Throughout history, fences have always served a security purpose. Although today’s fences may also be decorative, the oldest fences in the world, such as the Great Wall of China and Hadrian’s Wall, were built to keep certain undesired people out of a certain area. Indeed, even the word fence originally referred to “the act of self defending” in the Middle Ages. If you hope your privacy fence will serve this original purpose, you’re not alone. Security is the most common reason homeowners cite for building a fence.
Top Materials for Security Fences
First, let’s rank fence materials in order of the security they provide. Assuming they’re solid and offer no easy climbing routes, wood fences can be quite secure. For the average homeowner, a solid 6-foot wood privacy fence is an excellent choice. (Do be sure to check with your city’s fence height limits; here in Portland, 8 feet is the maximum allowed height for residential fencing, and even then only on side and back enclosures and with a city permit.)
Metal fences such as wrought iron – or, more typically these days, aluminum) – provide exceptional security. One advantage of aluminum fences: They won’t block attractive views, as a solid privacy fence would.
Woven chain link fencing is used the world over for security purposes. For residential security, 2-inch to 2 3/8-inch mesh works well; the smaller the mesh “holes” in chain link fencing, the higher the security guarantee. For instance, at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, small-mesh iron fencing was erected. The small mesh denied would-be climbers a toe-hold, and iron fencing is strong enough to keep out crowds of protesters.
Beyond these basic material considerations, you can add certain features to make any privacy fence more secure:
Favor height. A standard 4-foot fence is tall enough to impede would-be fence jumpers. However, if you want your property to be even more protected, a 5- or 6-foot fence is superior.
Build a sturdy gate. Gates are often the weakest part of a fence design, from a security standpoint. To boost your security, select a strong, jimmy-proof lock and tough hinges for your fence’s gate. Here at Rick’s, we offer adjustable metal Uni-Gate frames to add security to a new or existing gate, as well as the Lokk-Latch, a heavy-duty keyed lock that locks from both sides of the gate.
Create fencing that trespassers can’t get through, under or over. Spiked fence tops and barbed wire will deter all but the most determined intruders. Also, check that the bottom of your fence is close enough to the earth to prevent anyone from sliding underneath.
Look through a burglar’s eyes. Think about how your fence will protect or highlight anyone who does happen to gain entry to your property. A solid privacy fence, for instance, actually provides protection once an intruder is inside its boundaries. For this reason, aluminum and chain link fences may actually be the best security options.
If security is your main goal, you may also consider electric fencing or even the installation of a security camera. If your budget is limitless, you can spend thousands of dollars on improving fence security. For those on a budget, however, most tall wooden fences will typically do the trick.