If you're in the market for a new fence, you may be overwhelmed by the number of materials and styles available to you. Although appearance, price, and durability are all key factors that will weigh on your decision, you may also be concerned about the impact of your decision on the environment. How can you make the "greenest" choice? Read on to learn more about some popular sustainable fencing materials to help narrow down your potential options.
Using reclaimed or recycled lumber can provide your fence with a vintage, weathered look. Although you may worry about the durability of reclaimed wood, some types of wood (particularly redwood) can stand the test of time for centuries. If you're able to grab some reclaimed redwood after it's been used to keep a fence or building standing for only a few decades, you can still have decades of maintenance-free ownership ahead of you.
The best sources of reclaimed lumber are often old farms or sawmills. In many cases, landowners who would like a building torn down may offer the resulting lumber for "free" to anyone willing to disassemble and haul away the building and its contents.
Although you may write off composite as a plastic product that produces toxic chemicals and waste, most composite fencing and decking materials are actually composed primarily of recycled wood and plastics. Many common brands are created by mixing finely-ground sawdust with melted recycled plastic or rubber. This process not only keeps materials out of landfills, but it can produce a material that is stronger, more durable, and more fade-resistant than treated wood.
Composite lumber is available from most hardware and home supply stores, and is generally comparable in price to treated lumber.
One option that will not only provide a workable barrier, but can actually help improve the environment is the use of a landscaping fence. Whether you choose to install a trellis and allow vines to create a natural barrier, or simply plant a row of trees close enough to each other that their branches will eventually intertwine, you can create your own backyard paradise without the use of any formal fencing materials. You may want to enlist the services of a landscape designer to ensure that you're using materials that make the most sense for your area.
If you have outdoor pets you'd like to keep contained