Reviewed: 9 Alternatives to Fence Panels


Fencing can protect you from the outside world and give you a little privacy. To some, its main purpose is letting others know where their property begins and where their property ends.

At the same time, fences can be the outside world’s only way to get a feel for who you are. If you want to show them how creative and interesting you think you are, it’s best to choose a fence that isn’t standard, but rather stands out in the neighborhood.

This can be tricky though, as owners have to keep in mind things like cost, maintenance work, and neighborhood regulations. For options ranging from more affordable and easy to install to elaborately designed and dazzling.

Keep reading for ten fantastic ideas of what materials to use for your fencing that aren’t just simple vertical panels.

1. Unfinished Wood

If you like the look of wood in your yard, but are bored with regular fence panels, an easy way to change up your fencing is by using uncut, round timber. This can be especially easy and cheap if you have an abundance of fallen logs in the area around your home.

Gather logs that are around the same width and cut them into lengths that are fairly uniform. Place them vertically and deep into the ground or stack them horizontally to create a tighter more private fence.

Another creative and free way to build a raw log fence is to stack them criss-cross, layering the ends on top of the other one to create a zig-zag pattern around the border of your property.

2. Picket Fencing

White picket fences can highlight the edge of your property and keep the view open.

Picket fencing reminds one of the 1940s and 1950s, where it became every young couple’s dream of owning a house with a white picket fence. Today it’s a classic exterior decor staple, especially in places like Key West and New England.

It also doesn’t hurt that white picket fencing is affordable, and easy to install, but come in a variety of materials ranging from vinyl, composite, PVC, metal, and wood. They usually are about three and a half feet tall, so building materials, painting, and maintenance cost about half of what it would take to build a full-sized fence.

You can also pick whatever tip best matches your home, with styles ranging from Functional Spear and Georgian Spear to more rounded options like Shapely Victorian and Turned Greek Revival.

3. Bamboo

Bamboo has grown in popularity over the past decade, seeing as it is one of the fastest-growing plants out there, making it extremely eco-friendly. But beyond that, it is also pretty easy to install and fits perfectly into the modern, natural-looking aesthetic of a lot of homes.

There’s not a lot of negatives when it comes to bamboo, especially if you decide to build with pre-cut and rolled bamboo, which can save you a lot of hassle in the long run. Attach it to a preexisting fence or build it into the middle of wood borders for support.

To keep it from growing, just build a builder between it and the ground, using any form of fencing base that fits best.

Precut bamboo even lasts around twenty years, as it is naturally resistant to termites and requires very little maintenance. To help keep moisture out, just stain it any color you want.

4. Lattice Fence

Lattice Fencing, while composed of vinyl, metal or wood panels, are much more aesthetically pleasing than regular fencing.

They work well in a traditional style home, which bodes well for picky Home Owners Associations, and are quite versatile when it comes to personal creativity.

Since all lattice style fencing is created in the same mold, you can also turn lattice style fences horizontally or diagonally to create a diamond or square pattern. You can even create a lattice style wall or garden fence that includes a door that is hidden into the design.

You can also use lattice fencing to border a home with foliage on either side and if you have a green thumb they can also be used in garden cultivation.

It can be a great wall for climbing plants like star jasmine, morning glory, or moonflower.

Lattice style fence panels are affordable, costing around $3 per linear ft. for the plastic version and $4 for the wood version. And for the least amount of work, in the long run, it’s best to choose vinyl lattice fencing, as there is no need to maintain it, and it works great in all climates.

5. Woven Fence Panels

If you like the natural look of an organic fence, but you’re not too sure about just how rustic raw cut wood is, a great alternative is the woven fence. Dating back to the Neolithic age, this style of fence is popular for its low impact and sustainable design.

Made of willow, hazel, or bamboo reed, the panels can be designed with more space in between the wood to allow more airflow or be more tightly woven for more privacy. These fences last about eight years with no upkeep, though if you want them to last longer than that you can easily treat them with a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine.

They can easily be installed with a hammer and some nails or some simple string. They even are extremely bendable (up to 120 degrees,) meaning you can create circle style fencing with them.

6. Corrugated Metal Panels

Red metal corrugated fence in front of a residential building.

Corrugated metal panels are sheets of metal that are shaped with ridges that give it more strength than a regular sheet. This allows it to help drain water away from it and make it lighter than normal, meaning less upkeep.

Along with being corrugated, these sheets are also galvanized, meaning they are created with special materials, like a coating of zinc, that help it to resist weathering, which can be a big problem with metal fencing.

Overall, corrugated metal panels are created with durability in mind, leading them to have a longer lifespan (around 25-70 years, depending on the quality you purchase.) They also are highly recyclable, which is always a plus.

What’s also great about this option is the fact that 8″ x 4″ panels usually only cost around $10 at your local hardware store.

This means you make your fence on the cheap and if you want to add a splash of color to your metal fencing, all it takes is an acrylic-based paint that is made for exterior use.

7. Iron/Steel Fence

Steel fencing can not only be a sturdy, reliable option when it comes to keeping your home safe, but there’s also so much you can do to make iron look personalized and artistic.

While it can be expensive to purchase and install, and there is maintenance to be done, wrought iron can last up to sixty years or more, making it a lifetime investment.

If you’re just not ready to put all your cash into fencing right now, there are always more affordable options, such as galvanized steel.

8. Artificial Wall Hedges

If you don’t have much of a green thumb, there is always the option of putting up artificial wall hedges. Great for a more natural look, wall hedges can provide a ton of privacy and protection from natural elements, like the wind.

They are relatively inexpensive and can be attached to any type of structure already standing, meaning you can mix it into an already existing fence, or cover it up altogether.

They also last around fifteen years, as they are conditioned to be protected from UV rays.

Artificial wall hedges are created with durability in mind, so they don’t fade from the sun.

A lot of companies that make artificial wall hedges are also very eco-friendly, meaning that they use recycled materials and very few chemicals. The only water required is enough to rinse the occasional dirt off.

For more information on artificial wall hedges, be sure to check out this short video:

9. Decorative Concrete

Gray Decorative concrete fence.

For those looking for the best of the best in terms of design AND security, decorative concrete is a fantastic option.

There are a few options when it comes to decorative concrete, the most known including hollow blocks that became popular after the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright used them to build his textile blockhouses.

Another option for concrete is using precast blocks that are then put together using machinery that can lift them, seeing as they can weigh 250 lbs. for every 9 ft. panel

Concrete can last up to fifty years with very little maintenance.

It also has proven to be more soundproof than any other type of fencing, meaning you can turn up the music just a little louder at your next party.

It’s best to get precast concrete if you’re looking for a specific design that you can put together yourself, saving money in terms of construction and labor.

Find a Style That Fits YOUR Needs

Overall, fencing can be a tough decision to make. Homeowners now have a plethora of options. But with these choices in mind, you’ll have a beautiful, affordable fence that fits your needs in no time.

In the end, it’s all about what kind of yard you like, can afford, and how long you want to keep it that way.

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