ARTICLE Libby Schultz
With a little more budget to spend, you have a greater choice of materials. You also might want to buy a few feet of extra privacy, build in some noise insulation, or go a bit more high-tech with your gate
Do I need building consent when building a fence?
The advantage of a lower fence is that it will show off more of your house, and means you can pull a complete look together. But if privacy is more important, or you have a two-storey home, you’ll probably want to lift your sights higher.
Under the Building Act, you can build a fence up to 2.5 metres from the ground (or a retaining wall up to 1.5 metres) without getting building consent. And as a rule of thumb, says Matt Steele from Zones, you can usually build a fence up to 2 metres in height without getting council planning consent. It always pays to check with your local council, though, as there can be exceptions.
So if you prefer your fences tall and handsome – or you need extra height to achieve privacy from the neighbours – it will come at a cost. You could be looking at an additional $2,500, says Matt. “You’re also likely to need consent if your fence doubles as a retaining wall, which is often the case on a driveway.”
What material options are there for fences in New Zealand?
Fencing expert Neville Thomson, who has moved from Dunedin to Auckland, has noticed a distinct trend in our largest city.
“I’ve noticed Aucklanders tend to build a wooden fence and paint it black. Part of my job is to go over the different options available today, and discuss the pros and cons.”
If you want to replicate the wooden look - but without the premium timber price tag - vinyl or PVC fencing is a popular mid-range option. The Durafence brand, for instance, is made from wood-plastic composite. It’s available in various styles – including picket, posts, trellis, and more solid designs. Virtually maintenance-free, it comes with a lifetime warranty. Prices start at around $220 per lineal metre.
Other mid-range options include alloy aluminium panel - or aluminium slat fencing - at around $350 per lineal metre. These fences are lightweight yet strong, and won’t change shape like timber can. Concrete walls are also low-maintenance, at around $350 per metre.
How much do gates cost in New Zealand?
According to Mark from Instyle Gates, around $7,000 will get you an installed driveway gate with an intercom and keypad, sliding gate and motor. A fully-automated pedestrian gate with keypad entry will cost around $2,500.
If you have small children, Mark advises that you avoid automatically closing gates because “it’s safer to always have someone physically at the gate operating it.” As well as the extra peace of mind, installing a security gate could also provide a financial payback.
Says Mark: “A lot of insurance companies now recognise that automatic gates are adding to your perimeter security, and will lower your premiums accordingly.”
IMAGE InStyle Gates
What is an A-Lign Fence?
There are a number of ‘fencing systems’ now available on the market. One of the most popular brands is A-Lign; it’s the brainchild of the team at Jenkin Timber, who supply weatherboard cladding for homes.
Owner Bruce Barclay explains why they launched a complementary fencing product three years ago: “We were seeing people build beautiful A-lign weatherboard homes, but then putting up a cheap-looking fence. We wanted to make it easy for people to install something that also provided a really good look.”
Made from kiln-dried treated radiate pine, the double-sided fence is simply stacked like a series of pyramids until you reach your desired height. It comes primed and undercoated, ready to paint. You can ask your Zones landscaping specialist to build you an A-Lign fence; they can help you check if consent is required, measure up for efficient length purchasing, dig and pour the post-holes, and finally build and paint the fence.
What fence materials absorb noise?
Is road noise an issue where you live? Or perhaps you live next door to a kindergarten or school. Then you’ll want to choose a fencing material with noise-absorbing properties.
A smart choice for this, says Neville, is fibre cement with polystyrene filling. He is an installer for BelAire Fencing, which has patented sandwich panels especially designed to deflect noise. It costs about $250-$300 per lineal metre. But no matter what fencing material you use – when it comes to reducing noise, Neville says there’s a simple rule of thumb.
“Noise vibrates – so the longer and higher your fence, the more you’ll dissipate the noise.”Ever wondered how noisy it is to live beside the motorway, or what those motorway fences are actually made of? If you’re interested to know more about the heavy-duty materials, the NZTA publishes an online list of Noise Barrier Suppliers.
Where can I get instant hedging?
We’ve all heard of instant lawn, but did you know about instant hedging? If you prefer a natural foliage fence – but without waiting years for the plants to establish - you can purchase ready-grown hedging by the metre.
Twining Valley Nurseries does all the growing for you, and provides product under the brand Living Walls. You can buy boundary hedging ranging between 400mm to 900mm high, as well as taller hedge screens at 1.8m. Prices start at $175 per lineal metre.
For modern homes, a pool-grade glass fence with concealed fixings will add some super-sleek glamour (especially when combined with hedging for privacy). BelAire Fencing offers a frameless glass fencing system from $345 per metre.
Talk to a Zones Landscaping Specialist if you would like to find out more.
To add a bit more glamour and “Bond” factor to your home, read high end fencing and gates estimate. Even with a smaller budget, you can add a bit of security to your home with our basic fencing price guide.
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.
If you would like to discuss mid-range fencing and gate options and ideas for your outdoor renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your landscaping design and build. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.
*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Zones landscaping specialist. All Zones franchises are independently owned and operated.