A Simple Guide to Choosing a Fence

A Simple Guide to Choosing a Fence

Antony Reed, DuraPost® Product Manager at Birkdale, provides a simple guide that will help ensure you select the best fencing product for your needs

Adding a fence or gate to your property can have a number of benefits. From the improved appearance to enhanced security, fitting an external barrier often does not require council approval but can add value to your home. For self-builders, understanding product options, how to get the most from your installation and the differences in costs, materials and methods on offer is essential.

Benefits Of A Fence

There are a number of benefits associated with installing a fence or gate. Home security is improved when properties have a physical barrier in front of them. A number of studies have highlighted the effectiveness of external barriers as deterrents to potential thieves. As well as improving safety, fences and gates can help to improve the kerb appeal of your home and can help to add value if you choose to sell in the future.  

Do You Need Planning Permission?

The majority of fence and gate installations do not require planning permission. Under Permitted Development, self-builders can erect, construct, maintain, improve and alter a gate, fence or wall as long as it meets the following criteria:

  • The height does not exceed 1m when adjacent to a highway
  • The height does not exceed 2m in any other circumstance
  • The development is not taking place on a listed property[1]

Material Choice

If you have decided to build a fence or gate, then it is important to understand what material to use. There are a number of available options, which range in cost and quality and depending on your budget there are important things to look out for. Wood options like cedar and timber are popular choices for both fence panels and posts. Both materials are aesthetically pleasing, long-lasting but will rot over time. As such, fences and gates manufactured from these materials will require semi-regular maintenance that involves specialist treatment chemicals.

Concrete is another common fence post material. However, as a very heavy product, concrete fence posts can be difficult to install, as well as being aesthetically an unappealing choice. In addition, the production of concrete is very bad for the environment and impossible to recycle at the end of its usable life.

A modern option is steel, which offers the strength and durability of concrete with a more aesthetic and recyclable appeal. Galvanised steel fence post systems offer excellent strength-to-weight ratio allowing them to withstand harsh winds and wet weather, having been wind tested to industry standards. Unlike wood, steel does not rot or warp from age and does not require regular treatment. The easy-to-install, durable material is available in a number of colours and will fit into any existing design plans. 

What’s The Cost?

Estimating the cost of a fence or gate can be difficult as there are a number of variables. A general cost guide is between £20 to £80 per panel. However, the biggest cost associated with installing a fence or gate is normally labour. Depending on where you live, labour costs can amount to £100 per panel. Therefore, look to use lightweight materials, like galvanised steel, which require less time to install. Galvanised steel is up to 80% lighter than other materials, making it easier for fencing contractors or trade professionals to transport and install. Many galvanised steel solutions can be installed by one person, dramatically reducing labour costs or allowing for an easy self-build installation.

For more information on Birkdale and its range of galvanised steel fence post solutions, please visit:

[1] Planning Portal online, Fences, gates and garden walls –