The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







This article is about the structure. For other meanings, see Fence (disambiguation).
Fence with barbed wire on top
Fence with barbed wire on top

A fence is a freestanding structure designed to restrict or prevent movement across a boundary. It is generally distinguished from a wall by the solidity of construction: a wall is usually restricted to such barriers made from solid brick or concrete, blocking vision as well as passage (though the definitions overlap somewhat).

Fences are constructed for several purposes, including:

  • Agricultural fencing, to keep livestock in or predators out
  • Backyard fencing, to keep children or pets in or to provide privacy
  • Security fencing , to prevent trespassing or thievery
  • Decorative fencing , to enhance the appearance of a property or garden

Some of the technologies developed for fencing include:

Alternatives for a fence are a hedge or a ditch (occasionally with water, that is, a moat).

A balustrade or railing is a kind of fence to prevent people from falling over the edge, for example, on a balcony, stairway (see railing system), roof, bridge, or elsewhere near a body of water, places where people stand or walk and the terrain goes steeply down, and so on.

Legal issues of dividing fences

Fences can be the source of bitter arguments between neighbours, and there are often special laws to deal with these problems. Common disagreements include what kind of fence is required, what kind of repairs are needed, and how to share the costs.

See also


  • Encyclopedia Britannica (1982). Vol IV, Fence.

The contents of this article are licensed from under the GNU Free Documentation License. How to see transparent copy