Best Fencing Materials for Large Yards

A orange colored fence covering a lawn

When you have a big yard or live in a rural area, it can be tricky to see where your yard ends and your neighbor’s yard begins. A new fence is just the thing to mark your property lines, keep unwanted guests out, and add curb appeal. But what are the best fencing materials for large yards?

While your outdoor space gives you the freedom to build almost any kind of fence, some materials are better suited for large properties than others. Consider your budget, landscape, tastes, and needs to find the right fence type for your yard.

Best Fencing Materials for Large Yards

The fence material you choose will impact cost, durability, and maintenance needs. We’ll review the benefits and downsides of some popular materials so you can make the best decision for your large-scale fencing project.

Wooden Fences

A wooden fence of a lush green lawn
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This is one of the most popular fencing materials. Wooden fences are relatively cost-effective, depending on the wood type used. Keeping your fencing affordable is important when you have a lot of land to cover. Natural wood goes with almost everything, but you can also paint it any color you want. Choose from styles such as:

  • Picket fences
  • Privacy fences
  • Semi-privacy fences
  • Rail fences
  • Lattice fences
  • Woven fences

However, these fences need regular maintenance and are vulnerable to the elements and wood-destroying pests like termites. For a longer lifespan, use treated or rot-resistant wood and stain or repaint every couple of years.  

Cost: $14-$31 per linear foot

Vinyl Fences

A white vinyl fence across a boundary of lawn.
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Want a fence that’s easy to maintain? Vinyl fences need less maintenance than wooden fences and come in many of the same styles, such as:

  • Picket fences
  • Privacy fences
  • Semi-privacy fences
  • Lattice fences
  • Rail fences
  • Woven fences
  • Faux wood fences
  • Faux masonry fences

With a long fence line, the time you save with a low-maintenance material adds up. They’re also long-lasting, fire-resistant, and splinter-free to keep kids safe. They come in various colors, as well.

If vinyl fencing has all these advantages, why doesn’t everyone use it instead of wood? Vinyl is more expensive to install than wood, less customizable once manufactured, harder to repair, and not eco-friendly.

Cost: $17-$38 per linear foot

Composite Fences

Are you struggling to choose between vinyl and wood? Composite fencing combines both using recycled materials, making it an excellent eco-friendly option. It’s low-maintenance, long-lasting, and resistant to pests and rot. Composite fences come in many styles, including:

  • Picket fences
  • Privacy fences
  • Semi-privacy fences
  • Lattice fences
  • Rail fences
  • Woven fences
  • Faux wood fences
  • Faux stone fences

Composite fencing tends to be more expensive than wood or vinyl. If cost is a big concern, this may not the fence type for you.

Cost: $26-$57 per linear foot

Masonry Fences

A masonry fence of a lawn
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Want a long-lasting and durable fence? Masonry fencing is a non-traditional option with a lot of character. Choose anything from modern concrete designs to timeless brick or stone creations. Most masonry fences are built for privacy, though you can combine masonry pillars with other fence materials for more design options.

However, their durability is also a downside. Masonry fences are difficult to remove once installed. While they’re relatively maintenance-free, you can’t just pop a new panel in or apply paint to keep them at their best. You’ll need to inspect them annually for moss, mildew, mold, and holes. Masonry fences aren’t the best for earthquake-prone areas as they could crack or collapse.

This type of fence can get expensive quickly, so they’re best for high-budget projects or small installations..

Cost: $10-$80 per square foot

Metal Fences

A metal fence of a beautiful lawn
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You’ve got many options if you want a durable metal fence made of steel, aluminum, or iron. Here are the most common fence types:

  • Aluminum fences
  • Chain-link fences
  • Wire fences
  • Wrought iron fences

Metal fencing is long-lasting and generally low-maintenance. Maintain your fence or get rust-resistant metal to improve its lifespan. Chain-link and wire fences are relatively affordable, but wrought iron and aluminum fences can cost a pretty penny.

