In many home landscapes, fencing is a necessary component for containing pets, creating privacy and promoting security. One detail that often gets glossed over when planning to install a fence is the difficulty of installation when the lawn is an uneven surface. Hilisides, gullies and mounds all make fencing a lot more complicated than it is on flat ground. Each type of fencing has its pros and cons regarding installation on uneven ground, and they depend on the fence's purpose and the type of terrain.
Pasture Fencing and Snow Fencing
The best fences for uneven terrain are more rustic than those commonly used around a lawn. They are wooden pasture fencing and snow fencing. Both have aesthetic qualities and could be a good fit in some contexts. Wood pasture fencing, including split-rail fences, are easiest to adjust to follow uneven terrain, but they have large openings through which most pets can squeeze. Just like any other fence, its posts need to be set perfectly vertical, but the cross members are easily adjusted according to the terrain. Overall, the rustic, informal quality of wood pasture fencing looks better undulating up and down over uneven ground when compared to the more formal and substantial fences usually used around homes.
Snow fencing, which is really a kind of temporary fence, goes up very easily on uneven ground. It consists of thin wooden slats embedded in a wire framework, which gives it the flexibility to rise and fall over a changing grade. Although intended for temporary use, snow fencing can be enhanced with a border of flowering perennials.
A 6-foot-tall, solid-wood fence can be used to create a private lawn area, or a shorter picket fence can frame a lawn while forming a barrier for pets and small children. Wooden fencing can be used on a sloped lawn by stepping the fence down in even increments at each fence post. If, for example, the lawn slopes downward 6 inches every 8 feet, then each fence panel can be mounted 6 inches lower than the previous panel while a vertical orientation is maintained for the fence boards. When the fence crosses a more abrupt dip or gully, the cross members between each post can be angled to match the slope, but the posts and vertical fence boards or pickets still should be installed in a perfectly vertical orientation to create a sturdy fence.
Chain-link fencing is very strong and useful for keeping pets in and intruders out, but it does not provide a visual barrier around a lawn unless it is covered in vines. The posts and framing for chain-link fencing are quite simple to install on uneven terrain, but the challenge comes with cutting the fence wire. Every time the angle of the fence line changes, the fence wire has to be cut -- a time-consuming process requiring heavy-duty bolt cutters. Chain-link fencing, however, is designed to be modified for installation on slopes and functions just as well in that application as on flat ground.
Woven-wire fencing is less expensive than some other kinds of fencing, lightweight and simple to install. It is a bit of an informal style for surrounding lawn in front of a house and may be more suitable for a back yard. Installing woven-wire fencing on uneven ground is very similar to the process of installing chain-link fencing in that it requires cutting a lot of fence wire. Woven wire is much thinner than chain-link fencing wire, however, and it can be cut quickly with hand-held wire cutters, making woven-wire fencing fairly simple to modify for its use across slopes, dips and mounds.
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