If you are considering installing chain link fencing around your property to keep your children and pets from wandering out of the yard you may think that all chain link fence is the same. The truth is chain link fences can differ in a number of ways. Consider these factors when choosing the right chain link fence to meet your needs.
Chain link fences range in height from 4 feet to 12 feet or more, depending on the manufacturer and the intended use of the fence. For backyards where the fence is intended to keep children and pets safe or to prevent intruders from wandering in the backyard, a 4-foot fence is typically adequate. It won't prevent someone from climbing over the fence, but it will keep young children and pets out of harm's way and will deter foot traffic through your backyard. Unless you have serious concerns about intruders entering your backyard for nebulous reasons, or the fence forms part of the border to a pool, a 4-foot chain link fence should serve your purpose.
If you intend to install gates in your fence, make sure they are installed with safety latches so that children cannot open the gate and wander into dangerous territory. Gates typically are not necessary unless you intend to exit your home through the backyard. If the chain link fence marks the border of your property, there is little use for a gate. However, if you want to access a garden or your lawnmower is located in another area you will need a gate for easy access. While double gates that swing open will allow access for equipment, such as garden equipment, wheelbarrows and the riding lawn mower, a single gate is adequate for a person to enter or exit the yard.
Chain link fences are made from a variety of materials. Lightweight aluminum chain link fences are easier to install, but won't stand up to severe winds or other abuse. If you live in a mild climate where heavy storms are rare and only want to keep a toddler or small pets safe from wandering off, an aluminum fence may meet your needs. However, if you live in a region where hurricane winds are a common occurrence, you may be better off choosing steel chain link fence for you yard. Likewise, if you intend to plant vining plants like Virginia Creeper or Woodbine to cover the fence, go for a sturdier fence to support the weight. If climbing annuals, such as morning glories, are more to your liking, don't worry about the strength of the fence as these vines are lightweight and won't cause a problem on lightweight fences.
Mesh size also varies depending on the manufacturer and purpose of the fence. Mesh with squares or diamonds that measure approximately 2-inches are common for backyard chain link fence, but you can purchase chain link fence with larger or smaller holes in the mesh. If part of the fence will border a pool, be aware that special regulations apply to the mesh size. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a mesh no larger than 1 ¼ inches square for chain link fences that serve as a barrier to a pool. It also recommends a height of 5-feet. These are not mandatory requirements, but many communities have adopted these recommendations in their pool safety guidelines.
When you think of chain link fence, you may automatically think of galvanized steel that looks silvery gray in appearance, but you can also purchase chain link fence with a vinyl coating in a variety of colors. Colors are typically designed to blend into the landscape and may be green, black or brown. You can also purchase colored slats that fit into the mesh of the chain link fence. Slats improve the appearance and also function as a privacy screen.
Considering these factors will help you choose the appropriate chain link fence for your backyard.