This is our Minnesota fence multimedia library of information about Minnesota fences, fence news, fence infographics, fence photos, fence videos, and frequently asked questions about fences in Minnesota.
A fence is a barrier, railing, or other upright structure, typically of wood or wire, enclosing an area of ground to mark a boundary, control access, or prevent escape. Fencing means to surround or protect with a fence. Other terms for a fence are barrier, paling, railing, rail, bar, hurdle, enclosure, wall, hedge, hedgerow, windbreak, partition, barricade, stockade, palisade, rampart, and protection. Other terms for fencing include to enclose, surround, circumscribe, encircle, circle, encompass, bound, form a barrier around, or form a ring round.
Demarcation of a perimeter, when the protection of assets, personnel or buildings is required, is normally effected by the building of a perimeter fence system. The level of protection offered varies according to the threat level to the perimeter. Different types of perimeter fencing include:
- Timber fencing
- Palisade fencing
- Welded wire mesh fence fencing
- Chain-link fencing
- Rolled mesh fencing
- Metal railings
Since the 2000s, welded wire mesh fencing has become one of the most popular types of perimeter fence around the world used in commercial projects, industry, sports, schools, and airports. Domestic and residential projects have since the 1990s featured timber fencing as the perimeter to houses and gardens. Ornamental metal railings have also been employed.
Common Types of Fences
- We specialize in producing custom fence gates
- Chain link fences
- Wood fences such as privacy fences & picket fences
- PVC fences & vinyl fences
- Iron fences
- Ornamental fences
- Pet-friendly dog fences & dog kennels
- Privacy fences to provide privacy and security
- Perimeter fences to prevent trespassing or theft and to keep children and pets from wandering away.
- Decorative fences to enhance the appearance of a property, garden or other landscaping
- Boundary fences to demarcate a piece of real property
- Sound barrier or acoustic fencing to reduce noise pollution
- Temporary fences to provide safety, security, and to direct movement wherever temporary access control is required, especially on building and construction sites
- Agricultural fencing to keep livestock in and predators out
- Pest-exclusion fences
- Pool fences
- Snow fences
A balustrade or railing is a fence to prevent people from falling over an edge, most commonly found on a stairway, landing, or balcony. Railing systems and balustrades are also used along roofs, bridges, cliffs, pits, and bodies of water.
- Brushwood fencing, a fence made using wires on either side of brushwood, to compact the brushwood material together.
- Chain-link fencing, wire fencing made of wires woven together
- Close boarded fencing, strong and robust fence constructed from mortised posts, arris rails and vertical feather edge boards
- Expanding fence or trellis, a folding structure made from wood or metal on the scissor-like pantograph principle, sometimes only as a temporary barrier
- Ha-ha (or sunken fence)
- Pale fence, composed of pales - vertical posts embedded in the ground, with their exposed end typically tapered to shed water and prevent rot from moisture entering end-grain wood - joined by horizontal rails, characteristically in two or three courses. Also known as "post and rail" fencing.
- Palisade, or stakewall, made of vertical pales placed side by side with one end embedded in the ground and the other typically sharpened, to provide protection; characteristically two courses of waler are added on the interior side to reinforce the wall.
- Picket fences, generally a waist-high, painted, partially decorative fence
- Roundpole fences, similar to post-and-rail fencing but more closely spaced rails, typical of Scandinavia and other areas rich in raw timber.
- Slate fence, a type of palisade made of vertical slabs of slate wired together. Commonly used in parts of Wales.
- Split-rail fence, made of timber, often laid in a zig-zag pattern, particularly in newly settled parts of the United States and Canada
- Vaccary fence (named from Latin vaca - cow), for restraining cattle, made of thin slabs of stone placed upright, found in various places in the north of the UK where suitable stone is had.
- Vinyl fencing
- Solid fences, including:
- Dry-stone wall or rock fence, often agricultural
- Stockade fence, a solid fence composed of contiguous or very closely spaced round or half-round posts, or stakes, typically pointed at the top. A scaled down version of a palisade wall made of logs, most commonly used for privacy.* Wattle fencing, of split branches woven between stakes.
