Garden walls and fences: what you need to know

Selecting the right boundary design will enhance the look of your outdoor space and give it that clean finish. Take a look at this buyer's guide to garden walls and fences.

By Andrea Manley | 9 April 2020

Whether you decide on a wooden fence or a unique garden wall, a striking boundary will protect your home and enhance its style credentials.

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Image: Harrington Porter

Timber fences, metal screens and stone walls ensure privacy, reduce noise and act as a wind break. Selecting the right design will enhance the look of your outdoor space and may add value to your home.

You will need to seek planning permission for any boundary more than two metres high or a metre high when adjacent to a highway, while walls higher than 1.2 metres should be specified by a structural engineer.

Create a sound barrier

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Image: Harrington Porter

If your garden is next to a noisy road, school or shopping area, acoustic fencing will help reduce sound levels. There are two main types to choose from: dense timber boards with no gaps between them, which act as a barrier to deflect noise; or absorption panels that have a central core filled with mineral wool covered with a geotextile membrane. Use either one in combination with dense planting for the most effective result.

Wooden fences

Good quality timber fences will last for a decade or more and suit a wide variety of garden styles. Pressure-treated softwood panels are a budget option, while oak and western red cedar are the most durable. Look for labelling that indicates the timber is responsibly sourced.

Solid board or panel designs offer complete privacy and greater noise reduction than more decorative options. Horizontal slatted styles create bands of light and shade and are useful when fitted on top of solid walls, where they offer privacy without blocking out the sunlight.