Gone of the days of the warm balmy summer evenings. The leaves have fallen from the trees and scattering the ground below with a confetti glaze of autumnal colours. The nights are drawing in, the air is chilly and naturally, compared to just a few months ago, we’re spending more time wrapped up indoors than in our gardens.
It can be difficult at this time of year to find the motivation to get out into the garden and do those all-important odd jobs that keep your outside space looking great all year round.
But with the winter season, comes the rain. And the wind. And the frost. And, if we’re lucky enough, maybe even a snow day or two! It’s often at this time of year that our gardens really do endure the most weathering. And more often than not, it’s our fences that take the biggest hit! Now is a great time of year to complete a fencing project.
Fences are a key feature of any garden, big or small, that serves both visual and practical purposes. They are there to define your property line and enclose your outdoor space, working to keep intruders out, and pets and children in, whilst creating some level of privacy between you and your neighbours.
But they have a lot to contend with. Whilst proper installation and long-term maintenance of your fence will upkeep its structural and visual appearance for longer, fences are made from natural materials, which over time weather and start to break down.
During the winter months, the bottom of a fence is susceptible to more ground moisture and icy conditions, and when the wind picks up, they act as windbreakers through the neighbourhood.
Add in a few knocks and hits from the occasional football, claws, paws and scratch post sessions from your or your neighbour’s pets in addition to the growth of the surrounding plant, shrub and tree roots pushing up from underneath or around the fence, it’s no wonder that fences inevitably don’t last forever.
If it’s been several years since you’ve replenished your fence installation, you may be starting to notice the long-term wear and tear. And, if your fence is looking a little worse for wear, then the approaching winter season is likely to do your damaged or dilapidated fence no favours.
So, is it time for a change-up? If you’re not sure whether it’s time to upgrade your fence or leave it for another season, consider these 6 signs that it’s time to replace your fence.
Rotting is one of the first signs that it’s the beginning of the end of your fence or part of your fence. When wood starts to rot, it’s an irreversible process.
You can stall the rate that your timber fence starts the rotting process by ensuring that you treat the timber regularly or by using concrete fence posts, rather than timber fence posts. Gravel boards and fence posts caps will also help to protect the bottom and top of your fence from moisture damage, which is a key culprit for inducing the rotting process.
But if it’s too late for that, then you may have missed the bus on preventing fence panel and post rot.
What do you need to look for?
When carrying out a visual inspection of your fence, keep an eye out for any timber that is particularly soggy, crumbling away or hollow to the touch. Look at all elements of the fence installation, including the posts and panels.
If you leave a fence to rot, not only does it become an eye-sore, but the rot will spread through to the rest of the fence. By catching rot early, you may be able to replace the rotting elements. However, if it is widespread throughout the entire fence, it’s time to consider replacing your fence.
A leaning fence is a good indication that your fence is showing the effects of weathering. It demonstrates that it’s starting to lose or has lost its structural integrity. More often than not this is caused by wind damage, however, if the posts are starting to rot and crumble, a fence quickly becomes more susceptible to leaning during windy conditions.
Not only does a leaning fence ruin the appearance and design of your garden, but it can become a nuisance to your neighbours. What’s more, it indicates to potential intruders that your garden isn’t overly secure.
However without proper intervention, in the long run, it’s likely that you’re simply masking a longer-term issue.
So, what’re the best things to do with a leaning fence?
Carry out a visual inspection. Check for rotting and clear signs of damage, both above and below the ground. If you can see that the timber is broken and beyond repair, it’s likely that it’s time to consider installing a new fence. Panels may have also become loose. Depending on the condition of your posts, you may be able to readjust and repair panels.
However, if you can replace the damaged elements such as the posts, gravel boards or rusty screws, it may be worth salvaging your existing fence.
Changes in timber colour and texture are normal and very natural. In fact, many prefer the colour of timber once they have had time to weather.
Over time, that fresh-cut look begins to fade and the tones and colours of many timber products, including fence panels and posts, will turn to a silvery, grey colour.
Whilst this discolouring process can be slowed down with fence treatments and painting, if you’ve lost touch with maintaining your fence, over the change in seasons and temperatures, the discolouration will begin to become more apparent.
Sun exposure and changes in seasonal temperature will cause any paintwork to fade and peel if left unmaintained. This is when many people find that their fence becomes an eyesore.
If this sounds like your fence, it’s probably time to think about replacing your old fence for new. Make sure that you stay on top of regular treatments or painting, cleaning and de-weeding, to enhance the longevity of your new fence.
Fences can become damaged for a wide range of reasons. Pets, footballs and wind tend to be the main culprits for fence damage. But, in reality, there are countless reasons why fences may show signs of visual damage.
Such damage may include broken panels, frayed fence posts, loose or rusty nails and screws, broken feather board or even stains caused by nearby BBQs and spillages.
Whilst a broken fence isn’t exactly the most visually appealing thing to look at, you should be more concerned with whether the damaged fence is causing an injury to those living or visiting your household.
Keep an eye out for sharp, spikey loose fence timber and screws that could be trodden on, caught on clothes or swallowed by pets.
If your fence is showing lots of irreparable signs of physical damage, now is the time to think about replacing your fencing installation.
Let’s be honest, even though it’s not through want of trying, things within our homes and gardens become past the point of repair, and fences are no exception.
We understand that replacing your garden fence requires some financial and time investment which can often be the reason why we put fence replacement on the back burner.
But, if you’re constantly repairing or replacing parts of your fence, in the long term, this is a cost and time commitment that will add up.
It may make more financial sense at this point to invest in a new fence, rather than constantly fixing and maintaining your existing fence.
Many people think that buying a new fence has to be costly. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are so many different types of domestic fencing products available, so choosing something that works with your budget isn’t unachievable.
If you’re looking to replace a fence on a budget, consider fence panels. They are available in a range of sizes and styles and are far easier to install than a traditional close board fence, meaning that you can install them yourself.
For that reason, opting for fence panels is also a great way to save on costs associated with new fence installation. You can also choose between concrete, wooden or metal fence posts to complete your fencing project.
Are you planning a landscaping project or redesigning your garden? When giving your garden a new look, it’s important to consider how your fence will add to and complement the aesthetic appearance of your outside space.
It would seem pointless to invest time, money and effort into making your garden into your dream space and to miss the fence out of the overall design. Plus, a new fence is one of the best features to change if you want to give your garden a facelift. And, even if you’re garden fence doesn’t need replacing due to damage or rot, sometimes you simply outgrow the look and design of your fence.
You can choose styles that work with your garden design. For example, if you want to create a natural look and feel, with lots of greenery and colourful plants, you may wish to opt for a lattice top fence, to support the growth of climbing plants.
Or, it may be the front of your garden that you’re giving a little revamp. Quite often, homeowners look for fencing products that do not restrict their view. Picket fencing is a great choice as a way of creating a boundary around the front of your property whilst enabling a view in and out of your garden.