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The Fence Post

5 Unique Styles of Fence

November 14, 2018 | by Duncan Page

Wattle Fence        Lace Fence       Worm Fence        Living Snow Fence        Papercrete Fence  

 

1. Wattle Fence

An Historic Perspective to a Garden Fence

Wattle fences may be one of the oldest types of fencing still in use today. They were used in England long before medieval times. Traditionally the fences are built from straight, slender, flexible suckers or saplings of the willow tree up to 1-1/2" diameter. After the leaves are stripped, the ”withies” are woven between upright wood posts. Willow is an ideal wood because it is pliable and resists splintering. Other species, such as alder, can also be used.

Uses and Benefits

Wattle fences are very strong and long-lasting. Willow posts often take root in the ground creating a living fence, perfect for containing animals and enclosing gardens and orchards. And the density of the fence makes an ideal windbreak.

wattle fence

The rustic, handwoven appearance of a wattle fence adds an attractive defining touch to any yard, garden or landscape. Some possible uses:

  • arches
  • towers
  • trellises
  • plant supports
  • garden accents
  • hurdles or fence panels
  • attractive garden borders to line walkways

Wattle construction is a great way to use trimmings for fence building materials. Instead of burning or destroying branches, use them in a creative way to beautify and add interest to your landscaping. Even though willow is the ideal wood, any type of wood can be used.

2. Lace Fence

Having grown up in a neighborhood where the lawns flowed into one another, when some new folks moved in and put up a stark chain link fence around the perimeter of their property, the neighbors were collectively horrified. Mercifully, they grew ivy on it. 

However, a new type of fencing has been introduced by the Demakersvan design studio in Holland. Called lace fence, it is a combination of chain link fabric and the art of lace making.

lace fence

The design possibilities - from floral themes to contemporary patterns and designs - are infinite. And you can submit your own designs. With this opportunity to customize each job, every lace fence is unique. Chain link fencing, a basic functional fence, can become a decorative and attractive work of art. Imagine coming up with a theme related to the property or space you are defining.

Lace Fence can be woven from both 11 and 12-1/2 gauge wires, either galvanized or vinyl coated. The wire mesh is securely clamped to a tubular frame. There are many different types of locations - both interior and exterior - where Lace Fence is currently in use, including but not limited to:

  • barrier fences in parks and other public areas
  • interior partitions in banks, restaurants, hotels and gyms
  • railing safety mesh on stairways, decks and balconies
  • decorative panels on the facades of commercial buildings
  • safety fences on apartment buildings
  • museum displays

Photograph of Lace Fence at The Design Center at Philadelphia University is used by permission. See this blog article to see more pictures of this unique fencing. 

3. Worm Fence  

Definition:

A fence, zigzag in plan, made of rails resting across one another at an angle - according to the Random House Dictionary.

This style of fencing is also known as Snake Fence, ZigZag Fence and Battlefield Fence - the latter term due to its presence on many Civil War battlefields (see video below). Worm Fence (also known as Virginia Worm fence) has been used in America since the 1600's. Easy to build, split wood rails are stacked on each other to create the fence. The ends of the rails alternate, creating the openings. For stability of the stacked rails, each section of fence is angled from the previous one, giving the appearance of a worm or snake.

worm fence at Gettysburg

sheep may safely graze

No Post Holes and a Rocky Terrain Bonus

No vertical posts are required to build the fence. This both eliminates the need to dig post holes and makes the fence easy to install - a particular advantage in rocky terrain. Sometimes a pair of crossed posts would be used at the junction point of each section. This would allow the fence to be closer to a straight line. With a plentiful supply of wood and ease of construction, it is easy to understand why worm fence was the most common type of fence used in America by the late 1800's. It is gaining popularity today for use as a rustic fence that will add to the appearance of a piece of property and it is used in many outdoor historical museums.

Here's a quick overview of colonial fence styles:

     

4. Living Snow Fence 

Strong winter winds can cause dangerous driving conditions. Not only does blowing snow dramatically reduce visibility but also treacherous drifts can accumulate across roadways and other open unprotected areas.

