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Garden fence made of wood or metal?
Garden fence made of wood or metal?

Video: Garden fence made of wood or metal?

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Video: 59+ Unique Ideas For Wooden Fences In Front Yard | Garden Designs 2023, January

Garden fences have been installed in this country for several centuries. They convey privacy and ensure that we feel comfortable in our own garden. In most cases, those who choose a garden fence choose between a wooden fence and a metal fence. Here we clarify which material has which advantages and disadvantages.

Table of contents Table of contents garden fence made of wood or metal? The advantages and disadvantages at a glance

  • The wooden garden fence
  • Which wood for the garden fence?
  • The garden fence made of metal
  • Suitable material for the metal fence
  • Paint and maintain metal fences
  • The garden gate made of wood or metal?
  • The garden gate: construction, design, equipment

Table of contents Table of contents garden fence made of wood or metal? The advantages and disadvantages at a glance

  • The wooden garden fence
  • Which wood for the garden fence?
  • The garden fence made of metal
  • Suitable material for the metal fence
  • Paint and maintain metal fences
  • The garden gate made of wood or metal?
  • The garden gate: construction, design, equipment

The wooden garden fence

What connects almost all types of wooden fences: posts, crossbars and panels. The posts anchor the wooden fence in the ground. They are connected to each other by crossbars that stiffen the entire fence. The filling is installed on the transoms: stacks and slats can be attached vertically, boards vertically and horizontally.

A special form of chain fences is split wood wound on wire, called wrap fences. When splitting, the wood is separated at its predetermined breaking point, so to speak, the wood fibers remain largely intact. This makes it more resistant to weather influences than sawn wood. The easily movable garden fences made of split wood are the mobile homes under the enclosures.

Wicker fences have an ancient tradition and are experiencing a small renaissance today. These garden fences are also available as finished products. The rods of willow, hazelnut, ash or birch are braided horizontally or vertically in a stable framework made of posts and transoms.

Which wood for the garden fence?

Wooden fences are exposed to water and soil: hard woods such as oak, chestnut or robinia are therefore generally used for high-quality garden fences; they swell and shrink less and last twice as long as softer woods. With chemical wood protection, i.e. impregnation or regular painting, the service life can be increased. On the other hand, untreated wood turns gray, gets a silvery patina and reduces maintenance. Fence builders still prefer to use domestic wood for the garden fence, but there are also exotic types of wood:

Bangkirai - a very durable wood that is particularly suitable for a garden fence thanks to its high resistance to fungi and mold. From an ecological point of view, the precious wood is considered to be of concern: environmentalists complain that it comes from the clearing of tropical rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Douglas fir - grows in Europe: its light reddish to reddish brown wood has only a slight tendency to crack and twist, is very weather-resistant and therefore perfect as wood for the garden fence. Without treatment with lacquer or glaze, Douglas fir turns gray and takes on a silver-gray tone.

Gartenzaun im Winter
Gartenzaun im Winter

Garden fences are exposed to wind and weather. Durable woods, such as Douglas fir or oak, do little work.

Photo: living4media / Karlheinz Steinberger

Oak - the very durable wood has also proven to be excellent outdoors. At the core, oak trunks have gray-brown heartwood, which contains a lot of tannic acid and makes it resistant to rotting.

Spruce - is considered the most important European type of wood and often comes from Scandinavia. If spruce wood is left untreated or if it is treated colorless, its yellowish-white shade changes to a yellowish brown under the influence of UV.

Garapa - a hardwood that is very well suited for outdoor use: it is very durable and is characterized by a very high resistance to fungi and mold. Garapa is imported from South America.

Chestnut - it provides one of the most durable domestic woods: hard and durable like that of oak. Garden fences made of chestnut wood are particularly popular, in which the individual fence slats are connected to each other by wire. Without painting, a chestnut fence lasts up to 20 years. The warm red of the wood fades to a light gray.

Pine - a classic, popular for its warm color: UV radiation enhances the yellowish-white to reddish-yellow color to a reddish-brown tone. The type of wood mostly grown in Scandinavia is very suitable for the garden fence thanks to the pressure impregnation. The greenish color of this impregnation shines through in light, transparent tones.

Larch - the "wren" among softwoods: Siberian larch in particular is characterized by its high weather resistance. Even when untreated, your wood is very durable: the yellowish to reddish brown color quickly turns gray outside. Larch wood tends to crack, warp and resin leakage - even after processing.

Robinia - its heavy and very hard wood is olive to light brown when fresh, under the influence of light it darkens to golden brown. The deciduous tree from the southeastern USA is valued for its enormous durability when used outdoors.

Willow - it is experiencing a comeback as wood for the fence: if you stick willow branches in a row in the ground and initially pour vigorously and regularly, flexible fences sprout quickly, which have to be cut into shape annually due to their growth habit.

