TAKING FENCING TO THE FRONT LINE IN DESIGN
Your boundary line has become a serious style contender, writes
The basic logic of a front fence is to enclose your territory. It marks the boundary between where the street ends and your private property begins.
But in the past decade, the role of the front fence has been elevated beyond one of implied privacy to something far grander.
The boundary line is now marked by super-sized fences in elaborate displays of stacked stone or complex horticultural displays and high walls.
For many, it’s all about privacy, and in a city where land pockets are small, this makes a lot of sense. But there’s also the connection between the house and the street to consider. And choosing the right materials to suit your house can be tricky.
Keeping it real
There are so many front fence styles to choose from, but the old chain link fencing has definitely had its day.
Owner of End 2 End Fencing, Tony Lobasso, has worked with many different fencing materials and styles for creating front fences over the past decade, and says heavy metals and timbers are making way for aluminium.
“Unless you are building a new house, you only start to think about putting up a new fence when the old one is starting to fall down and past its use-by date,” says Tony.
Even when homeowners are replacing a front fence on a classic federation or Art Deco home, the preference is to brick up the columns and width of the fence to a halfway point, then add aluminium in between, keeping costs down.
Tony says not only do the mixed use materials give the home a heritage feel, but the use of aluminium has become almost standard in his industry as homeowners look for a material that can withstand the elements while still being low maintenance.
“A lot of people that I speak to just want a fence that is low maintenance,” he says.
“They don’t want to have to paint the fence year after year, and this is just an easier option.”
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment stipulates that the front fence should be a maximum of 1.2m high with a gate that opens inward. This is the standard that can be built without planning or building approval in residential zones, although councils are often open to discussion around height.
They will also be interested in the materials you want to use to construct it.
This is especially the case in heritage conservation areas where there are often a more limited range of styles available.
“The average height is about one metre, but I have worked on front fences that are up to 1.8m high,” says Tony.
“People just want to maintain their privacy and for their home to feel secure.”
This style (above) peaked in the 1920s, with timber floors, window frames and doors and double brick construction. A picket fence works well, or panelling between brick pillars.
The front fence acts like a frame for your house so choose wisely.