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How Much Does It Cost to Fence a Yard?

May 25, 2020

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There are many reasons to fence a yard. 

  • Privacy
  • Security
  • Keeping animals
  • Landscape Design

Each of these can require a different style of fence and may involve different materials.  The cost to fence a yard can range from $1,500 for a wooden privacy fence around an average backyard, to multiple thousands of dollars to fence a large estate. 

The Cost Factors

The cost to fence a yard varies based on several factors.  Before you begin a fence project, you should have some idea of how these cost factors will affect the budget for your fencing project.

  • The project itself – You need to have a grasp of what your fencing project required.  Are you fencing your urban backyard for privacy?  Is the fence intended as a decorative element in your front lawn?  Are you seeking serious security for your home?  These are all factors that figure into the decision on the other factors listed below.
  • Materials – The material from which you build your fence may be the largest cost factor in the project.  The cost of material per foot of fencing required can run from as little as $7 per foot for a simple wire fence to nearly $50 per foot for wrought iron.
  • Length of the fence – The size of the area you want to fence is a significant consideration.  Fencing a standard suburban house usually involves a matter of feet of fence.  If you are considering fencing an acre or more, the cost for some types of fencing material may become prohibitive.  Typically, lots of an acre cost between $1,000 and $10,000 to fence depending on the style and materials selected
  •  The complexity of the design – The cheapest fences to build has the straightest lines, the fewest corners, and no extra features.  Odd shapes, highly contoured terrain, and gates all add to the cost of the fence no matter what material or style of fence you select.
  • Labor – If you are getting a quote from a fencing contractor, the estimate will include the labor cost involved in installing the fence.  If you are doing the job yourself, will you need to hire sub-contractors or laborers to assist you?  Labor costs and sub-contractors can drive up the overall budget dramatically.
  • Fees, permits, and other charges – Many cities require permits before you can install fencing.  Some homeowner's associations also have requirements that must be met before you can start the project.  Do you have a vehicle that can transport large amounts of fencing material, or will you pay delivery charges?  These are all costs that can affect the final cost per foot to fence your yard.

The Actual Cost of Different Material

Since the cost of the material to build your fence are likely to be the largest contributor to the overall expense of fencing your yard, it makes sense to look at the various types of fence material, the average cost of those materials, and what features each of those materials brings to a fencing project.  Depending on your plans, you may find that several types of fencing may be appropriate, giving you a range of options that fit within your budget.

Chain-Link Fencing

Chain-link fencing is durable, secure, and provides excellent fencing where privacy is not an issue.  Chain link material is available in heights of four-foot, six-foot, and eight-foot suitable for a home fence.  The woven galvanized fence material is generally attached to metal posts.  Some companies offer a vinyl-coated chain-link fence material that makes the fence a bit more visually appealing.

Costs for a chain-link fence can run from $15 per linear foot to $35 dollars per linear foot depending on the height and size of the material you select. 

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Relatively quick and easy to install
  • Durable
  • Very secure

Cons

  • Not as attractive as other styles of fence
  • May rust
  • There is no privacy provided with this style of fence.

Corrugated Metal Fencing

Many homeowners are opting for a newer style of fencing.  Corrugated construction metal can be had in a wide variety of styles and colors, allowing you to make your fence distinctive.   Corrugated building material typically comes in several thicknesses and different types of finish.  Choosing from these options can be as confusing as anything.

Corrugated metal building material is usually fastened to a network of posts and metal stringers using self-tapping sheet metal screws.  The construction of the support structure can be a challenge as it often involved cutting and welding metal c-channel beams.  Unless you are a skilled welder, a do-it-yourself metal fence project may be out of the scope of your skills.

The cost to build a corrugated metal fence can run from $30 to $50 per linear foot, not counting any gates or other options selected for the fence.

Pros

  •         Extremely durable
  •         Available in many colors and styles of material
  •         Offers great security depending on the height of the fence
  •         Moderately priced

Cons

  •         Requires special skills and tools to construct
  •         Can be noisy

Wood Privacy Fencing

Wood Privacy fencing is probably the most popular fence style used on suburban homes today.  The wide range of styles, treatments, and materials allows a homeowner to create a budget fence that will keep in pets and children or a visual masterpiece that can become the foundation of a stunning landscape.

Options of materials range from pine to tropical hardwoods, and designs are limited only by your imagination and your budget.  Wood is easy to work with, and wood fencing for your yard can be easily installed with tools that most home do-it-yourselfers already possess. 

When choosing the wood for your yard, consider several factors. 

  •         To how much moisture will the fence be exposed?
  •         Do you have a problem with ground-based wood-eating insects such as termites or carpenter ants?
  •         Do you want to stain or paint the fence once it is installed?

Overall, cedar is the most popular choice for wood fencing.  Cedar is naturally rot and insect resistant.  It also takes stain and paints well if those are in your plan.

Wood fencing has a wide range of costs that run from $13 per linear foot to over $25 per linear foot.

Pros

  •         Can be designed to give great privacy
  •         Versatile and relatively easy to install
  •         Unlimited design options
  •         Can be stained, painted, or left to naturally age

Cons

  •         Depending on the complexity of your design, wood can be expensive
  •         Any type of wood fence will need annual maintenance and upkeep
  •         No as secure as some other types of fencing

Vinyl Fencing

One of the newest options in the fencing market is vinyl.  This material is derived from PVC.  The PVC materials are mixed with UV inhibitors to give the plastic longer life in the sun and other elements to increase its durability and strength.  Vinyl fencing offers almost all the benefits of wood without many of the downsides.

