This is a guest post written by the folks at Colourfence – for a little more information about them please see their author section at the end of the post.
Maintaining your home and garden is like tuning up your car; a minor hassle, easy to forget, but remembering will pay dividends.
Fencing is one of those key factors. Like many other products, the initial cost can indicate how much maintenance a product will need. Hedges can be cheap or expensive, depending on their stage of growth when you buy them. Metal fencing is expensive but needs very little maintenance, whereas wooden fencing is mid range product which requires regular care.
Hedges vary enormously in price, and can look absolutely fabulous. Purchasing smaller, fast growing hedges can be a good way to minimise initial outlay. However they are living plants and need a lot of care and attention. This includes annual pruning and regular trimming. They require weeding and pest control, and must be planted in the right kind of soil, with proper drainage etc. There’s also a number of tools which need to be rented to keep your hedge looking tip top.
Wooden fences are a good mid range option, but do require a level of maintenance. However, by buying high quality products to protect and finish your wooden fence you can drastically reduce the amount of maintenance required. Depending on the finish that you are looking for, there are a wide range of products available for protecting your fence.
Use a penetrating oil for excellent protection against moisture and UV damage but to maintain and enhance the natural beauty of the wood. Textrol penetrating wood oil is applied wet-on-wet and sits within the wood to protect it so no peeling or flaking. For an even quicker application try Textrol HES which can be applied in a single coat.
For an opaque coloured finish we recommend Solid Colour Stain, which is guaranteed against peeling or flaking for up to 15 years on fencing and requires little maintenance. Available in 34 colours it gives a wide range of possibilities and provides excellent protection against UV damage and moisture problems.
With wood fencing the most important thing to remember is that quality is important. You may think that high end products seems expensive, but for a slightly bigger investment you get reduced maintenance meaning less expense as time goes on. Not to mention a lot of time saved over the years!
Metal fencing is the most expensive option, but also the lowest in terms of maintenance; it also lasts longer. Zincalume steel fencing is a good example; it costs roughly £1500 to fence the average garden, but will last for 25 years with hardly any maintenance. This is ideal for people who are busy, or simply have other interests – whether that’s fixing up an old MG or fiddling about on an iPad. A quick hose down once a year is all it requires. The manufacturers do say that you should avoid painting their fences, but they do come in 4 different colours.
All fencing involves some cost and responsibility. You need to choose the level of maintenance you can live with – and be realistic. There’s no point in planting a beautiful Leylandii box hedge and ignoring it until it threatens to absorb the neighbour’s car. Or putting up a wooden fence and watching it go grey and cracked in the winter.
It’s best to be sensible about what you’re actually going to do rather than what you’d like to do. You may envision lazy Sundays, snipping zen like at fragrant shrubbery. But if you have three kids, a full time job and a dog? Well, that’ll quickly devolve into snatching the shears from your toddler while your neighbour complains about Fido digging up the roses. Wooden fencing makes a nice middle ground with some maintenance but relatively low initial outlay whilst the more expensive metal fencing can be beautiful too – and you can leave it alone without problems.