Buying guide to Fencing
A garden fence can serve a variety of purposes – conventionally marking the boundary between your garden and your neighbour’s plot. They can add kerb appeal at the front of your property between the pavement or road. Fencing can also be used to partition or screen areas of your own garden. Fencing can be cost-effective, something secure and practical to mark your boundaries or more decorative to completely transform the look of your garden.
With such a wide range of fencing styles and constructions on the market here are some things to look out for when purchasing.
What size Fence Panels do I need?
If you’re replacing an existing Fence Panel it’s worth knowing that Fence Panels generally come in 2 widths, Traditional Panels are 183cms whilst European style Panels are normally 180cms wide – so if you have existing Fence Posts check the space between them as this may dictate the style of panel you can accommodate.
Fence Panels generally come in 4 heights: 6ft, 5ft, 4ft and 3ft. It’s always worth checking the exact specifications – depending on the individual style of the panels some may be slightly taller than others.
The height of fencing you require will depend on your garden, for boundary fencing the higher the fence the more secure and private your garden will be. The height of Fence Panel runs can also be increased with the use of Gravel Boards.
Low-Level Fencing is perfect for marking a boundary and can make an attractive feature around your property.
Don’t forget your neighbours
Before you start any fencing project it’s only courteous to check with your neighbours. Make sure the fence is your responsibility to maintain and check they’re happy with the panels you’re choosing – it will change the way their garden looks too. The Fence Panels on our site show a view of the back of the panel so you can see what it will look like from the front and the reverse.
If you’re replacing, maintaining, altering or improving an existing fence, you don’t need to get planning permission as long as you don’t make it any higher. If you’re installing brand new boundaries or increasing the height there are occasions when planning permission will be needed so please check with your local planning authority.
Things to look out for when shopping for fencing
When shopping look out for the thickness of the boards making up the panel. Look at the thickness of the frame and if it goes all the way around the panel. Compare the number of supporting battens on the reverse of the panel. Broadly, the thicker the boards, the more framing and the more supporting battens the stronger a panel will be. It’s also worth checking if the panel has a panel cap or framing at the top and bottom to protect the end grain of the wood.
It’s also worth considering if you need a gate – select a style that has a matching gate to complete your look.
If you are undertaking a brand-new fencing project and need posts you need to consider this at the same time as selecting your fencing, making sure you chose a post that will complement your panels and that can be used to secure the panel.
What fencing style and construction best suits your needs?
Traditional Larchlap Panels
Sturdy Lap fencing panels with a rough sawn finish. Constructed with horizontal overlapping boards, sandwiched between a perimeter frame. These are great value panels available in a traditional waney edged design or with straight cut boards for a more contemporary finish. These panels provide privacy and are perfect for marking boundaries.
Traditional fencing panels with thick overlapping vertical boards and 2 supporting horizontal battens on the reverse. Featheredge boards are tapered with a thicker leading edge. These panels are robust and secure, they will cope with seasonal movement and offer rigidity. Heavy duty Featheredge panels are made of thicker boards and have an extra supporting batten.
Vertical Board Panels
The appearance of Featheredge panels with thick overlapping vertical boards and 2 supporting horizontal battens on the reverse. The difference is that the boards in this panel are non-tapered. These panels make an attractive feature and provide a strong and robust boundary.
Closeboard fencing panels feature thick overlapping vertical boards and 3 supporting horizontal battens on the reverse. The main difference between this panel and Vertical Board Panel is that Closeboard Panels are sandwiched in a perimeter frame all the way around and they have an extra supporting batten – offering strength and security.
Noise Reduction Panels
Designed to help reduce unwanted noise in gardens by busy roads or with close neighbours. These types of fencing panels use thick interlocking Tongue & Groove boards which have a specially designed profile. The vertical boards are sandwiched in a thick rebated frame. The sound is reflected, diffused and absorbed by the panel. These award-winning panels can reduce the noise level down by up to 30db.
Tongue & Groove Panels
These high specification panels feature thick section interlocking Tongue & Groove boards, sandwiched in a quality rebated frame. These strong, contemporary panels look great and offer a high level of security and privacy.
When it comes to decorative fencing it’s all a matter of personal taste. All of the styles make good boundary fencing with differing levels of privacy. The heavy-duty mortice and tenon jointed framework of the Europa range gives the panels strength and longevity.
Decorative Europa Fence Panels with lattice and trellis work incorporated at the top provide a higher fence without blocking out the light. They also provide the opportunity to grow climbing plants against your fence. Chevron fencing incorporates boards attached to a wooden frame in a diagonal direction. Opposing boards at a 45-degree angle create an attractive V shape. Domed Top Panels provide an interesting wave along your panel run.
The Contemporary Double Slatted Panel has substantial 8mm thick slats laid alternatively across the back and front of four battens. With slats both sides this is a substantial panel that offers a good level of security and privacy as well as looking great.
