If you are considering building a fence, you have probably explored the plethora of options offered by your local hardware store or fencing contractor. Common fencing materials, including chain-link, wrought iron, composite, and cedarwood, are readily available.
However, if you are looking for something more unique, there are many more options than you may think. Many homeowners have been creative with their choice of fence materials and created a fence with a lot of personality and style. In some cases, they have even used materials that would have otherwise been thrown away, reducing trash and saving trees at the same time.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at some repurposed fencing materials that create a win for both you and the environment.
Tin Ceiling Tiles
In the 1800s, tin ceilings were introduced in North America. By the end of the 19th century, they became popular as an alternative to the expensive European style plaster ceilings. Decorative squares made of tin could be affixed to the ceiling in any size room and were used in commercial and residential buildings. While they are not common in modern buildings, salvaged tiles are available in many different colors and styles. Surprisingly enough, they make a gorgeous fence. Color contrasting tiles arranged in a wooden framed grid gives the appearance of stained glass when you stand back and look at it. The tin may need paint touch-up from time to time to keep it from oxidizing, but it will not rust.
If you are looking for a distinctive garden fence idea, you might consider building your fence out of old garden tools. The basic structure for this fence is the same as most other fence types. Once you have the fence posts set and rails attached to the posts, use garden tools as the fencing pickets. These tools could include shovels, rakes, hoes, picks and axes. For the best effect, try to find older tools with wooden handles – the older, the better. The fence will not look the same if you have to incorporate a shovel with a bright, plastic handle.
Corrugated Metal Sheets
Using corrugated metal in construction projects is not new. It is an inexpensive material used in roofs and doors. One benefit to corrugated steel is that it is manufactured with the outdoors in mind. It should stand up to any weather that Mother Nature throws at it. You will need to build a wooden fence structure consisting of posts and rails to hold the metal sheets. After that, it is up to you to make it your own. Mounting the sheets with the corrugation running horizontally, rather than vertically, significantly changes the appearance of the fence. You might also consider adding a creative top to the fence to dress up the appearance a little.
Before an old building is torn down, antique building materials and hardware are often salvaged. Solid wood doors are usually removed during this process. These doors may have hand-carved decorative scrolls or even small stained glass windows. They almost always have old hardware, which you can choose to leave intact or remove. Before you start buying up all of the doors you can find, make sure that your fence will fall within the fencing guidelines for the area where you live. Often taller than 6 feet, the doors may exceed the height restrictions for fences. Installing a fence made of these doors may prove to be an engineering project. The doors may be heavy and need to be well-secured. It would be a shame for the fence to fall over with the first windstorm that blows through.
Bicycles and Wheels
Bikes are nice until they stop working. Depending on how much the bike is worth, it may be more expensive to have the bike shop repair it than to replace it. Due to the simple economics, many bikes gather dust in the garage or get sent to the dump. However, these bicycles can be reused in property fencing. If you prefer to leave the bikes in their present condition, they can be lined up around your property line attached to metal posts. Similarly, you could apply a coat of white paint to all of them, giving the fence a more uniform look.
If you would rather build a more abstract fence, you can take the wheels off the frames and use them separately. Simply build a wooden frame of posts and dowels within which to mount the wheels and frames. Bicycle wheels are not the only option for fencing either. Wheels and gears from all types of machinery can be used in fencing as well. This type of fence would look particularly good around a workshop.
You may have to enlist the help of friends and family to collect enough bottles to pull off this fence. Wine bottles, with their unique shapes and colors, can be visually appealing. However, a fence made from bottles will be most stunning when the sun shines through the colored glass, creating a rainbow of colors across the yard. Bottles can be stacked vertically on a metal rod running from the bottom to the top rail of the fence. If drilling holes in the bottom of glass bottles scares you, you might explore ways to mount them horizontally in vertical wooden pickets.
If you live in a land-locked state, you may not be familiar with surfboard fences that are more popular in places like Hawaii where boards are common. A surfboard doesn’t last forever. When they wear out or break riding an epic wave, what better place to put the board and your memories than into your fence? Surfboards can be added to the inside perimeter of an existing wood fence or used as the pickets for a whole new fence. Sitting in your backyard, you can reminisce about all of the fun you’ve had over the years.
No matter what your style or interests may be, there is a fence for you. If you look hard enough, you might just find materials to build your fence in the most unlikely of places. You may even be able to reduce the amount of waste in landfills by using materials that are routinely thrown away. The only limit is your imagination.