- Wire fences
- Smooth wire fence
- Barbed wire fence
- Electric fence
- Woven wire fencing, many designs, from fine chicken wire to heavy mesh "sheep fence" or "ring fence"
- Welded wire mesh fence
- Wood-panel fencing
- Wrought iron fencing, also known as ornamental iron
Legal Fence Issues
In most developed areas the use of fencing is regulated, variously in commercial, residential, and agricultural areas. Height, material, setback, and aesthetic issues are among the considerations subject to regulation.
The following types of areas or facilities often are required by law to be fenced in, for safety and security reasons:
- Facilities with open high-voltage equipment (transformer stations, mast radiators). Transformer stations are usually surrounded with barbed-wire fences. Around mast radiators, wooden fences are used to avoid the problem of eddy currents.
- Railway lines (in the United Kingdom)
- fixed machinery with dangerous mobile parts (for example at merry go rounds on entertainment parks)
- Explosive factories and quarry stores
- Most industrial plants
- Airfields and airports
- Military areas
- Construction sites
- Zoos and wildlife parks
- Pastures containing male breeding animals, notably bulls and stallions.
- Open-air areas that charge an entry fee
- Amusement equipment which may pose danger for passers-by
- Swimming pools and spas
The History of Fences
Servitudes are legal arrangements of land use arising out of private agreements. Under the feudal system, most land in England was cultivated in common fields, where peasants were allocated strips of arable land that were used to support the needs of the local village or manor. By the sixteenth century the growth of population and prosperity provided incentives for landowners to use their land in more profitable ways, dispossessing the peasantry. Common fields were aggregated and enclosed by large and enterprising farmers (either through negotiation among one another or by lease from the landlord) to maximize the productivity of the available land and contain livestock. Fences redefined the means by which land is used, resulting in the modern law of servitudes.
In the United States, the earliest settlers claimed land by simply fencing it in. Later, as the American government formed, unsettled land became technically owned by the government and programs to register land ownership developed, usually making raw land available for low prices or for free, if the owner improved the property, including the construction of fences. However, the remaining vast tracts of unsettled land were often used as a commons, or, in the American West, "open range" as degradation of habitat developed due to overgrazing and a tragedy of the commons situation arose, common areas began to either be allocated to individual landowners via mechanisms such as the Homestead Act and Desert Land Act and fenced in, or, if kept in public hands, leased to individual users for limited purposes, with fences built to separate tracts of public and private land.
Distinctly different land ownership and fencing patterns arose in the eastern and western United States. Original fence laws on the east coast were based on the British common law system, and rapidly increasing population quickly resulted in laws requiring livestock to be fenced in. In the west, land ownership patterns and policies reflected a strong influence of Spanish law and tradition, plus the vast land area involved made extensive fencing impractical until mandated by a growing population and conflicts between landowners. The "open range" tradition of requiring landowners to fence out unwanted livestock was dominant in most of the rural west until very late in the 20th century, and even today, a few isolated regions of the west still have open range statutes on the books. More recently, fences are generally constructed on the surveyed property line as precisely as possible. Today, across the nation, each state is free to develop its own laws regarding fences. In many cases for both rural and urban property owners, the laws were designed to require adjacent landowners to share the responsibility for maintaining a common boundary fenceline. Today, however, only 22 states have retained that provision.
The value of fences and the metaphorical significance of a fence, both positive and negative, has been extensively utilized throughout western culture. A few examples include:
"A woman's dress should be like a barbed-wire fence:
serving its purpose without obstructing the view."
– Marilyn Monroe
"Good fences make good neighbors."
– Robert Frost's poem Mending Wall
"A good neighbor is a fellow who smiles at you over the back fence,
but doesn't climb over it."
– Arthur Baer
"There is something about jumping a horse over a fence,
something that makes you feel good. Perhaps it's the risk,
the gamble. In any event it's a thing I need."
– William Faulkner
"Fear is the highest fence."
– Dudley Nichols
"To be fenced in is to be withheld."
– Kurt Tippett
"Don't Fence Me In"
– Cole Porter