Why Do Chain-Link Fences Make for the Best Security Fencing?

They're Not Much to Look At, But They're Strong on Security

My picture shows why homeowners often wish to disguise chain-link fencing.
Chain-link fences are practical for security, but people frequently try to disguise them for aesthetic reasons. David Beaulieu

Readers sometimes ask me what the best security fencing is. I tell them that I recommend chain-link fences. Let's take a look here at why I issue that recommendation, as well as why I append a caveat to the advice.

Why Chain Link Is Good for Security Fencing

First of all, chain-link fences are not alone in being good for security fencing. Wrought iron, for example, is also a fine choice. But in considering cost as well as effectiveness, the fact is that chain-link fences provide homeowners with strong security, but at a cost below that of wrought iron, which is a traditional favorite of the wealthy.

But let's get into the specifics now. When using chain link for security fencing:

  1. Strive for a height of 6 feet or greater.
  2. Make sure that the thickness of the wire is at least 9-gauge.

What is it that makes both wrought iron and chain-link fences so effective in securing a property? Well, both are strong but see-through. You should avoid solid barriers when erecting security fencing. For, while a solid barrier is desirable when erecting a privacy wall or a wall designed to keep out noise, it is counterproductive for security, affording trespassers a place to hide. Thus, while wooden fences composed of tongue-and-groove boards can be great for serving as noise-barriers or keeping your yard private, homeowners are sometimes surprised to learn that they are not recommended for security fencing.  

A Caveat in Erecting Chain-Link Fences

As mentioned earlier, wrought iron is often compared and contrasted with chain link when people are choosing security fencing.

The drawback of the former is that it is more expensive. How can the additional cost be justified? Wrought iron is much more attractive than a chain-link fence. Many find the latter visually unappealing. So if you can "pay up," buying wrought iron is justifiable. But most middle-class homeowners settle for the cheaper alternative.

Some homeowners with chain-link fences try to hide them by:

  1. Growing plants that camouflage the fencing.
  2. Weaving fence slats into the fencing. 

Remember, though, that doing this will reduce the effectiveness of the chain-link fence as security fencing. The people who try to hide their chain-link fences are often those who have bought a house with the fencing already in place. They may not feel the need for security (or may simply not understand the need to keep the view open for optimal security) and are driven to disguise their chain-link fences because they find them ugly.

If you find yourself with a chain-link fence and do not feel the need for security, your best option for covering it may be with a vine. To help you pick a vine, I have provided a photo gallery with pictures of vines. For no-fuss camouflage, perennials are best. Select from the following vines based on whether the area is shady or sunny:

  1. Perennial Vines for Shade
  2. Perennial Vines for Sun

But vines are not your only choice. Here is a picture of a hedge of rose bushes hiding a chain-link fence.

If plants are too high-maintenance for you, consider the fence slats mentioned above. There are many different choices. Some run diagonally, others vertically.

They also come in a variety of colors. Do note, however, that most people find plants more attractive than fence slats. 

Thanks to the Pauls Valley, OK Police Department for tips on what makes for the best security fencing. For more food for thought on fencing, please see:

  1. Fence Line Landscaping
  2. Types of Wooden Fences
  3. Pictures of Fences