Fencing on your property is a crucial part of its management and provides a number of functions and benefits. You need to think about a range of issues when making decisions about fencing on your property. Key functions of fencing generally include:
- Delineation of property boundaries and creating privacy
- Providing barriers to the movement of livestock and domestic animals, such as cattle or dogs
- Allowing or preventing the movement of native wildlife, such as kangaroos
- Excluding pest animals, such as foxes and rabbits
- Protecting native vegetation and waterways—particularly near farm dams, creeks, wetlands and other water supplies and around native vegetation remnants and regeneration areas.
Fencing of native vegetation and waterways is an important land management tool contributing to the maintenance of water quality and soil health, reducing soil erosion and protecting native vegetation from grazing and other damage.
Impacts of Fencing on Neighbours and Wildlife
When making your decision about what type of fencing to use, keep in mind that your neighbours, and yourself, are likely to have been attracted to the area by the scenic rural landscape and native birds and animals. Choose a fence design that fits in with the area and allows the safe movement of native wildlife through your property. Fencing that allows wildlife to pass through safely will help reduce fence damage and associated repair costs. A good option for creating privacy and habitat is close plantings of native shrubs— this can be a lot cheaper than other types of fencing and will also help to reduce dust from roads and other properties. Talk to your neighbours, especially about fencing along shared boundaries, before you start work.
Plan Your Fences
The fencing you choose for your rural residential property will depend on how you use your property. The type of fencing needed varies greatly depending on what you are trying to achieve. Protecting chicken coops from foxes, native vegetation from livestock and vegetable gardens from kangaroos and rabbits will all require different types of materials and construction methods. The type of fencing used to contain livestock will also be influenced by the type and number of stock and the size of your property.
The two most common types of fences include conventional wire fencing, and electric fencing. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages in relation to cost, maintenance, and their impacts on native wildlife:
- Conventional wire fencing is more costly and labour intensive to construct than electric fencing
- Electric fencing can be easily moved and repaired
- Electric fencing requires more regular maintenance
- Wildlife can get caught in both conventional barb-wire fencing and electric fencing, particularly when the strands are close together. Apart from the (often fatal) injuries, this also causes damage to the fence.
When constructing fencing on your rural residential property you can reduce the materials (and costs) required by reusing old fence posts and using standing dead trees (which provide habitat for wildlife) as part of your fence. You can incorporate live trees into your fence, but be careful to leave room for the tree to grow - don’t circle the trunk with wire and add padding to reduce damage (you will also need to insulate electrical wires).