From size and materials to glamour and pet containment accessories our list of high-end gate options and ideas are sure to add grandeur and mystique to any home.
If you have a large property – and you want to fence the whole perimeter – you’re automatically into big-budget territory. When you’re talking 90 lineal metres or more, even a mid-range fencing material is going to tick over into a significant cost.
One way around this, says landscape Designer Jules Moore, is to invest more heavily in the street frontage – the part that’s on display - then opt for a more affordable material around and behind the house. A bigger budget can also allow for landscaping and planting to complement your fence. Trees provide visual punctuation along a fence; whether it’s hedging, feature plants, or pretty espalier designs.
A landscape designer can advise on the best types of plants; and where to position them. You may prefer to plant predominantly inside your fence, where you get to enjoy the view from your garden, rather than provide a show for passersby.
Having pets is one of the main reasons home-owners need to fence their properties - and some choose to install a virtual fence instead of building the real thing.
‘Pet containment’ systems are available either as in-ground wires (that can run over several acres); or wireless systems for smaller sections. Both work by transmitting a static signal via the pet’s collar when they approach the perimeter.
Lastly, don’t forget the lighting (or to factor in the cost of an electrician, as this is a separate and specialist job). As well as having its practical uses, lighting will add the dramatic finishing touch.
Just as with interior and outdoor lighting, placement is critical. If you have any old-fashioned round fittings sitting on top of your fence, it’s time to update with some dramatic diffused light.
“Uplighting creates the best effect,” says Mark Barden. “We usually either light from the ground up, or install stainless steel downlights on top of the fence.”
High-end timber is still a popular choice, particularly with traditional-style homes. Classic post and rail is the go-to choice for lifestyle blocks and rural properties; while solid tongue-and-groove construction is more suited to urban environments.
“Owners of villas or bungalows will often go with a premium-timber fence, complete with detailing and caps.”
For premium-grade pine or other hardwoods, says expert Neville Thompson, you’re looking at approximately $1,000 per lineal metre installed. But whatever fencing material you choose, a bigger budget also allows you to get clever with the design – and even create a one-off custom design.
“You could combine masonry with infill panels, or get creative with louvres and slats,” says Neville. “If you want to build a fence that no-one else has, the possibilities are endless.”
New Zealand has an abundance of beautiful natural stone. While we all recognise the distinctive Central Otago schist – there’s plenty more stones to unturn throughout the country. Did you know, for instance, about Auckland’s Bombay Blue, Northland Stone, or the Mediterrean-style Te Kuiti Limestone? Just don’t use a stone that’s not naturally occurring where you live – or you’ll raise the ire of the purists. “I hate seeing Central Otago schist in Auckland,” says Len Lavas of Auckland Stonemasons, an artisan stonemason who learned the trade from his Croatian grandfather.
A properly-built stone wall will last “hundreds of years”, says Len, and requires no ongoing maintenance (other than a waterblast every few years). But it does require a serious investment, with the average price for a 1.8m wall sitting at about $2,000 per lineal metre. But unless you want to see your dreams crumble, Len warns you should do some serious due diligence on the supplier you choose.
“Don’t look for the cheapest price. Ask for references and only go with someone that has been highly recommended by an expert, such as your Landscaping Specialist.”
Want to leave home in style? Then you’ll need vehicle-detection sensors laid in the driveway which automatically open your gate. Mark Barden from Instyle Gates says you can expect to pay up to $14,000 for a top-end gate system with all the bells and whistles.
“This would include vehicle detection, a video intercom system with dual monitors – people usually want one upstairs and downstairs. You’d also be getting a good solid gate with the wow factor, and a top-end Italian motor to run it.”
If you’re extra-security conscious - or just want to add some 007 factor - you could also choose to ‘ram-proof’ your gate with reinforced steel.
For the energy-conscious home owner, it’s only another $500 or so to install a solar system to run your gate, including panels and batteries. Solar panels are most suitable for rural homes, says Mark Barden, or properties where the panels can attract sun for most of the day.
“Another type of site where solar is often used is where it’s difficult to lay wires down without cutting up the existing driveway.”
As mentioned in the basic fencing price guide, fencing is a legal matter between neighbours – but with driveway disputes, troublesome trees, and stoushes over the boundary – it doesn’t always run smoothly.
And the more valuable the real estate, the more valuable are those extra inches. Neville Thomson advises home owners to be very sure of their property’s legal boundaries – and if there’s any doubt, get it pegged out by a surveyor.
“Disputes can quickly escalate between neighbours – we had to get the police involved on one job! Sometimes you’re only talking about a difference of 100mm…but at the end of the day, land is land.”
This project estimate by Libby Schultz featured in Issue 017 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.
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