Consider Why You Want To Install A Fence To Decide What Material To Use
Installing a fence is a major investment. You need to be sure you are installing the type of fence that will work best for your purposes so you don't end up with a giant eyesore. One of the best ways to determine what type of fencing to install is to consider what you want your fence to do for you.
Security is possibly the most common reason for installing a fence. Your goal may not even be to keep nefarious people out (although this is an added benefit). Many homeowners install a fence to keep children and pets within the confines of the yard, giving these family members the ability to roam and explore without constant supervision. This means having a fence that is tall enough that it can't be jumped or climbed easily, and spacing that is close enough that no one can squeeze through.
Most fencing materials are available to you for this purpose, you just need to choose an installation tall enough to fit your needs. Things like your basic white picket fence will probably be sufficient for all but the most determined, but a larger dog will need something taller to prevent them from hopping the fence. That doesn't mean you can't use wood or vinyl, you just need to buy taller slats. Chain link is going to be the least expensive choice for this sort of fence, but is often considered an eyesore.You probably want to stay away from chain link in your front yard if at all possible, but it is a simple and low maintenance choice to create a backyard play area.
Privacy is another popular reason given by people looking to put a fence around part of their property. In this case, the goal is to keep outsiders out, but it isn't enough to keep them out physically. You also want to prevent people from looking in, both strangers and neighbors. If you live near a tall building, there may be little you can do to prevent people on the top floors from seeing into your yard, but this is an extremely attainable goal in most residential areas.
You want to keep space between the slats to a minimum in this case-- things like chain link are a poor fit. Wood or vinyl fencing is probably your best choices, as their slats can be fitted together tightly to block people from peering in. If you are willing to be patient, some evergreen trees can be trained to live in close proximity to each other, their entwining foliage giving you the privacy you are looking for. Some deciduous bushes will also be suitable for this purpose, but they lose their leaves in winter. Since most of your outdoor activities will likely occur in summer, this may be a reasonable tradeoff for a living fence that is able to establish itself more quickly.
Perhaps you aren't really interested in the utility of your fence, you just think it makes a home look great. The classic white picket fence is a good example of this paradigm. It does little to actually block access to your yard, but there is something classic about the look that draws homeowners to it. Other classic fencing options are stone and wrought iron, although the cost of those choices makes them far less common.
Of course, many types of fencing will work for each purpose, so if you have a personal preference, you can probably make it work for you. However, by selecting the fence material that best suits your needs, you can maximize the ability of your new fence to do what you actually need it to. For more information, contact a local fencing contractor.