When we think about installing fencing, it is usually because we have a need to contain or protect something on the property.
Choice of a Fence
Surprisingly, the choice of a fence may communicate more about the owner or company than they intend and that message goes far beyond the simple statement of “something of value here,”; it can tell whole stories.
It’s interesting to examine what impression a fence might convey about the area or property it encloses.
Different cultures use fencing in different ways. Some cultures highly prize ownership, property and individuality and the use of a fence – a high, strong unbreakable fence is common and considered a sign of having made a success of oneself. In other cultures where community is king, fences are rare; often only used to try and contain livestock or control soil erosion.
A fenced-in property is usually perceived as having something that is either unacceptable to the community, such as a prison, or something that is beyond the community –such as a palace. While these cultural differences do appear most strongly in their native countries, their influence also lingers when the population immigrates. How far away you have grown from your native culture will be revealed by your attitude towards fences and your choice of whether or not to have one and of what type.
The type of fence installed around property or business is also a telling indicator of their attitude toward the surrounding community. For a business, a practical fence meant to secure property and assets is appropriate in any community. If that fence begins to become fortress like, it communicates a distrust of the surrounding community. The same is true for fences around homes.
There are few neighborhoods where a barbed wire tipped fence is considered appropriate. The intentions shown by barbed wire should not be confused with those shown by cast iron spear tipped fences. These are not taken as “security” fences so much as a statement of the wealth and class standing of the individual behind them. They clearly broadcast that the inhabitants consider themselves of a certain level and, most likely, above the community. Stone walls are the salt of the earth type of fence and communicate the exact opposite (unless of a spectacular height). A stone wall is seen as a working man’s fence to try and protect his livelihood. It is the one type of fence that is the most neutral of all for it carries little double message of exclusion or rejection towards those without.
Put the wrong type of fence in the wrong area and send the wrong message and you may be surprised that someone may try to break in. An “offensive fence” can invite more vandalism and criminal intention than a practical fence. Knowing what you are saying, even when it is not a message you intend to send, can help prevent unnecessary trouble.
Make the Right Choice
Barkers Fencing, a industrial and commercial fencing business, installs fencing for security purposes. The choice of a fence has to take into account both the landscaping and design of the property within, and how it fits into the community puzzle without. It should form a border, but not necessarily a boundary.
All fence images used above – Courtesy: Barkers Fencing of Australia