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Fences in Windy Areas: Options and Cautions

Fence on a landscape
Fences provide privacy, boundaries, and a base for espaliered trees. But they may also be a source of concern in areas that are very windy. The force of the wind and items blown up by the wind can affect your fence.

Fence materials and construction are key to avoiding literal wind-driven trouble. When you combine the purpose of the fence, the local issues you face, and the availability of good craftsmanship, you can create a fence that is stable and that does its job.

Wind Force and Fence Stability

The biggest issue you'll face is stability. Strong winds can push against fences, knocking them over if they aren't planted firmly in the soil. A nice, wide-planked vinyl fence that leaves little space between the planks is a prime wind victim if the fence is not secure.

You have a few choices. One is to have a fence that has a lot of space in it. For example, a chain link fence is great if all you need is a boundary marker and aren't concerned about privacy or creating a windbreak. The posts still need to sit securely in the ground, but more wind will pass through the chain link instead of pushing against the chain link.

If you need privacy, though, chain link doesn't work unless you weave material through the links — which only gives the wind additional surface space to push against and push the fence down. In this case, you would need to contact a fencing contractor who can dig deep down enough to install very secure posts. You'd also need to ensure the fencing material was thick enough and strong enough not to succumb to wind pressure.

One more option, if chain link is the material you prefer but you don't want a lot of wind hitting your yard, is to create a living fence on one side of the artificial fence. You can use the chain link fence to mark the boundary and then plant deep-rooted, fast-growing trees as a windbreak in front of the chain link.

Gradual Weathering and Paint

Yet another issue is the effect of dirt and sand hitting the fence when blown by the wind. No matter which side that dirt and sand come from, they can gradually strip away paint on wooden fences if the wind is strong enough. They can also create small fields of pockmarks in vinyl fences. Even gentle, continual contact can create gradual wear that makes the fence look much worse and much older than is necessary.

Again, chain link is a winner here; the narrower surface area makes it harder for a lot of the sand and dirt to make contact. Plus, a metal fence that isn't painted doesn't have paint to lose in the first place. You may also want to consider wrought iron fencing for similar benefits.

Random Debris and Electrification

A note of caution if you need an electrified fence: the Department of Conservation in New Zealand warns that wind-blown debris can short out the wiring. There is also the risk of electrified wires stretching over time, which makes them even more susceptible to shorting out, so the combination of the two could quickly lead to electrification failure.

Of course, many windy areas have electric fences. The fencing contractor you hire should be able to protect vulnerable areas of the wiring so that the shorting risk is reduced.

Mobile Fence wants you to be happy with your fence and not worry about wind-related problems. Take a look at the company's extensive selection of materials and discuss your particular needs. With the right preparation, your fence will last a long time.