An attractive privacy fence can be made of one of many materials, but wood and vinyl fencing are the most common since they provide utmost privacy and an attractive fence. One concern with both of these materials is mechanical damage. This sort of damage occurs when items like lawnmowers or weed trimmers repeatedly hit the bottom of the fence. Even digging dogs can be a problem. Wood will become gouged or splinters, while vinyl may eventually crack or develop a hole. The following methods can help protect the bottom rails of your fencing from this type of damage.
Method #1: Install a sill
A sill beneath the fence creates an area where weeds and grass can't grow, which means you won't need to mow or trim near the fence anymore. Sills can also be difficult or impossible for animals to dig through, so it may solve this issue as well. You have a couple of options for a sill. Concrete is the best one if you want to ensure no plant growth and to prevent digging. Simply install concrete curbing that is a few inches wider than the fence on each side. Gravel or rock mulch is also an option, although it may not stop digging. Another option is to simply maintain a strip under the fence of bare soil or mulch, perhaps planted with annuals, which you weed by hand. This also protects against mower damage, but not digging.
Method #2: Plant a barrier
Barrier plantings along the bottom of the fence work best when you don't like the look of the bare fence bottom. These aren't as low maintenance as sills, since you will need to tend to the plants. They can also work to prevent digging, depending on the density of the planting and the persistence of the animal. Low shrubs work best in this situation. Opt for those that look best in a natural form, like butterfly bushes, if you want minimal pruning. For a more formal look, go for something like small boxwoods. These will require pruning to maintain their shape. Leave some space between the shrubs and the fence, especially if you have wooden fencing, so air can circulate and mold doesn't grow.
Method #3: Install flashing
Flashing is often used on wood but it can also be installed on vinyl. It is simply metal strips that are stapled or nailed to the bottom of the fence and the fence posts to protect against mechanical damage from lawnmowers and trimmers. Flashing won't do much to prevent digging, but it does keep animals from chewing on the bottom of the fence. Flashing is a good solution if you want something you can install quickly or if you don't want to deal with plants.
For more information about the above tips or for more ways to protect your fence, talk to a fencing contractor like Citi Fence and Concrete.