A Safe, Natural Windbreak

Several states have successful programs in place using living snow fence. The Iowa DOT has been developing and improving theirs for over 40 years. Living snow fencing is a natural barrier created by planting a combination of shrubs, trees, and grasses that act as a windbreak. In Iowa, rows are five feet apart and shrubs are set three feet apart within the row. Plantings are arranged so that the gaps in one row are filled by the plants in the next row.  As the speed of the wind is disrupted and decreased, snow settles among and downwind from the plantings. Research shows that drifts will form downwind 10 to 12 times the height of the trees (100 to 120 feet downwind from a 10 tree). A concentrated and closely spaced placement of trees and shrubs results in shorter and deeper drifts. When positioned properly, living snow fences can greatly reduce the amount of plowing needed to keep roads open for travel. Winter travel is safer.

living snow fence  in winterliving snow fence summe

Some Environmental and Aesthetic Advantages of Snow Fences

There are benefits in addition to safety when living snow fencing is used:

  • Highway beautification is enhanced with native species of plants.
  • Environmental stewardship is promoted.
  • Trees, shrubs and grasses are excellent wildlife habitat all year.
  • Living snow fences slow and reduce erosion.
  • When measured during winter months the temperature of the pavement surface in areas protected by living snow fence were higher than the surface temperature in unprotected areas. In areas with severe cold, this greatly increases the effectiveness of chemicals used to prevent icing.
  • It is no longer necessary to install and remove wood or plastic snow fence. 

5. Papercrete Fence

Ever heard of a fence made out of papercrete? What exactly is papercrete?

This video will show you how to make a 4' by 8' section of fencing - real DIY stuff, folks. A recipe follows--

Papercrete Ingredients--

  • 30 pounds of concrete
  • 18 pounds of joint compound
  • 1 pound of boric acid
  • 90 pounds of newspapers
  • Just add water and you're good to go!

But...would you really want a papercrete fence around your house?

 Original content created by Duncan Page, edited by Joe Morrell

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Topics: lace fence, worm fence, living fence, Wire Coating, vinyl coated

5 Types of Coatings for Wire Fences

June 24, 2016 | by Debbie Page

Coatings: Researching Options

You’re all set to install a wire fence on your property. But what kind of coating will you use on the fencing material? It’s a question a lot of beginners don’t consider, but it’s an important one. The wire coating you use on your fence determines a number of factors, including how long it will last and how it will handle itself against the elements. So what are your options? Here are the basic types of wire coating for fences.Vinyl Coated Fence

  • Class 1 Galvanized – This is the most basic type of coating, used on barbed wire and field fences. The wire is galvanized, by adding a thin, protective layer of zinc. It’s cheap and efficient, but unfortunately not as effective as other types of coating in the long term. Class 1 Galvanized wire fences start to rust quickly. They’ll last a maximum of 11 years, and sometimes as little as 2 years. In a coastal area, where there’s salt water in the air, it can last an even shorter time.
  • Class 3 Galvanized – This is a stronger, longer-lasting zinc coating. Whereas Class 1 wire coating uses 0.28 ounces of zinc per square foot, Class 3 uses a thicker coating of 0.80 ounces per square foot. It costs slightly more than Class 1, but it will last anywhere from 13 to 30 years before it rusts, making it well worth the investment.
  • ZA – A relatively new development, ZA is a Zinc-Aluminum hybrid coating. It uses less coating than Class 3, making it cheaper, but the aluminum prevents rust, so that it still lasts about the same amount of time. The result is a less expensive wire fence that will still last you up to 30 years before it rusts.
  • ZA and Paint – Paint on a fence does more than simply make it look more attractive. After galvanizing the wire with the Zinc-Aluminum coating, it’s painted with black polymer paint, which offers even heavier protection against rust and corrosion. It lasts
    even longer than a Class 3 Galvanized fence and protects against the harshest elements.

Vinyl – Also called PVC or UPVC coating, vinyl is the strongest wire coating of all when it comes to standing up against the elements. A thick, flexible PVC layer is added to the galvanized wire. That way, not only is it rust resistant, it also stands up to extreme temperatures, as well as UV rays and even physical abrasions against the fence. Plus, its flexibility means it won’t crack when the wire is bent. Generally available in either black or green, vinyl is the strongest, most durable, longest lasting wire coating you can buy. 

More Temporary Needs or Harsh Environments?

So which wire coating is best for your fence? It depends on what you need and where you’re located. If your main goal is cutting costs, and the fence only needs to be temporary, then you can probably get away with Class 1 galvanized wire. If you’re looking for something a little stronger, that will last longer and save you money in the long run, go with Class 3 or ZA. If you really want your fence to last a long time, then ZA and Paint is the way to go. And if you live in a coastal area, or one with other harsh elements, and want a reliable, long-lasting wire fence, then you’ll want to go with vinyl coating. Consider your needs and your options carefully. A well-built wire fence with the right coating can last you a lifetime.                                                                                                                               

Download the VC welded wire brochure!AdobeStock_84844237-1 

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Topics: galvanized, Wire Coating, vinyl coated

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