A patio is meant to be a little oasis from the cares of the world, a place of beauty, relaxation, and ease. I’ve been hired quite a few times to transform boring and somewhat lifeless patio areas into relaxing and architecturally interesting places. Many of the clients would tell me that their backyard was just “missing something” and that despite having a patio installed, they had no interest in spending any time back there. There are probably a number of potential fixes for this situation, but the one I tend to use most is adding a fence.
While many people don’t think fence when they hear the word patio, I’ve found that it very often improves its look and functionality, and more than once has delivered the missing element my clients were seeking. While there are a lot of options for fencing, I’ve lately found that either a virtually maintenance-free steel fence or a wood and steel combination fence is durable and versatile enough to complement almost any type of backyard patio area.
When You Might Want Fencing Around the Patio
There are any number of situations in which I’ve found patio areas to really benefit from the presence of a fence. I’ll list just a few of the main situations below:
- Small Space with Neighbors: Much of my work happens in smaller backyards that border the small backyards of neighbors. It probably goes without saying that most people enjoy and even require a certain amount of privacy when relaxing and unwinding. As Robert Frost wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Sometimes there is a neighbor with sight lines on one side of the property while there is another side on which a view is desirable. In those situations, having a fence that can serve as a closed privacy fence on one side, while functioning as an open picket fence on another side, without aesthetic interruption, is ideal.
- You Need Another Material: Sometimes, there is simply too much wood, stone, or concrete in a backyard. Whatever it’s made of, a fence can be used as a way of balancing out the other aesthetic elements in the backyard composition. Whether we are using wood to soften stone, or stone to add a certain weight to a space, adding another element to the palette can go a long way.
- You Need a Border: For most people, there is a Goldilocks zone between being in a space that is too open and a space that feels too closed. It’s a little different for everyone, but adding a structural element as a border will very often take a space and give it a sense of place and security, while delineating it from the rest of the yard.
The Benefits of a Steel Fence
For patios, certain types of steel fences tend to win out for me over wood and vinyl, for both practical and aesthetic reasons. There are many kinds of steel fence to choose from, but I’ve found the best kinds have some elements in common.
- They cut down on maintenance: One of my favorite low maintenance fencing alternatives has become this unusual galvanized steel picket fence that is designed to give users the option of having wooden or composite boards as vertical infill. This type of fence can act as a privacy fence, a security fence that doesn’t block the view, or both, in different parts of the fence. The low maintenance comes from a combination of an e-coat (which automakers use to keep cars from rusting) and a premium powder coat on the steel. In the past, I would never have associated the word steel with the word low maintenance, since my childhood is filled with memories of helping my neighbors scrape the rust off of their Victorian-style wrought iron fencing. However, the times have changed and so have the fences.
- They have a unique and versatile look: Wooden fences tend to be solid, plain walls of wood, and as such can sometimes be boring, lacking differentiation in visual texture. Adding a different material to a fence is an excellent way of adding an element of visual interest, and that’s where the steel and wood fence style I mentioned earlier comes in. The smooth sheen of steel pickets and rails combined with earthy wooden infill slats makes for a fence equally at home in a forest, a city, or just about anywhere.
- They’re customizable: With the best steel fences, the sky is nearly the limit with the ways it can be customized. Some fence manufacturers offer easily attachable finials, railing “knuckles,” ball-shaped post caps, and other decorative elements that can transform a sleek metal picket fence into something much more intricate, adding an old world, wrought iron feel to the patio area.
If you are drawn to either a traditional-looking metal picket fence or a wood-and-metal combination fence, Fortress Building Products is a good place to start. They use one of the most advanced coating systems in the industry, with four layers of protection to keep metal strong and beautiful (galvanization, zinc precoat, an e-coat, and a powder coating). These fences have simple lines that can look modern or classic, blending seamlessly into a wide variety of architectural settings. They offer endless options for customization as well as an array of decorative elements. If you’re looking to make other renovations or additions to your patio, Fortress® has other beautiful and innovative building materials for sale. After you’ve added fencing or other personalized updates, you’ll have no excuse for not sitting on your beautiful patio.