A high-quality garden fence can make the difference between a gorgeous outdoor space and a lacklustre one. It’s a fantastic privacy measure, as it’ll stop people from being able to see the contents of your garden, and it’ll provide would-be intruders with an obstacle that they might not be able to easily surmount. When you compare the cost of building a fence to that of building a wall, the advantages become still more pressing.
But a timber fence does come with a few downsides, and among these is the need for occasional maintenance. Spare a few hours out of each year to care for the fence, and you’ll provide your fence with a long and happy lifespan – and you’ll help it to make the difference in your garden, both functionally and cosmetically.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you’ll need to do to preserve your fence.
Secure your fence
One of the key disadvantages of a fence panel is that, if it’s exposed to high winds, it can act like a giant sail. It’s lightweight and comes with a huge surface area, and so a sufficiently powerful blast of wind can uproot it from its moorings with relative ease. In order to combat against this, you’ll need to assess your fence’s vulnerability to wind. If it’s going to be a problem, then you’ll want to take additional measures to keep your fence in place. Concrete posts won’t be vulnerable to rotting in the same way that wooden ones are, and so taking the time to install them might be worthwhile. Similarly, you might anchor a wooden post to the earth by digging a small hole around it and filling the space with concrete. This will do two things: it’ll weigh the fence down and prevent it from being lifted up and tossed aside, and it’ll provide a layer of insulation against unwanted moisture that’ll prevent your posts from rotting.
Tidy the ground
Standing water around the bottom of your fence is a sure-fire recipe for rot. In order to prevent this, adequate drainage is crucial. Dig a long channel around the foot of any vulnerable sections, and fill it with gravel. Water will be thereby prevented from pooling around the bottom of the wood and causing rot.
Clean your fence
If your fence is to look its best, it’ll need to be thoroughly cleaned. In order to protect the wood, however, you’ll want to ensure that this is done with a minimum of water. Use a brush and a caustic soap to get any visible blemishes taken care of.
In order to make the task much easier, you might want to take advantage of the tremendous force that a pressure washer can supply. This will save you the hassle of having to scrub away for hours, and it won’t wet your fence to the same extent – particularly if you wash your fence on a warm summer’s afternoon.
Finish your fence
Moisture is something that will reliably destroy your fence and severely compromise its ability to retain its shape. In order to prevent moisture from getting into the wood and causing damage, we apply a layer of finish. This should be done only after the wood has thoroughly dried, as we don’t want to trap excess moisture inside the timber.
Choose between a natural-looking woodstain or oil, or a layer of paint. This is largely a matter of personal preference, though you might want to check with your neighbour before going with something too garish.
A finish can be applied using one of several methods, but a spray-on approach is by far the more effective. You’ll be able to simply stand back and apply your finish in a matter of a few moments – but getting to those hard-to-reach areas tucked behind flowerbeds and garden ornaments might prove a little bit tricky. Get the paintbrush out for those cramped places.
Of course, in order to ensure that your fence is going to last the year, you’ll want to carry out a final inspection. Test the structure of the fence to see that it’ll be able to withstand strong breezes, and check for any signs of rot. If there are any plants or trees whose branches have gotten too close to the fence, then take the time to cut them back.