While many metal fence styles have high visibility, you can make chain-link fences private with slats. It’s simple to repair chain-link fences, but aluminum and wrought iron fences require the help of a professional fencing company.

Cost: 

  • Aluminum fencing: $19-76 per linear foot
  • Chain-link fencing: $12-$33 per linear foot 
  • Wire fencing: $1-$4 per linear foot
  • Wrought iron fencing: $26-$34 per linear foot

Bamboo Fences

A bamboo fence of a lawn.
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If you want something a little more exciting and unusual, bamboo fencing could be the answer. There are a couple of ways to install your bamboo fence:

  • Grow live bamboo. This method takes time, but the result will be a vibrant living fence. The main downside is that bamboo is hard to control.
  • Use a bamboo fence roll. This is the most common form of bamboo fencing found in stores. Attach the roll to fence posts or put it inside metal frames to create panels. You also can attach it to an existing fence.
  • Install bamboo fence panels. You can either build them from scratch by attaching bamboo to a wooden frame or buy pre-made panels. However, rolls are much easier to find than panels.

Bamboo panels and rolls are relatively inexpensive and easy to install, making them suitable for large spaces. Bamboo fencing provides almost complete privacy, though you may be able to see some shapes, movement, and light through it. Its suitability for security depends on how firm the bamboo is, but many bamboo fences are strong enough to keep a dog inside. Your style options include:

  • Picket fences
  • Privacy fences
  • Semi-privacy fences
  • Lattice fences
  • Rail fences
  • Woven fences

Cost: $3-$6 per linear foot

Living Fences

A living fence of a lawn
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From privacy hedges to shrubs, plants make a beautiful border for any property. With lots of space, you’ll be able to create thick, dense vegetation borders that can block prying eyes and external noises. However, they probably won’t keep animals or children contained. Here are some of the best living fence plants:

  • Boxwood
  • Lilac
  • Forsythia
  • Holly
  • Euonymus
  • “Green giant” arborvitae
  • Yew
  • Weeping willow
  • Juniper
  • Leyland cypress
  • Japanese laurel
  • Cactus

Living fences need the same maintenance as other plants, but they can last much longer than traditional fences if well-cared for. After all, they’ll be there as long as they’re alive. You’ll need to be patient to bring this fence type to life. Combine a living fence with a traditional one for extra privacy and security.

Cost: It depends on the plants used. Visit your local nursery to see what plants suit your project and local climate.

Things to Consider Before Fencing a Large Yard

Still not sure which fence material to choose? You have a lot to think about to make the best decision for your property. Here are some factors you should consider before making such a big investment.

Purpose of the Fence

What’s this fence for, anyway? Are you fencing your property’s perimeter or sectioning off certain areas? Fences can do many things, including:

  • Mark property lines
  • Protect gardens or ornamental plants
  • Create dog runs
  • Add visual interest to your landscaping
  • Provide privacy
  • Secure your property
  • Keep pools safe
  • Contain children, pets, or livestock
  • Reduce noise

Your project type can determine the fence height, material, and color. If you need security, you’ll need a strong material that will keep your loved ones in and trespassers out. If you want a decorative fence, you should choose a material that’s customizable so you can choose the best design and color to complement your yard.

If you need to fence off a small area of your large yard, consider how much space you want that fence to take. Do you have room for a thick fencing type like masonry, or do you want to save space with a thin material like metal?

Your Yard’s Landscaping

The natural state of your property could make fencing more challenging. If your property is sloped, you’ll need materials like wood, aluminum, chain-link, or vinyl that can easily follow the shape of the land. Navigate around or get rid of vegetation and rocks in the path of your future fence. 

Does a creek run through your yard? You’ll need to decide whether your fence will dip into the water, go around it, or pass over it with a gap underneath. Choose materials that can withstand wet conditions. You may need to address drainage issues to protect your fence from excessive moisture.

Let’s not forget your landscaping plans. If you have grand ideas for your yard, plan them before installing a fence. You don’t want to end up with a fence that interferes with your ideal vision.

