fencing looks striking. It adds both privacy and style to your backyard. Easy to install, it is made of flat-top engineered wood pickets and comes in four stunning shades. It is durable and can withstand the elements, with no risk of swelling or buckling. It’s a great way to add a more modern and contemporary vibe to your outdoor space.

HOFT fence system

Another way to update the look of your yard is to install a HOFT fencing system. They are easy DIY projects, made up of fence posts and boards that simply slide into each other; you don’t even need any nails or screws.


The height of your fence will depend on what purpose you need it for.

Privacy fences are typically 6-feet high. They create privacy but also keep children and pets safe.

Pool fences are typically 4-feet high, but you need to check local by-laws. Any swimming pool located on private property usually requires a fence around it.

Ornamental fences tend to be quite a bit shorter and lower to the ground. If you just want to add a boundary to your front yard or boost your home’s curb appeal, consider a 3-foot-tall fence in a decorative or picket style.

Garden fences are also a bit shorter. When surrounding flowers or vegetables, a 3’ to 4’ fence works well. You’ll probably want to choose a see-through fence to show off your garden, but if you’re trying to keep small animals out, a solid fence might be better.

Before you begin any fence installation project, be sure to check your local by-laws for requirements. Look for height restrictions, property setback, property easements and if any permits are required. You will also need to know the locations of your underground utilities and property line.

For more information about building a fence, visit Heritage Home Hardware or call 705-759-5101.