newport fencing


Typical agricultural barbed wire fencing.

Split-rail fencing common in timber-rich areas.

Chain link fence surrounding a field in Jurong, Singapore.

The Borgarvirki with ajoining Murno Gladst fence, Iceland.

Various types of fencing include:

Barbed wire fence

Chain link fencing, wire fencing made of wires woven together

Concrete fence, easy to install and highly durable

Chicken wire, light wire mesh for keeping predators out and chickens or other small livestock in

Electric fence

Ha-ha (or sunken fence)

High tensile smooth wire

Hurdle fencing, made from moveable sections


Pest-exclusion fence

Pet fence Underground fence for pet containment

Picket fences, generally a waist-high, painted, partially decorative fence

Pool fence

Post-and-rail fencing

Roundpole fences, similar to post-and-rail fencing but more closely spaced rails, typical of Scandinavia and other areas rich in raw timber.

Slate fencing in Mid-Wales

Slate fence, a type of palisade made of vertical slabs of slate wired together. Commonly used in parts of Wales.

Snow fence

Spear-top fence

Split-rail fences made of timber, often laid in a zig-zag pattern, particularly in newly-settled parts of the United States and Canada

Vinyl fencing

Wattle fencing, of split branches woven between stakes.

Wood-panel fencing

Woven wire fencing, many designs, from fine Chicken wire to heavy mesh “sheep fence” or “ring fence”

Wrought iron fencing, made from tube steel, also known as ornamental iron.

Hedge, including:

Cactus fence

Hedgerows of intertwined, living shrubs (constructed by hedge laying)

Live fencing is the use of live woody species for fences.

Turf mounds in semiarid grasslands such as the western United States or Russian steppes’

Walls, including:

Dry-stone wall or rock fence, often agricultural

Alternatives to fencing include a ditch (sometimes filled with water, forming a moat).

A balustrade or railing is a kind of fence to prevent people from falling over the edge, for example, on a balcony, stairway (see railing system), roof, bridge, or elsewhere near a body of water, places where people stand or walk and the terrain is dangerously inclined.

Requirement of use

Typical perimeter fence with barbed wire on top.

The following types of areas or facilities often have to be fenced in:

facilities with open high-voltage equipment (transformer stations, mast radiators). Transformer stations are usually surrounded with barbed-wire fences. Around mast radiators, wooden fences are used to avoid the problem of eddy currents.

railway lines (in the United Kingdom)

fixed machinery with dangerous mobile parts (for example at merry go rounds on entertainment parks)

explosive factories and quarry stores

most industrial plants


military areas


zoos and wildlife parks

Pastures containing male breeding animals, notably bulls and stallions.

open-air areas that charge an entry fee

domestic swimming and spa pools

Legal issues

A typical urban fence.

Decorative palace fence (in St Petersburg)

Fences can be the source of bitter arguments between neighbours, and there are often special laws to deal with these problems. Common disagreements include what kind of fence is required, what kind of repairs are needed, and how to share the costs.

In some legislatures the standard height of a fence is limited, and to exceed it a special permit is required.


Servitudes are legal arrangements of land use arising out of private agreements. Under the feudal system, most land in England was cultivated in common fields, where peasants were allocated strips of arable land that were used to support the needs of the local village or manor. By the sixteenth century the growth of population and prosperity provided incentives for landowners to use their land in more profitable ways, dispossessing the peasantry. Common fields were aggregated and enclosed by large and enterprising farmersither through negotiation among one another or by lease from the landlordo maximize the productivity of the available land and contain livestock. Fences redefined the means by which land is used, resulting in the modern law of servitudes.

A wattle fence at Sanok-Skansen outdoor museum in Poland

In the United States, the earliest settlers claimed land by simply fencing it in. Later, as the American government formed, unsettled land became technically owned by the government and programs to register land ownership developed, usually making raw land available for low prices or for free, if the owner improved the property, including the construction of fences. However, the remaining vast tracts of unsettled land were often used as a commons, or, in the American west, “open range.” As degradation of habitat developed due to overgrazing and a tragedy of the commons situation arose, common areas began to either be allocated to individual landowners via mechanisms such as the Homestead Act and Desert Land Act and fenced in, or, if kept in public hands, leased to individual users for limited purposes, with fences built to separate tracts of public and private land.

