Fences are an important feature of any garden. Not only do they provide security and privacy, but they also work to contribute to the aesthetic appeal of a garden. But if your fence is looking a little worse for wear, you may be thinking that it’s time to replace for new.
However, if you’re on a budget, you may well be looking for a cheaper option that enables you to achieve a secure and attractive fence that doesn’t break the bank.
Contrary to common belief, there are lots of ways to upgrade your garden fence without spending a huge amount of money. If the time has come to take action on your fence, and you’re not quite sure where to start, this blog is here to give you some great ideas on how to save costs on your fence installation in the short and long term
First and foremost, you need to assess your existing fence and establish whether you need a completely new fence, or if you can repair existing elements.
Is your fence leaning, damaged or just old and looking tatty and not complementing your garden landscape? Lots of people choose to replace their fence for many different reasons, but if the reason is damage, some damage may be repairable and therefore you may be able to save significant costs.
A leaning fence may be due to broken or rotten components.
Unfortunately, once rot starts to set in, and timber begins to flake and break, the fence is usually close to the end of its lifespan. However, if the rot has not spread to other parts of the fence, you may be able to revive the fence by replacing individual fence elements such as the posts, the arris rails, gravel boards or panels.
The same goes if there has been some sort of damage to the fence, whether that be from wind or accidental damage.
Thoroughly inspect the entire fence to understand the damage before identifying whether components can be replaced or whether you need to replace the entire installation.
If your fence is in a particularly bad way, with lots of rot and broken components, then it’s likely to be more cost-effective in the long run to replace the entire fence.
If you’re handy with the tools, why not save on labour costs and install the fence yourself?
Many think that installing a fence is far too difficult to attempt. However, with a little know-how, and the right tools and materials, a DIY fence installation is very achievable.
Although it may take longer, you will save significantly on installation costs. Moreover, you can enlist the help of friends or family members to make it a fun project.
Some types of fencing are easier to install than others. For example, a simple post and panel fence is typically much quicker and easier to install compared to a close board fence, which requires a little more patience and time.
You can read our handy guide on how to install a panelled fence here.
When it comes to installing a fence on a budget, there are so many different options to choose from.
Let’s start with the fence posts; which fence posts are the cheapest?
Timber fence posts are typically cheaper than concrete or metal fence posts. They do however need a little more TLC in the form of regular treatment or painting to enhance their resistance to rot and decay.
Naturally, concrete and metal posts are far more resilient, and in the long term may prove to be more cost-effective. However, if you are looking for a cheaper option now, timber fence posts are a great option.
The cheapest posts are typically sawn wooden posts, which are available in a choice of sizes. The sawn posts available at Equestrian Fencing have been pressure-treated, to provide an additional layer of protection against moisture.
If you have decided to install a closeboard fence, you’ll need morticed posts. Again, these are available in both concrete and timber varieties, and of course, the timber-morticed posts come in as a cheaper option.
Depending on how and where you are installing your timber closeboard fence will depend on which type of morticed posts you’ll need. Choose from standard morticed fence posts, morticed wall plates and wooden corner morticed posts. All of our timber-morticed posts have been UC4-treated for additional strength and durability against the elements. Here at Equestrian Fencing, we can also mortice posts specially to match exactly what you already have.
As with all timber fence components, you’ll need to make sure that you regularly treat your timber fence posts. If you’d prefer a lower maintenance option, concrete fence posts may be more suitable for your needs. What’s more, in the long run, you should typically expect these to be more durable and hard-wearing than timber fence posts.
If you’re going for a panelled fence option, traditional larch lap fence panels continue to be one of the cheapest panel options.
Handmade in our workshop, our heavy-duty larch lap fence panels are designed to provide a secure and attractive fence finish. They have also been pressure treated, and are available in multiple heights and widths to suit your needs.
Alternatively, you could choose to install your own closeboard fence. These are available in ready-made closeboard panels or you can opt for the traditional route, installing individual boards to an arris rail which is fixed to a morticed post. The overall cost of the two options will depend on the length of your fence, however, usually, there’s not a huge difference in price.
There are a few things you can do when installing either your panelled or closeboard fence to ensure that your new fence is built to last.
If you don’t sink your posts deep enough into the ground, the whole fence will eventually become unstable. Generally speaking, you should aim to dig a post hole that is at least 600mm and between 200-300mm in diameter.
If you find yourself having to cut any timber, be sure to treat freshly sawn ends with cut end preserve. This will help to protect the timber from water damage, fungus and insects, which can cause rot and decay, and of course fence damage.
Keep panels and boards up and off the ground with a gravel board. Although they may seem like an additional unnecessary cost, you don’t have to spend a fortune on timber gravel boards, and they will help you save costs in the long run.
You see, a timber gravel board stops the bottom of the boards or panels from getting wet and rot spreading. They are far easier, quicker and certainly cheaper to replace compared to a whole panel or a couple of boards, particularly if you use a gravel board bracket.
Be sure to opt for corrosion-resistant galvanised nails or organic-coated decking screws, which are great for fixing panels without splitting. Using incorrect fixtures can lead to corrosion which can eventually cause components to become loose and the fence to wobble, making it more vulnerable on gusty days.
Just as the bottom of the fence should be protected from moisture, as should the top of the fence. Most fence panels already have some sort of system in place as part of their aesthetic finish, however, if you’re installing a closeboard fence, opting for some capping and counter rails is certainly a good choice. What’s more, they provide a clean and tidy finish.
Once you’ve installed your new fence, don’t be tricked into thinking that you don’t need to do anything for the next 20 years.
Fences need to be looked after.
We’re definitely not talking about lots of maintenance, but every 6-12 months, it’s well worth putting some time aside to keep your fence looking great, structurally strong and cost-effective in the long term.
Here are a few things you can do to maintain your fence:
Every 6 months: Remove any weeds or vegetation that may be leaning or growing up your fence. Dust off any dirt or moss buildup. Check for wind or accidental damage.
Every year to two years: Treat your fence or give it a lick of paint. Replace any screws that have become loose.
Every 5-7 years: Replace gravel boards that have become rotten or unstable.
Here at Equestrian Fencing, we have a wide range of fencing products to suit all budgets. Whether you’re looking to replace your entire fence or are in need of replacement fence components and essentials needed to repair your fence, find everything you need here.