Wednesday March 5 2014

Fence off your home in style

There are many types of fences and boundary walls you can put around your house.

There are many types of fences and boundary walls you can put around your house. Above is a brick boundary wall, on the left is a chain link fence and on the right is the stone fence. PHOTOS BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 

By Jonathan Adengo

When people feel that they want an enclosure around their house, all they think of is either a wall or a natural fence. But the enclosure around your home can be more than a wall or trees.

A home is almost incomplete today if it’s not bound or fenced off. And it goes without saying, that fences and boundaries help to provide the much-needed privacy in a home.

However, while it is just a wall shielding your home from outsiders, it does not have to be plain. There are various types of fences and boundary walls that different home developers can choose from. The two are different but serve the same purposes.

A boundary wall is a high rise enclosure that covers the entire property. While the upper part can be some how open, the lower part s always enclosed.
However, fences on the other hand are used to cordon off certain areas in a home. They allow some one outside to see inside.

Louis Kiwa, a structural engineer based with KK Partnership architects explains that boundary walls are classified into three types depending on what a home developer might choose. Kiwa, says a standard height for the wall boundaries and fences for residentials is 2.4 metres high.

However, he also adds that for wall boundaries, the most advisable height for the walls is 1.8 metres and the remaining length is usually constituted of metal bars or plants and is about 0.6 metres.


Boundary walls usually have rules. Kiwa says if your house is built facing the street, then you are required to leave a space of two metres as a road reserve.

The road reserve is in most cases used for services like water, and other underground cables. He also advises home developers to avoid building in to the road as that is against the law. The boundary walls are differentiated by the material which usually ranges from stone to hard core material.

Stone wall
This factors in aspects like the nature of landscape and the requirements of the home owner. For places that are located on hilly unlevelled grounds, stone walls are best as they help to hold the soil together. “Stone walls are also the strongest and take long to wear off,” he adds. They are mainly made out of large blocks of stones used to form the first layer of the foundation when building.

The brick wall
The brick wall mostly comprises of bricks bound by a binding material usually cement and sand. Bricks come in different shapes and sizes. They can either be made out of concrete, clay or mud, all of which serve the same purposes. However, Kiwa explains, “The choice of bricks also depends on the factor of strength and availability of material.”

Wall and metal grills
This type is made of a wall with metal grills on top. The metal grills which often come in different types like metal and wrought iron add style and elegance to the compound. “They are also very strong and long lasting which makes them almost maintenance free.” Kiwa says they are generally durable and long-lasting as long as they are painted regularly to maintain their coating.
He says they are generally more decorative than other fences. The structural engineer explains that the wall forms the foundation for the fence and the metal grills, which usually take up most of the wall height. These are usually completed with barbed wire or razor wire.



Fences usually differ, they can be chain linked or just natural plants. Julius Mugisha, a landscaper says fences vary and at times use both natural plants such as flowers and trees. They include the following:

Chain link
Chain linked fences are usually made out of wire mesh (chain link) supported with posts which are inter- twined. They can be used to enclose homes or any other property. They are good fences because they allow natural flow of air in to the home.“Chain link can go well with hedges and flowers,” Mugisha explains before adding that the concrete posts that go with chain link can be used with cypress (Christman tree).

This is a natural fence and it strictly uses only plants. These plants require good maintenance and should grow up to a height of 2.4m. According to Kiwa, they can be trimmed to suit any desired shape and size. Hedges can also be used in the home compound to fence off pathways and gardens. They should be watered and trimmed regularly for the best results.

This is not commonly used in Africa because of the high cost of maintenance. However, timber is used to form posts and boards that run across the fence. But it needs to be vanished regularly to prevent water from entering them. Timber also expands and contracts and this causes it to develop cracks. These cracks absorb water which causes the wood to rot.

Kiwa, a structural engineer says this is a cheaper version of fences. However,”they have to be supported with posts and horizontal cross bars running across them. This will reinforce them and hold such a fence together,” he explains