ARTICLE Joanna Mathers
Whether they’re used to create a sense of security, block out the view of the neighbours, or to keep the kids (or pets) safe from harm, fences serve a myriad of practical purposes. But while their function is primarily utilitarian, there’s no need for them to be ugly, frumpy or unimaginative.
Each home will lend itself to a different type of fencing, and there are a wide range of products and materials available – from rock and wood, to steel and concrete. Whether your home is a stucco mansion, a classic villa, or a brick and tile unit, the right choice of fence will increase its value and add to its road appeal. It’s always good to have a few facts up your sleeve before making any decisions on large jobs such as installing a fence, so here’s some information to make the process a little easier.
How much does a rock wall cost?
Australia has access to a wealth of beautiful natural stone that can be utilised to create boundaries. Solid walls made from stone blend in well with the natural environment, and the colours and textures of natural stone have a timeless appeal.
Oamaru stone is an excellent example of this. Widely used, this stone has been quarried since 1862. It’s a beautiful easily worked stone, with a distinctive milky-white colour.
Stacked stonewalls made from schist are also commonly seen. The schist comes in a range of shades, from marbled white, to sienna, grey and brown. Hinuera stone is another stone variant that is that also suitable for walls – it comes in warm yellow/brown tones.
Dry stonewalls are another option. These are constructed almost like a jigsaw puzzle, with stones being fitted together without cement to create a freestanding wall. Stonewalls need to be installed by expert stonemasons, and this process can be expensive. Most rock walls need strong foundations so as not to be vulnerable to erosion shifting soil, but once installed they are low maintenance and weather beautifully. Rock walls can cast long shadows however, so consider how this will affect your home and garden.
Price: For a 150mm block of Oamaru stone you could expect to pay around $70; Schist retails for around $400sq m; and Hinuera stone starts at $89.50 a metre for natural (non-kiln) sawn stone.
Note: All prices in this story are exclusive of construction costs.
How much does metal fencing cost?
Traditional wrought iron fencing has been used in Europe for centuries. Its distinctive look and colour made it popular with the French aristocracy in the 17th century, and it is often used to add some neo-classical style to older villa-type houses.
Wrought iron fencing is exposed to high heat and then shaped. It is extremely strong and stands up well to long-term wear and tear. Given the right care and attention wrought iron can last a lifetime, but it does require regular maintenance to control rust, and needs to be treated with rust proof paint.
An alternative is aluminium fencing. Commonly used around pool areas its slim lines and widely spaced balusters allow for comparatively unencumbered views. This type of fencing is low-maintenance and its powder coated before assembly so no painting is required.
The standard colour tends to be black, but many stockists can powder coat aluminium fences in a range of colours. These fences need specialised tools for construction, and are not as strong or long lasting as cast iron or steel.
Powder coated steel is long lasting if properly maintained, and very sturdy. It does, however, require frequent attention to keep rust at bay, and can be susceptible to aging and wind damage. It has a similar look to aluminium fencing.
Price: Wrought iron around $168 for a 1.2 x 2m panel; powder coated aluminium from $180 for 1 x 2m; powder coated steel from 1 x 1.2m $77 a metre. Note: All prices in this story are exclusive of construction costs.
How much does a cement and concrete wall cost?
Concrete fences are an excellent option if you want to create complete privacy around your home. Extremely durable, stable and low maintenance, they can be mixed and matched with other materials such as wood.
Concrete is very sound-resistant, so is a good option for people who like to entertain outdoors. It is also good in spots where there are strong winds; the solid concrete acts as a wind break. Concrete can crack and chip over time, however, and is prone to discolouration. And like rock walls, concrete walls can cast large shadows.
Hebel is a lightweight, environmentally friendly, aerated concrete product (the brand name is Supercrete). Supercrete panels can be used for fencing; fences made from this material are quick to install and economical, and can be finished in either rough or smooth textures.
Price: Concrete walls cost between $230-$350 a metre; Supercrete panels are priced differently throughout the country, see website (below) for your nearest stockist. Note: All prices in this story are exclusive of construction costs.
How much does a wooden fence cost?
The ubiquitous symbol of a peaceful, middle-class suburban idyll, wooden picket fences are affordable, easy to install and repair, and can be painted to individual preference. They do require annual maintenance, however, and weather quickly. They also provide little in the way of privacy.
A more sturdy option is Jenkin’s A-lign fencing, which made from solid timber that is pre-primed and easily assembled. It’s crafted from kiln-dried radiata pine and is treated to withstand hot dry summer and cold, windy winters. The fencing comes with step-by-step instructions on assembly, so can be installed by anyone with a bit of DIY know-how.
Rough sawn fences are ideal for a rustic, natural look and lend themselves to an unstructured less formal setting. Rough sawn wood is not planed or treated after cutting, which makes it cheaper to purchase and more environmentally friendly than other types of wood.
Radiata pine is most commonly used for fences of this sort. This durable wood can be stained, painted or left to weather. There are endless style options, mostly used for post and rail fences with battens, and it’s a popular choice with DIYers. However, like all wooden fences rough sawn wooden fences will need replacing after about 15 years, and can warp and change colour over time.
Price: Picket fencing starts at about $180 per metre for an unpainted fence. Jenkin’s A-lign fencing costs around $275 per metre. Pricing of rough-sawn timber will depend on the size, timber and grade of wood you choose. Note: All prices in this story are exclusive of construction costs.
Adding or updating a fence is a great start to fixing up your backyard. But don’t just stop at fencing read, “Outdoor kitchen options and ideas” for some great outdoor inspiration.
This article featured on page 42 of Issue 008 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page, for ardent renovators seeking to integrate the latest products and technology into their homes.
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*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Refresh Renovations specialist. All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.