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How much does a new fence installation cost?

Fencing is one of the possible options for a garden perimeter, there are others but fencing offers some clear advantages to the alternatives. Fencing is usually charged at a per metre price unless you are buying panel fencing when each panel will have a different price depending on its style and design.

Most people opt for 6ft high fence panels, concrete posts as these don’t rot and gravel boards which go along the bottom. Here are some typical fence panel styles with a per panel guide price:-

  • Lap fence boards – from £15
  • Trellis panels – from £16
  • Feather edge panels – from £32
  • Slatted fence panels – from £32
  • Concave panels - from £40
  • Convex panels - from £45
  • Weaved panels – from £58

The cost of the fencing will depend on the length of the run so how many panels you need and don’t forget to add on the costs of the posts - anywhere from £20-£30 per post - and gravel boards which cost around £20 for each section length. The average cost of hiring someone to supply and install garden fencing is around £700-£1,000 for eight fence panels with each panel measuring two metres in length.

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What are the factors which affect the cost of timber fencing?

There are three main factors which can impact on the cost and there are:-

  • The length of the fence run so how much fencing you need
  • The quality of the timber so the type of wood used
  • Who installs the fencing, fencers usually charge a daily rate which varies from around £100 to £150

Don’t forget to add on the charges for waste disposal of the old fencing.

Wooden fencing

Wooden fencing is one of the most universally popular choices for most homes and in fact, some regulations may insist on it. Local housing rules or listed building requirements may only allow wooden fences in particular areas. As with any fencing, there are some distinct pros and cons.

The Pros

  • Timber fencing has a natural look and makes the perfect backdrop for trees, shrubs and flowers
  • Timber can be painted or stained to suit garden design
  • There are lots of different options on styling
  • It is usually the most affordable option for most households

The Cons

  • Environmental validity is becoming an increasing problem and cheap fencing is not usually sourced from sustainable forests. There can also be other harmful factors such as the milling process and the transportation
  • The quality can vary enormously and many reputable fencers will not install garden centre timber fencing because of this
  • Timber will weather quickly and soon appear old and tatty without regular care and maintenance including wood treatment and staining
  • It can be vulnerable to high winds during winter weather
  • It will rot and warp and can easily be damaged by insects
  • Overall, timber fencing has a shorter shelf life than other materials like metal or plastic
  • The timber sections are heavily reliant on the wooden posts which support them

Is timber the only fencing choice?

Timber is the most common fencing choice but there are other alternatives including:-

  • Vinyl PVC
  • Aluminium
  • Wire
  • Wrought iron
  • Picket fencing

Each fencing material has distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Vinyl/uPVC

uPVC fencing is still not the game-changer that many thought it would be and there are several reasons for this. Although vinyl fencing can pass for wood at a distance and is virtually maintenance-free, it will rapidly stain and become mildewed and these marks are virtually impossible to remove and there is no paint material available which can be used to disguise them. It also expands and contracts in response to temperature changes which can make it brittle and liable to damage. And the same environmental questions surround vinyl fencing as many other types of fencing.

Aluminium fencing

The great thing about aluminium fencing is that is not expensive and it lasts a lifetime with very little upkeep. It is easy to install but not perhaps as tough for security purposes as some other types of fencing. Aluminium fencing is environmentally friendly but some people just prefer the more traditional look of wood.

Wire

Wire fencing is also sometimes called woven wire fencing and it can be really ornate and elegant which surprises many householders. A wire fence can provide a boundary but also allow people to see the garden so some people like it at the front of the house – it is the complete opposite to the closed-in feel of timber which provides a solid barrier and therefore lots of privacy. Wire can be nice if you have a back garden which borders open countryside as it allows the garden to appear to flow seamlessly into the horizon. Wire fencing can be powder coated in different colours including cream, heritage green, black, white and silver and you can also add matching gates to complete the look. Wire fencing is relatively inexpensive but the main drawback with wire is the issue of privacy so if you want seclusion then it is not the fence choice for you.

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron fencing can really look the part but it is an expensive option. It can offer a beautiful look for period and heritage homes and also affords a high level of security. The drawbacks to wrought iron fencing are its general availability – you will probably have to commission someone to make it for you – and it does rust so it can prove to be high maintenance if you want to keep it looking its best. Wrought iron is also most ideal on a level site as it is difficult to install to follow gradient; a mild slope is not a problem but anything steeper will prove a challenge.

