The greener side of fences

In simpler times past, the only important thing about a fence was whether it was tall enough, long enough and sturdy enough.

With our expanding eco-consciousness, however, we are coming to realise that the materials we have been using to build our fences aren’t always best friends to the environment. Non-recycled metal uses a lot of energy to manufacture and unless wood has been recycled, chances are it has contributed to tree-logging problems across the world. On top of that, commercially sold wood is often treated with chemicals to prevent decay and keep insects away.

The good news is that there is a growing range of eco-friendly fencing materials that more than hold their own. Of the alternatives available, each offers a different look and feel, but it is a start to get you on some research into what type of fence would best suit your home.

Brushing up
Made from the small straight stems of the broad-leaved ti-tree plant, brush fences are aesthetically pleasing and relatively easy to fit to your surroundings. The ti-tree stems are often left in their natural state and combined with painted plinths and cappings.

Flavours of the orient
Bamboo shoots bound together make exceptional fences, noted for their sustainability, easy installation, durability and pleasing appearance. A lot of available bamboo is imported from overseas, so if you’ve got the shoots in your sights, try to source some from an Australian harvester.

On the way back around
Fences made from recycled fibres like plastics, wood and wheat straw, are becoming more common, creating a fence that has the appearance of wood, but without needing the preservatives and maintenance.

Lumber support
Apart from being environmentally friendly, reclaimed wood will often be stronger than newer woods available on the market today.

Hedging your bets
If you don’t have a dog to keep within the yard, thick plants grown around a frame are a great way to obscure the view from the outside, giving you some privacy with a living, natural fence. Talk to your local horticulturist or council to find the best types of plants to grow in your area.

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