Cedar - the very light wood from Canadian forests hardly swells and shrinks and is also characterized by minimal cracking. Untreated cedar wood turns gray in a beautiful silver tone.


After a while the cedar wood fades.

Photo: iStock / Citysqwirl

The garden fence made of metal

Garden fences made of metal not only differ optically and from the material of wooden fences, but also require extra treatment in terms of weather protection and maintenance. Metal fences are significantly more expensive to manufacture than fences made of wood, but have a longer lifespan: metal fences are extremely stable, easy to maintain and available in every style - from historicizing and filigree to simple and functional to ornate.

The metal fence consists of a series of foundation posts to which horizontal bars are attached. These crossbars in turn hold the "filling" of the fence element: vertical bars made of profiled steel, perforated sheet metal or stainless steel mesh. The constructive fence parts consist of hollow or solid profiles with square or round cross sections, flat steel, T, U, L or strip steel profiles. Metal fences are often erected on a wall or concrete base between pillars.

There are also metal mesh and wire mesh fences in various shapes and qualities. They are inexpensive and easy to set up. Unfortunately, not everyone creates the right setting for a pretty house. Decoration tip: Little representative garden fences can be embellished with hedges or climbing plants.


Metal fences are significantly more expensive than wooden fences, but they also last much longer.

Photo: iStock / mirsad sarajlic

Suitable material for the metal fence

Metal fences used to be hand-forged. Today only historical replicas are made from wrought iron. Fence builders use stainless steel or hot-dip galvanized structural steel for crafting designs - Corten steel is also available on special request. Stainless steel never rusts, hot-dip galvanizing offers decades of rust protection without maintenance.

Prefabricated metal fences are also available in steel and aluminum. Garden fences made of untreated steel will soon start to rust. In contrast, provided with a rust protection primer and two top coats, a steel fence only starts to rust after about ten years. Aluminum profiles are equipped with a weather-resistant and colourfast surface, similar to hot-dip galvanized steel.

Paint and maintain metal fences

Garden fences made of hot-dip galvanized steel can be left raw - an additional coat of paint improves the corrosion protection but essentially only changes them optically. The sun, or UV exposure, causes the color of the paint to fade within a few years. This change is hardly noticeable in muted, inconspicuous colors such as anthracite, other colors require a new paint job. In addition to weather and sun, rainwater and dust also clog the metal garden fence and promote the formation of algae or moss. However, this can be prevented by cleaning with clear water every two years.

The garden gate made of wood or metal?

- is the most asked question. It all depends on the surroundings: the slatted gate hangs on the picket fence, the metal gate matches the metal fence, and both metal and wooden fences harmonize with a wall. If a gate is integrated into a hedge, both materials can also be used.

  • Metal gates have been fully functional for years. Depending on the type of wood and the weather, wooden gates sometimes cause problems because the material shrinks or swells.
  • Metal is more durable and easier to care for, but uncomfortable to hold in the cold. Wood has a pleasant appearance, but needs more care compared to metal - unless it can turn gray.
  • Sensitive ears prefer to hear a wooden gate slam than a metal one.

In contrast to wooden gates, metal gates are still functional even after years.

Photo: fotolia / hcast

The garden gate: construction, design, equipment

In contrast to fence posts, goal posts are subjected to a lot more stress and are therefore founded deeper: The dead weight of the gate wing and its side suspension require special structural safety features. In the case of very high and heavy gates, it is therefore advisable to consult a structural engineer for planning! Since the gates are installed as moving parts, fence builders should think about the appearance:

How wide? At least 75, better 80 centimeters clear width, 90 to 100 centimeters are common. A test helps: the wheelbarrow and stroller have to fit through. From a passage width of 130 centimeters, usually only a two-leaf version is suitable.

Single or double wing? With the double-leaf gate, it is necessary to choose which of the standing and which of the rotating leaf should be. If necessary, a solid hold-open device keeps the gate open so that the wind cannot hit it.

Which locking mechanism? Depending on the design, a simple storm hook, a slide bolt, a profile cylinder lock or a security gate can be used.

How high? The gate can fit inconspicuously into the garden fence or stand out clearly from the fence system: only through excessive goal posts or a different line.

What equipment? Anyone who wants to install lighting, intercom, electric door opener, motion detector or video surveillance is well served with a steel gate because the electrical cables can be hidden in hollow profiles.

Once upon a time there was a picket fence with a space to look through. An architect who saw this suddenly stood there one evening - and took out the gap and built a large house out of it. The fence, meanwhile, stood quite stupid, with slats without anything, a sight horrible and mean. That's why the Senate moved him in. However, the architect escaped to Afri- od-Ameriko. Christian Morgenstern, The Picket Fence, 1905

What makes a good garden fence?