Vinyl materials can be easily worked with standard woodworking tools.  In addition, vinyl doesn’t twist, bend or warp, nor does it rot or split after exposure to the elements for long periods of time.  Unlike metal fencing, vinyl materials won’t rust or corrode.

Depending on the style of vinyl fence you want to put around your yard, the cost per linear foot can run from $8 to $35.

Pros

  •         Strong and durable
  •         Easy to work and install
  •         Makes great privacy fence
  •         Relatively low cost

Cons

  •         Doesn’t provide a lot of security

Wood Picket Fencing

If you are looking for a decorative fence to enhance your landscape and home, a picket fence is an option.  The concept of the home with a beautiful front yard framed by a white picket fence is the very picture of the American dream.  Picket fence panels can be found in almost any material you chose, including wood and vinyl.

Installing picket fence panels is a job well within the skill range of most home do-it-yourselfers.  Typically, the fence panels attach simply too upright posts set at intervals.  Some slide down over 4x4 posts and others attach to metal pipe or posts that can be driven into the ground.

Wood and vinyl picket fence panels come in a variety of styles, heights, and lengths and usually have options for gates and decorative post tops or corner posts.  The cost for picket fence panels runs from $10 per linear foot to $25.

Pros

  •         Vinyl panels are durable and long-lasting
  •         Easy to install
  •         The wide variety of styles and heights gives you choices in the look you want
  •         Visually appealing and can add value to your home

Cons

  •         Wood panels still need regular maintenance
  •         No privacy or security

Aluminum Fencing

An alternative to wood or vinyl picket fence for a front yard is an aluminum rail fence.  These fence panels can add a distinctive look to your property, mimicking wrought iron in many aspects.  Aluminum rail fence panels come in many sizes, heights, lengths, and colors.  You can certainly add a very distinctive flavor to your home and landscape with an aluminum rail fence.

Since most aluminum rail fencing is pre-built into panels, once the upright posts are set at the proper spacing, the installation is a simple place and bolt system.  The placement of the uprights is critical to ensure that the panels fit correctly and are level along the line of the fence.  This can be a challenge for some do-it-yourselfers but is not insurmountable.

Based on the style, height, and finish you chose for your aluminum rail fence, the cost to fence your yard can run from $24 to $50 per linear foot.

Pros

  •         Much lighter than wrought iron or wood of a comparable size
  •         Relatively economical
  •         Can offer a minimum level of security
  •         Particularly useful in creating an appealing landscape

Cons

  •         Lacks durability when compared to wrought iron fencing
  •         May rust
  •         Offers no privacy

Wrought Iron

If elegant and classy is one of your priorities for your fencing, then wrought iron is your obvious choice.  Long the pick of homeowners to add a flair of elegance to the front of their property, wrought iron fencing can also be a serious security method if that is also a concern.  Good perimeter security with a visually appealing style is a big selling point for wrought iron.

Wrought iron comes in two forms.  Most wrought-iron panels available today are molded by pouring liquid iron into molds.   This is a quick and relatively cheap method of manufacturing an iron fence panel.  If you want something special or unique, you can investigate having hand-forged wrought iron fence panels created but be prepared for the budget shock.

Standard commercially produced wrought iron fence panels can run from $24 to $44 per linear foot.  If you want hand-forged custom wrought iron panels, you can expect to pay as much as $300 per linear foot.

Pros

  •         Probably the most durable and sturdy of all the fencing materials
  •         Attractive and elegant
  •         Little maintenance once the fencing is installed
  •         In taller heights and fitted with decorative pointed tops, wrought iron fencing can be an excellent security fence.

Cons

  •         Heavy and difficult to work with.  Requires some special tools and skills to install properly
  •         Expensive, especially if you opt for custom work.

Brick or Stone Fencing

Brick or stone fencing is another beast altogether.  Most brick and stone fencing are out of the skill set of most homeowner do-it-yourselfers and requires trained and skilled craftsmen to build.  Installing a brick or stone fence requires not just the stone or brickwork, but also preparing footings that will properly support the weight of the fence. 

Brick or stone is often combined with wrought iron to create security fences for the perimeter of some properties, which adds to the complexity of the job.  Pricing for stone and brick fencing is also different than most other fence types.  Typical residential fencing is usually priced by the linear foot of fencing required with additional costs added for gates or other special features.   Stone or brick fencing is typically priced by the square foot of fencing to be installed.

With pricing on stone or brick fencing running anywhere from $7 to $20 per square foot of fencing can quickly make a fencing project an expensive undertaking.  A typical brick fence, six feet tall, and 10 feet in length can cost as much as $1,200 or $120 dollars per linear foot.

Pros

  •         Attractive and durable
  •         Low Maintenance
  •         Offers great security and privacy
  •         When combined with wrought iron, creates an elegant visual look

Cons

  •         Expensive
  •         Requires special skills and tools

The Final Take

Depending on your needs and desires, you can find a mix of materials, styles, and cost to fence your yard that will meet those criteria.   Having a good plan with your objectives identified can help you ensure that your finished fence project will meet your expectations.  I hope that this guide to the cost of fencing your yard is helpful and gets you started down the project path towards a successful and rewarding experience.

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