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Fencing is a surprisingly under-appreciated design element that can add real curb appeal-and real value-to any rental home. Real estate giant Century 21 rates fencing as one of the top ten value-added upgrades homeowners should consider before they put their home on the market. Add the right fence and your vacation rental may see a more immediate return on that investment, with increased interest in a property that features a functional and attractive outdoor living space (and more privacy).

Fencing also gives you the opportunity to customize the view by framing attractive elements of your property and hiding the less desirable parts. But, there's a dizzying number of fencing options, so let's break it down and consider what you need that fencing to do and which materials will work best for the job.

Privacy Fencing

  • Blocking the view in is the reason most of us add fencing, and it's a simple goal that can be achieved with many different styles. Before you get started, find out what the parameters are according to the local ordinances or community guidelines. The most common fence height supported by local municipalities is 6 feet. If you're considering something taller, you may be required to get special permits or permission from your neighbors. It's also worth noting that many communities do not allow fencing that extends all the way up the property line.
  • Brick or stone "fencing" is, of course, essentially more wall than fence but, as such, offers serious durability and adds an architectural element to the home that absolutely raises the resale value. In a vacation home, brick or stone fencing goes a long way toward creating an idyllic escape that helps your guests close the rest of the world out, and they'll remember that peace and privacy every time they consider another vacation. Brick fencing tends to work better with more traditional architecture and lends a more formal aesthetic, whereas stone fencing brings a cozier, earthier appeal to your property.
  • Wood fencing is a much more economical choice in the short term that still offers your guests complete privacy. You can also choose options that make that fence function and feel more like a wall, and that make your guests feel that much more cut off from the world. Elements like fortified posts, custom post tops, lattice tops and double gates offer those benefits at a very attractive price point. If you're also looking for a little privacy from two-story neighbors, a trellis top and vine can give you a few more feet of privacy near the fence line. This can be a great solution if a hot tub is one of the amenities of your rental. If privacy is not your issue, a more rambling construction that highlights quaint imperfections and the native landscape can inspire a sense of whimsy that your guests may not even realize they were yearning for.
  • Poly wood fences are constructed from recycled plastic and look remarkably like wood. Not only are they more eco-friendly, they are much more durable than wood fencing, which may make them the best choice for vacation rentals. They also offer a tad more privacy, and installation is a snap!
  • Blocking the view out is a clever way to maximize the most attractive elements of your property and minimize the less attractive. To heighten that sense of privacy, consider fencing that blocks views of neighbors, outbuildings, propane tanks and traffic. Go a step beyond just blocking a particular view and use your fencing to create an attractive vignette in place of what you're blocking. This may be where you consider special materials like metal fencing with artistic flourishes, custom stonework-or simply beef up the landscaping around a simpler wooden fence with vines, bright pops of color and a simple sense of fairytale overgrowth.

Security Fencing

Obviously, chain link and barbed wire are not the way you want to block out the world with your vacation rental. The next best thing is to install fencing that surrounds the entire property and is at least eight feet high, with as few elements for potential troublemakers to grab onto in an attempt to get over the top. A locking gate is a good idea no matter your security concerns given the high and varied traffic of a vacation rental. If it's only the critters you need protection from, most experts agree that fencing with heavy gauge wire is the best deterrent for deer, raccoons and the like that will gnaw their way through most anything else. The advantage here is that this is actually a trending look in more modern homes, and it opens the views from your property significantly.

We'd love to hear about any great fencing ideas you've seen at your favorite vacation spots!

Kerrie Kelly provides home landscaping and fencing tips for The Home Depot. Kerrie calls California home and is the author of Home Decor: A Sunset Design Guide. To view a collection of fencing and gates available at Home Depot, you can visit homedepot.com

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