Types of Fence
A solid or close-boarded fence gives complete shelter and privacy, but may be ugly and uninteresting. Usually lengths of boarding about 6 in. wide and ½ to 1 in. thick are used. The pieces are placed close up to each other and nailed on to at least two horizontal rails let into the supporting posts. The bottom rail should be about 2 ft. above ground level and the top rail about 2 ft. from the top of the fence. Both rails should be fairly substantial, about 3 in. deep and 2 in. thick.
Another type of solid fence is made from weatherboards. These are wedge-shaped pieces of wood usually 4-1/2 to 6 in. wide with one edge 3/4 in thick and the other edge tapering to 1/4 in. As these are laid, the thick edge of one piece overlaps by at least 1/2 in. the thin edge of one that has just been fixed.
A more expensive type of solid fence can be made up of tongued and grooved timber. Each piece has a groove cut in one edge and a tongue, or thin strip, sticking out of the other. As the fence is built up, the tongue part of one length of wood is carefully tapped into the groove of the length which has just been fixed. A very effective design or pattern can thus be produced, especially if ‘V-matching’ is used. Small angled cuts are made on the edges of the wood, so that when the pieces have been joined together, a grooved surface is produced.
Even fences of more open design will provide a great deal of privacy and shelter if they are clothed with suitable plants.
An open lattice design can be constructed quite easily and cheaply. Make a strong, square framework of l in. by 1-1/2-in. wood; this framework should be made into convenient lengths about 6 to 8 ft. long if a long fence is under construction. For the lattice, use thin laths of wood about 1 in. by 1/2 in. Nail vertical lengths 8 in. apart to the framework, and then nail horizontal lengths over the vertical strips, again spacing them 8 in. apart. Where several sections have to be made up for a long fence, fasten them to supporting posts of 2-in. square timber let into the ground at 6 to 8 ft. intervals.
Timber of greater thickness can be used to make more effective designs and pieces 3 in. wide and I to lj in. thick are often used. Instead of overlapping the vertical or horizontal pieces, such heavy timber must be crossed with halving joints. They can then be nailed, or preferably glued and screwed together. The size of the lattice squares should be in proportion to the thickness of timber used. An average size is 2 ft. square.
Many interesting fence designs can be produced if different materials or styles of construction are mixed. There are many possible combinations, but here are a few simple ideas:
An 8-ft. long section of either tongued and grooved boarding, or 4-in. wide and 5/8-in. thick butt-jointed timber, followed by a 4- to 6-ft. long section of 3 in. by 1-½-in. thick timber set with the 1-1/2 in. edge facing the garden. Space these pieces of timber vertically and about 9 to 12 in. apart. The complete 12- to 14-ft. Sections should be framed like a picture with wood 4 in. wide and 1-½ in. thick. The height of the completed fence can be anything from 5 to 7 ft.
Another design can be produced in exactly the same way if bamboo poles of at least 1-½ in. diameter are used in place of the 4 in. by 1-½ in. thick timber. The poles can be secured in place with long brass or galvanized screws fixed through the framing wood and into plugged holes in the top and bottom of each pole.
Interwoven panels make excellent fences and screens. They are most attractive and easy to handle. These can be made at home, using strips of 3-in. wide and 3/8-in. thick wood, although ready-made sections are usually obtainable in heights from about 3 ft. to 6 ft. Suitable supporting posts for the sections can also be bought, and capping pieces for the tops of these posts provide a neat finish.
Although most types of interwovenare not completely private, it is possible to purchase certain types that are completely peep-proof. They are, of course, more expensive.
Another type of ready-made fence is wattle, which is similar in construction to basket work and has a charming rustic appearance. Sections 6 ft. long and of various heights are readily obtainable.
Many gardens, especially those in new open-planned estates, have low brick front walls. Sections of low fencing erected on top of these walls give greater privacy and protection.
It is also possible to buy fencing kits in a very wide range of designs. All the parts are cut to length, all necessary joints, holes and slots are accurately cut, and even the nails and screws are provided.