Elke Zimmermann has a degree in garden architecture and lives in Itzlings in the Allgäu. Dipl.-Ing. Günter Mader works as a freelance architect in Ettlingen in Baden and teaches as a lecturer for open space planning at the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences. They have been realizing garden projects together since 1997; In 2006 they published the book "Fences and Gates". In the interview, they explain what makes a successful fence design.

What kind of garden fence do you have, Mr. Mader?

Mader: "An invisible one: our metal fence is not beautiful, but is completely overgrown with ivy - and thus a slim alternative to the hedge."

And what does yours look like, Ms. Zimmermann?

Zimmermann: “My wrap fence is made of untreated, wire-bound split wood. The wood comes from chestnuts that grow in French plantations and are cut about every twenty years. Stick shoots emerge from the stalk, which are harvested as thigh-thick branches - a very economical wood production in which the trees are many hundreds of years old = ". Changing fences can be obtained inexpensively as a finished product in roll form, they are also suitable on uneven terrain."

In the past, wild animals and neighbors' pigs were locked out. Why are we still building garden fences today?

Mader: “The garden fence is a representative gesture: it marks a private zone and sets the boundary between private and public. But it is also transparent and gives insight. Its height indicates the owner's willingness to tolerate: The higher the fence, the more clearly it signals "Stay away!" 180 centimeter high fences seem almost insurmountable, and if you were to climb over it, it would be a trespass. When a ball flies over a 60-centimeter fence, it invites children to climb over it and get the ball back.”

What makes a good garden fence?

Mader: “A good garden fence fits in style with the house and the surroundings. White-painted slatted and elegant metal fences look good in villa areas. A wrap fence should be left in the village - it needs a rustic environment. And the plot of land in a new development is well tolerated by a naturally gray wallpaper or colored glazed picket fence.”

What advice do you have for a building owner who wants to fence off his property or line the front garden?

Zimmermann: "First I let him articulate his ideas: Which functions should the garden fence perform, does he prefer a privacy screen, does he need a safety fence? Is a simple wire mesh enough to grow a hedge behind? Once the needs and budget have been clarified, there is no need to reinvent the wheel - I recommend everyone to go around the neighborhood and orientate themselves to local conditions. And you can just put a fence element 1: 1 in the garden to see what the product from the catalog or the sketch looks like."

Most garden fences are made of wood or metal. What speaks for which material, what against?

Zimmermann: “An untreated wooden fence turns gray with dignity and does no work. Robinia, oak or chestnut products are particularly durable. Larch wood is recommended as a cheap variant - it can be painted or glazed for a few years longer. Once you have started, you have to paint your garden fence again and again: a glaze shows less signs of wear than a layer of varnish that peels off. Boiler pressure-impregnated wood usually has a green or yellow tinge. If wood, then in nature - my gut feeling tells me."

Mader: “There are metal fences made of hot-dip galvanized steel, stove-enamelled aluminum and stainless steel. All three types have been without maintenance for decades. Aluminum and steel combine optically with the vegetation. Stainless steel, on the other hand, looks more like a foreign body in nature and rarely fits into the architecture. Who - like the Chinese ambassador in Berlin - wants to pacify himself with stainless steel should pay attention to slim profiles: massive ones look showy and embarrassing.

Garden fences made of stove-enamelled aluminum are only available as finished products. They seem a little too perfect, too machine. Hot-dip galvanized steel is recommended. If this surface seems too technical or a little rough, you can have your fence painted: the most requested color is currently "iron mica gray". The varnish also lasts a good 15 years if it is properly processed. But gardening means maintenance, and we go to the hairdresser every now and then: You can calmly spray a garden fence from time to time or wipe it with clear water. What is filthy ages faster."

What do you think of fencing made of bamboo, concrete or plastic?

Mader: “I find garden fences made of bamboo fascinating in terms of craftsmanship. They look good wherever they fit - the exotics in Central Europe hardly do that anywhere. Concrete looks bulky, but a fence requires slender material - I would rather recommend a beautiful concrete wall. And plastic is always electrostatically charged and cannot be cleaned in the long run. The material becomes brittle under UV light. If it gets a shock in a cold period, it breaks. Fences made of wood and metal are sustainable, plastic fences end up as hazardous waste."

Living garden fences are also popular. What should we know about them?

Zimmermann: “That they require a great deal of commitment: you have to stick the willow rod for the willow rod into the ground and, depending on the weather, water it extensively over a long period. Once the willows have grown, every twig actually wants to become a tree - and the lush garden fence must be regularly cared for with pruning shears.”

Can laypeople completely plan and install a wooden or metal fence themselves?

Mader: “Anyone who can precisely determine height differences in inclined terrain should try it. But like a fitted kitchen, a garden fence has to be planned well. The worst thing is the quick jump into the hardware store, where you pack a few fence fields and find out at home that they don't fit. Better to get a professional. This saves you from crap that costs a lot of money and that you don't want to see after a short time. Good advice and proper planning lead to success."

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