Choosing the Right Fence: Form vs. Function

Choosing the Right Fence: Form vs. Function

Back in the day, selecting a fence was all about function. The primary purpose for it   was to keep the dog in and unwanted pests out, so chain-link fences made of galvanised wire was enough for most homes. Today, neighbourhoods are lined with decorative fencing that reflects the unique personality of each homeowner. Fences not only meet their functional needs but enhance the aesthetic appeal of the home as well.

How do you balance form and function in choosing the right fence?

Choosing the Right Fence: Form vs. Function - Fence

Determine the basics

Before you choose a fence, determine why you need to install one. You might need fencing for the following purposes:

  • Providing safety and security
  • Covering an unsightly view
  • Ensuring privacy
  • Keeping children and pets inside
  • Enclosing pools or tennis courts
  • Reducing outdoor noise
  • Improving the look of your property
  • Marking a boundary
  • Creating a garden wall
  • Defining spaces for certain activities
Choosing the Right Fence: Form vs. Function - Fence

How to choose the right fence design

The next step is to study the topography of your property and the current style of your home. These are crucial factors in choosing the best fencing for your situation.

Complement your style

Architectural styles in Australia include Old Colonial, Georgina, Tuscan, Brick Federation, and Contemporary. Your fence must complement the style of your home.

Stand out or blend in

Decide if you want your fence to stand out or blend in with its surroundings. Specific styles and colours can help create a blending look for your fence or make it a backdrop to highlight other features on your lawn.

Choosing the Right Fence: Form vs. Function - Fence

Glass or aluminium pool fence

There are plenty of options for enclosing your pool. Glass, powder-coated aluminium, mesh, palisade, and wood are all quite popular. Glass is excellent for landscaped pools if you want to achieve a seamless look while maintaining a safe barrier.

Fence styling

There are three main styles of front fencing: picket fence, paling fence, and slat fence.

The visual pattern of a picket fence gives your property a quaint and homey feel. Picket fences are also extremely popular because they are easy to install and maintain.

Paling fences also feature vertical timber panels but do not have spaces in between. The solid design translates to increased protection, privacy, and durability.

Slat fences are like picket fences except the panels are horizontal instead of vertical. These are also easy to build and install. They provide more privacy and durability than picket fences and allow more air flow compared to paling fences.

Choosing the Right Fence: Form vs. Function - Fence

Landscape features

Fencing may be sloped, stepped or level – depending on the landscaping shape of your property.

Gate design

If you are installing a gate, convenience should be a prime consideration when picking the location. The size of the posts and the gate itself should be appropriate for your fencing style. When choosing a design, you can opt for a gate that matches the fence or one that provides contrast.

Timber vs. Colorbond® material

Timber fences are a timeless classic while Colorbond® fencing adds a modern touch with designer colours, crisp lines, and a solid form.

Colorbond® fences are built with galvanised steel and a baked-on powder finish that is non-combustible, termite-resistant, and able to last a long time without cracking, peeling, or chipping.

Treated pine fences are extremely durable – some lasting over 25 years! They are able to withstand harsh weather and repel termites.

Both timber and Colorbond® fences are easy to maintain as long as they are installed correctly.

You should consult your local council by-laws before looking for a fence. There are specific regulations on height, materials, and distances from neighbours or pavements. You could face fines if your fence violates these rules. If you are hiring a contractor to install your fence, ask for proof of compliance with Australian Standards to ensure the safety of your household.


"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.