Your Local Climate

All fencing materials will degrade over time, and those repair costs will add up quickly with the amount of fencing on your property. Consider your local climate, such as precipitation, heat, cold, air salinity, and wind. Here are some guides for choosing fences based on environment:

Durability

Ideally, you shouldn’t have to spend all your time and money maintaining, repairing, or replacing your fence. Besides weather concerns, your barrier also should be capable of withstanding anything else that could harm it. Can it handle playful kids and destructive dogs? What about the steady march of time? Strong and long-lasting materials are a winning combination. 

Ease of Assembly

If you plan to build the fence yourself, it’s essential to choose a fencing material you can handle. Wood and chain-link are doable DIY projects, but pros can best handle masonry and wrought iron. 

Even if you’re hiring a fencing contractor, you still might want to avoid labor-intensive fence types. While you won’t have to spend your time building, those labor costs will still be passed on to you.

Maintenance and Repair Needs

Consider how much maintenance will be required to keep your fence in tip-top shape. For example, wooden fences require cleaning and staining, while vinyl only requires occasional washing. However, you can replace a single wooden picket, while you’d need to replace a whole vinyl panel. 

While all fences naturally deteriorate over time, some do it more quickly than others. Can you do the repairs yourself, or will you need to hire a pro each time?

Budget

You’ll need to stretch your dollar to fence a large area. That means choosing the most cost-effective material for your linear footage. Once you know your must-have features, consider the cost of each material that fits your requirements. 

While many homeowners are willing to trade aesthetics for affordability, you probably shouldn’t bend your other requirements to save cash. It will cost more in the long run if you need to replace a fence that isn’t working out than if you choose a slightly more expensive one in the first place.

Materials like chain-link, wire, and wood are more affordable up-front than vinyl, composite, or masonry. You’ll save money if you can install the fencing yourself. However, you should keep maintenance costs in mind, as well. Buying wood stains and new pickets could add up over time.

FAQ About the Best Fences for Large Yards

What fence materials lasts the longest?

Masonry is the longest-lasting fence type. A well-made masonry fence can last for over 100 years. However, it will require maintenance to stay in good shape.
Want something more affordable and less bulky? Aluminum fences last for 50 years or more. Aluminum chain-link fences are also long-lasting with a 25-year lifespan.
Vinyl fencing can last for 30 years or more. However, poor-quality vinyl could deteriorate earlier than that, especially if exposed to extreme weather conditions.

What fence material is the strongest?

Metal fences are the strongest. They’re long-lasting, difficult to bend or break, and require little maintenance. Their main weakness is rust, which you can control with protective coatings or paint. If you want a rust-resistance metal fence, choose aluminum. However, iron is slightly stronger than aluminum. A chain-link fence set in concrete along the bottom will be the best fence for your dog since it has a strong base to prevent digging.
Vinyl fences are also relatively strong, especially if they have metal posts. They can hold up to everything from high winds to scratching dogs.

What is the most cost-effective fencing material?

Some types of metal fencing are quite affordable. Wire fencing is the most cost-effective fence type. However, a chain-link fence might be better if you need to contain a dog or young children. If you don’t like metal fences, bamboo and wood are your next best options.

How to Start Fencing Your Large Yard

Fence installation is a doable DIY project for many homeowners. You can buy most fence panels, pickets, fence posts, and other supplies at your local home improvement store. It may take a while to install, but you’ll be able to look at your work with pride every time you step outside.

However, some fencing materials are harder to work with. Masonry, iron, and aluminum fences are a pain to assemble. Even simpler fencing materials like wood can be frustrating for inexperienced DIYers. If you’d rather leave it to the pros, get a quote from a local fence contractor so you can weigh your fence material options. 

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Lauren Bryant

Lauren Bryant

Lauren Bryant is a freelance writer based out of Eugene, Oregon, with a B.A. in English and a minor in comics and cartoon studies. She is excitedly awaiting the day when she can grow her own edible garden.