The Woven Panel’s design consists of thinner horizontal slats woven around 3 vertical battens, all encased within a robust, rebated perimeter frame. This creates a strong, durable and attractive Fence Panel, which ensures you enjoy privacy without blocking out natural light.
All Decorative Panels have a high-quality construction and unlike Traditional Panels, have a smooth-planed finish.
Screens are designed as a more decorative feature and can let in light to give a more open feel to your garden. They can be used to partition your space and screen off different areas.
Low Level Fencing
This style of fencing offers an unobtrusive fencing solution that creates a decorative addition to your garden and is ideal for marking boundaries where privacy is not required. There’s a variety of styles to choose from including Picket Fencing.
What’s the difference between Timber Treatments?
Dip Treated Panels
The timber used in these Fence Panels is finished with a factory applied treatment which provides some initial protection against fungal decay. This is a dip treatment which means the timber has been immersed in the treatment solution – timber is dipped into a tank containing a preservative which is absorbed into its surface. The timber is removed and left to dry.
A panel with this type of finish will need to be re-treated every year to protect the timber from rotting. Dip treated products normally have a golden brown/amber appearance when new, but this will fade over time. Forest Garden Dip Treated Fence Panels come with a 10 year Anti-Rot guarantee.
It’s important to know that if you choose a Dip Treated Fence Panel it should not be in direct contact with the ground and should always be used with a Gravel Board.
Pressure Treated Panels
If you’re looking for a Fence Panel that requires less maintenance then Pressure Treated panels are a great option, there is no need for annual re-treatment. These panels have the anti-rot solution forced into the cellular structure of the timber at high pressure to give them greater resistance to rot. Timber is loaded into a tank and a vacuum empties it of air. The tank is then flooded under pressure with preservative, the preservative is drawn deep into the timber before it is left to dry.
Pressure Treated Fence Panels have a more natural timber colouration and will blend into their surroundings. The treatment can leave a greenish tinge on the timber when new, this is normal and will grey over time. Forest Garden Pressure Treated Fence Panels come with a 15-year Anti-Rot guarantee.
Fencing Acoustic ratings
We spent several years developing our award-winning Decibel Noise Reduction Panel. The panel has been independently tested and is rated with Forest’s highest acoustic rating of 4, achieving a reduction in noise level of up to 30dB. As part of our development work, we’ve also tested and applied acoustic ratings to some of our most popular Fence Panels. These ratings are shown on the individual product pages to help give you an idea if the Fence Panel is able to reduce the noise levels down in your garden.
Battens: Supporting timber that forms the framing of a Fence Panel, providing a more durable structure.
Chevron: A Fence Panel forming a central ‘V’ shaped design, with the cladding positioned at a 45-degree angle.
Closeboard: A panel primarily associated with security fencing, with vertical overlapped boards in a perimeter frame.
Concave Top: An inwardly curved top.
Convex Top: An outward curve also known as a domed top.
Featheredge: A tapered board, with a thicker leading edge.
Gravel Board: Used underneath the Fence Panels. They raise panels and protect traditional panels from damp. Timber Gravel Boards are pressure treated, also available in concrete.
Lattice: These decorative panels have sections where the wood pointing in diagonal directions. Ideal for letting light through and for climbing plants.
Panel Cap: A wooden batten running along the top of a Fence Panel. Providing a neat finish and protecting the end grain of the panel.
Perimeter Frame: Framing that runs around all sides of the Fence Panel, securing the boards.
Picket Fencing: Often used decoratively for domestic boundaries, distinguished by their evenly spaced vertical boards, the pickets attach to horizontal rails.
Rough Sawn: Timber as it has been cut by the sawmill, it has a more rustic and rough aesthetic.
Smooth Planed: Timber that has been cut by the sawmill and then planed to remove the rough surface, giving a smoother finish.
Square Edge or Straight Cut: Boards that have both edges cut, meaning the waney edge of the board has been cut off so that the board has a straight finish.
Trellis: These decorative panels have sections with the wood pointing in horizontal and vertical directions. Great for climbing plants and letting light through.
Waney Edge: A traditional style, each board has one waney edge as it’s been sliced straight from the tree and one straight edge.
Top Tips for buying Fencing
- If you have existing Fence Posts check the space between them as this may dictate the style of panel you can accommodate.
- Select the style and height that best suits your garden.
- Before you start any fencing project it’s only courteous to check with your neighbours.
- Always check the exact size and technical spec of your panels.
- When shopping around, don’t forget to compare the thickness of the boards making up the panel, the thickness of the frame and if it goes all the way around the panel and the number of supporting battens the panel has.
- When making your purchase, think long term. A cheaper panel might be tempting in the short run but you may end up needing to replace it sooner, so go for the best you can afford.
- If you’re replacing one panel due to damage it’s worth considering if you want to change the entire run. Changing a tired panel run can make a dramatic transformation to your garden.
- Pay attention to the treatment on your Fence Panel and understand if it means you’ll need to re-treat annually.
- Ensure you don’t have Dip Treated Fence Panels in direct contact with the ground.
- Make sure your panels come with a guarantee.