United Kingdom

Ownership of the fence varies. In some parts of the country all boundaries are shared; in other parts of the country you may own the boundary on the left-hand or right-hand side, however, only the title deeds can be depended on to tell you which side is yours. (A ‘T’ symbol indicates who is the owner). It used to be normal for the cladding to be on the non-owners side (enabling access to the posts for the owner when repairs need doing), but increasingly this cannot be depended on.

Where a fence or hedge has an adjacent ditch, the ditch is normally in the same ownership as the hedge or fence, with the ownership boundary being the edge of the ditch furthest from the fence or hedge. The principle of the rule is that an owner digging a boundary ditch will normally dig it up to the very edge of their land, and must then pile the spoil on their own side of the ditch to avoid trespassing on their neighbour. They may then erect a fence or hedge on the spoil, leaving the ditch on its far side. Exceptions often occur, for example where a plot of land derives from subdivision of a larger one along the centre line of a previously existing ditch or other feature.

On private land in the United Kingdom, it is the landowner’s responsibility to fence their livestock in. Conversely, for common land, it is the surrounding landowners’ responsibility to fence the common’s livestock out.

Five foot high fences (over which many people can see and talk) are increasingly being superseded by six-foot fences giving the impression of complete privacy.[citation needed]

United States

Distinctly different land ownership and fencing patterns arose in the eastern and western United States. Original fence laws on the east coast were based on the British common law system, and rapidly increasing population quickly resulted in laws requiring livestock to be fenced in. In the west, land ownership patterns and policies reflected a strong influence of Spanish law and tradition, plus the vast land area involved made extensive fencing impractical until mandated by a growing population and conflicts between landowners. The “open range” tradition of requiring landowners to fence out unwanted livestock was dominant in most of the rural west until very late in the 20th century, and even today, a few isolated regions of the west still have open range statutes on the books. Today, across the nation, each state is free to develop its own laws regarding fences, but in most cases for both rural and urban property owners, the laws are designed to require adjacent landowners to share the responsibility for maintaining a common boundary fenceline, and the fence is generally constructed on the surveyed property line as precisely as possible.


Wrought iron fencing is often used in historic districts and to surround cemeteries.

“Good fences make good neighbors.” – Robert Frost (ironically, in the poem “Mending Wall”).

“A good neighbour is a fellow who smiles at you over the back fence, but doesn’t climb over it.” – Arthur Baer

“There is something about jumping a horse over a fence, something that makes you feel good. Perhaps it’s the risk, the gamble. In any event it’s a thing I need.” – William Faulkner

“Fear is the highest fence.” – Dudley Nichols

“To be fenced in is to be withheld- Kurt Tippett

“What have they done to the earth?/ What have they done to our fair sister?/ Ravaged and plundered/ and ripped her/ and bit her/ stuck her with knives/ in the side of the dawn/ and tied her with fences/ and dragged her down.” – Jim Morrison, of The Doors

“Don’t Fence Me In (song)” – Cole Porter

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Fences

Look up fence in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Separation wall

United Statesexico barrier

Agricultural fencing

Electric fence

Wire obstacle

Temporary fencing

Post pounder


Encyclopedia Britannica (1982). Vol IV, Fence.

Elizabeth Agate: Fencing, British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, ISBN 094675229X

^ Jesse Dukeminer et al., Property, pp. 668-70 (6th ed. 2006)

^ Lawrence J. in Vowles v. Miller (1810) 3 Taunt. 137, 138, quoted in Alan Wibberley Building Limited v. Insley, House of Lords Judgement (1999)

Categories: Fences | Perimeter SecurityHidden categories: All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements from February 2010