There are different styles of fences and different fence materials. Some of the different styles of fences are chain link fences, ornamental fences, picket fences, post and rail fences, and solid privacy fences. Common materials for fence construction include aluminum, steel, wood, wrought iron and vinyl.
A review of Americans with Disabilities Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) specifications provides helpful information to homeowners, although compliance with ADAAG is not required for residential fences. For example, the ADAAG notes that the walking sticks of people with visual disabilities can become entangled when fences aren’t made of solid materials. The ADAAG recommends that solid material be used in a fence’s bottom portion, and that this material have high visual contrast with street and sidewalk surfaces.
“Good fences make good neighbors”, is associated with Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall”. Frost observes, “Before I built a wall I'd ask to know what I was walling in or walling out”. Frost’s fences are a metaphor for the emotional barriers that people construct. Yet, under rare but real circumstances, fences can have critical consequences.
The importance of fences is illustrated by the tragic deaths of children in residential swimming pools. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that approximately 300 American children under the age of five drown in residential swimming pools each year. The property line perimeter fencing required by municipal code is largely ineffective. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) found that 98% of the children who drown either live in the home or are guests. In keeping with the recommendation for “layers of protection” by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA), a second, isolation fence should be built to create complete separation. The fence should prevent a child from climbing over, under or through to a swimming pool, spa/hot tub. Recommended height varies between 48” (CPSC) and 60” (NDPA). 4” or less is the recommended width between vertical bars. The horizontal bar closest to the ground should not provide sufficient space for a child to wiggle under.