Build Your Fence Using Eco-Friendly Materials

In the past, most fences were built using lumber or metal. Both of these materials, while they are easy to build and maintain, take a lot of energy to produce and are potentially harmful to the environment. For lumber fences, some of the wood that is harvested depletes forests and is fabricated with harmful toxic chemicals to repel insects and reduce decay; whereas metal fences made of non-recycled metals are very costly to the environment because so much energy is expended making them. Luckily, there are some great alternative fencing materials for those of us who are environmentally conscious.

Bamboo

Not only is bamboo an attractive fencing option, but it is also a sustainable resource. You can either purchase harvested bamboo that is already made into the fence, or really go green and plant freestanding bamboo around your yard so that it replenishes itself. Bamboo has some desirable qualities as a fencing material because it naturally repels moisture and insects. In some areas of the world bamboo is considered an invasive plant species because of how rapidly it grows and how hard it is to actually get rid of it completely. However, bamboo has recently seen such a high demand that it is possible it is being overharvested. Plus, much of the world’s bamboo is being harvested in China and shipped elsewhere, resulting in a lot of energy expenditure. Despite this, bamboo is still a viable option as an eco-friendly building material; just make sure to buy only from a local source and that it’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Composite Blends

A composite blended fence is comprised of two parts: one is natural fiber, recycled wood, or wheat straw and the other is recycled plastic. The end result is a fence that looks like wood, requires little to no maintenance, and is free of harmful toxic chemicals. Composite blend fences come in a variety of styles and colors. Installing a composite fence is easy; you only need nails or screws to hold it into place. The only concern with composite fences is not whether or not they are environmentally friendly, but rather how long they will last in the elements. Nevertheless, composite blends are an excellent material to choose for eco-friendly fencing, just make sure to keep an eye on decay.

Plant Life

By far the most eco-friendly option here is to plant bushes or shrubs around your yard. Now this may not be a practical option for everyone, especially if you have pets, but if it’s just privacy you’re looking for, this is the way to go. If you do have pets, a few good plants you could look into are blackberry and raspberry bushes. These bushes are thorny towards the ground and will discourage your animal from getting out; plus you’ll be enjoying fresh berries from your backyard. If you’re thinking of planting hedges, train them to grow within a frame so that they take on your desired shape. Not only are plants a cheap fencing alternative, but they are aesthetically pleasing and grow rapidly.

planting fence

Photo Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/atsushikase/5200016625/

This post was written by Brandon Dillon, an avid green home improvement enthusiast. He currently writes for GSM Garage Doors, a Chula Vista garage door repair company.

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