Picket fencing

Picket fencing sometimes also called palisade fencing is a very traditional style of fencing made from wooden picket pales which are attached to a rail with small gaps left between the pales. Usually used for front gardens, a picket fence offers demarcation but without creating a solid barrier so allowing light to pass through it yet is still secure enough for children and pets. Picket fencing is associated with character properties in villages but can actually work well in an urban setting as it is a softer style than some of the alternatives and marks out a garden or area without boxing it in. Picket fencing can have pointed or rounded tops and is either installed pale by pale or purchased as pre-made picket fence panels which can slide into slotted posts called Jakposts, the latter clearly being both easier and quicker. A picket fence works well on uneven slopes as the individual pales can be staggered according to the gradient.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of fencing over other types of garden boundary?

  • Fencing offers privacy
  • It is low maintenance compared to hedging, shrubs or trees which usually need trimming or cutting
  • It is an immediate boundary – it does not need to grow or establish
  • If there is damage it is possible to just replace sections rather than the entire fence
  • Fencing provides a solid barrier for the security of children and pets
  • Solid wooden fencing can provide a windbreak or sound baffle
  • Fencing can provide aesthetically attractive boundaries with different styles and designs made from a range of materials

Can I install my own timber fencing?

Many people do install their own fencing but equally, you can ask a fencing contractor or garden company to do this for you in which case they will probably supply the fencing panels as well.

How can I find a reputable contractor to install my fencing?

Ask around for a recommendation from a friend, neighbour or work colleague or have a look online; social media is a popular route for people to source tradespeople. There are also plenty of internet platforms which act as a directory for your area but always check out someone thoroughly if you don’t know them and they have not been recommended to you.

Are there any planning permission issues surrounding the installation of fencing?

If your house is listed or in a conservation area then you may need consent to change your fencing and there may be restrictions on what you are allowed to install. Planning regulations make dictate the height of any fencing, the usual rule is two metres but you can check this with your local planning authority, anything higher may need planning permission.

I have just bought a new house, who owns the fencing in the garden?

There is no general rule you can apply as to which property owns which fence, it all comes down to the way the land and boundaries were organised when the houses were built. Your Solicitor will be able to advise based on the information contained in the title deeds, alternatively, this information can be found in the seller’s Property Information Form.

Can I do anything with my neighbour’s fence if it looks awful?

Unfortunately, you cannot touch your neighbour’s fence without their permission and this includes painting the side of the fence which faces into your garden or hanging flowers or plants on it or even attaching a trellis to it to use a climbing plant to disguise the condition of the fence. Some people erect their own fence on this side of the garden to create something better looking and which will improve the overall appearance if their neighbour is being difficult or simply not maintaining the fence to an adequate standard. They can then paint it or stain it whatever colour they like and also attach plants to it or trellises. Touching your neighbour’s fence without their permission can amount to criminal damage even if you are only intending to improve its appearance or even repair it.

Can I trim back branches which overhang my neighbour’s fence into my garden?

You are allowed to do this but may only trim back the branches as far as the fence line. You will have to dispose of the cuttings yourself, throwing them over the fence is not an option and actually amounts to trespass.

What is the difference between rough sawn and smooth sawn fence panels?

Rough sawn woods are very porous and will absorb more wood treatment than smooth planed wood. So when you are planning to treat timber, this may affect the quantity you need and always patch test an area first as the colour finish may be different to what you are expecting if the wood takes up more of the preservative.

Why does the wood preservative make the timber look darker than the shade shown on the tin?

This often happens but the colour will weather over the course of a few weeks and usually tones down to the shade you were expecting.

How can I clean green algae from wooden fence panels?

First, wait until the panels are dry on a sunny day and use a stiff broom or brush to remove the worst of it then treat with a mould and mildew cleaner. If the fence panels are particularly soiled then you may need to repeat this process more than once. When the fence is clean and dry then treat with a wood preservative as this will help to prevent the future growth of mould and algae.

What is the best garden fencing to use?

The answer to this depends on what you are trying to achieve and your available budget. If you are looking for security and privacy then a solid timber panel fence is the best option and there are a variety of different panels in terms of type and wood quality to suit all pockets. If however, you don’t want to create a solid barrier then wire or picket fencing is an alternative possibility. People often choose different fencing for their front gardens and their back gardens.

For more information on planning permission as it relates to fencing, see these articles from Camden Council and Planning Portal.