Garden Fencing

The best material for your garden fence: Steel vs Timber vs PVC

published on 11 July 2022
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Choosing the best garden material for your fence can be less complex than you think when you are clear about why you need a fence. Determining the objective of your fence and defining your budget can assist you in deciding which of the different types of garden material will best fulfil your requirements. Here are the most common purposes of installing a garden fence:

  • Privacy: A visual barrier between your garden and your neighbours.
  • Security: Keep your children and pets safe.
  • Screening: Fencing can act as a sound barrier or a windbreak.
  • Aesthetics: Fences can add to the appearance of your garden.
  • Budget: Your budget also plays a role in determining the garden material you use.
Flat pack fence panels

Choosing the best garden material: Most popular types of fencing

Whether replacing an old fence or installing a new one, choosing the most suitable garden material is crucial. Each fencing material has benefits and drawbacks and, together with other essential aspects like budget, planning requirements, climate, and location, will influence your final choice. Wood, PVC, and Steel are the most common types of fences, and here are the main differences between them:


Wooden fences can be either cheap or expensive, depending on their ecological validity. Although they may be the only acceptable option in some situations where local housing regulations and listed buildings may insist on wood, sustainable wood production can increase the cost of the garden material. Besides, you hardly ever know the actual quality of the fence until the installation is complete, and maintenance costs over the fence’s lifetime can be high due to low quality.


  • Variety of styles and designs
  • Natural look
  • Can be painted and gain a different look


  • Requires frequent maintenance
  • Can be damaged by the weather conditions and look shabby
  • Can be damaged by insects
  • Shorter lifetime
  • Failure of wooden fence posts can cause fence panels to fall, resulting in property and garden damage


PVC/Vinyl fencing materials have become very popular, replacing wooden fences in large areas of the US. However, this type of garden material is not the best option in most European regions due to its lack of complete climate adaptability. In colder climates, such as in Ireland, PVC/Vinyl fences may contract and become brittle under humid circumstances, developing algae stains and mildew. Although maintenance-free, PVC/Vinyl fences’ purchase and installation can be costly.


  • Maintenance-free as it does not require repainting
  • Wood-like appearance from afar
  • Child-friendly as it does not splint


  • Inability to change the fence’s appearance
  • Prone to algae and mildew
  • Changes in temperature can make PVC brittle and liable to damage
  • Plastic-look the closer you get to it
  • Disposal costs can be high

Steel Fencing

Steel fencing has replaced wrought iron as the preferred type of garden material for fencing. Like wrought iron, steel fencing is an extremely durable and high-quality material. Although the initial cost can be higher than the above options, steel fences last much longer, making them a cost-effective long-term solution.


  • Aesthetically robust and durable
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Can withstand harsh weather conditions and do not rot
  • Offers great protection


  • Initial costs can be higher
  • Because of the installation requirements, most steel fences are not DIY
smartfence DIY Garden Fences

SmartFence and EliteFence: high-quality garden material

Unlike most steel fences in the market, SmartFence and EliteFence are DIY-friendly and can be assembled on your own. Perfect for new fence build, EliteFence is a bespoke metal fence that is available in a range of widths and heights to suit all garden shapes and sizes. On the other hand, if your garden doesn’t require custom fencing, SmartFence is the ideal solution, with flat-packed fencing panels that you can assemble on your own in a matter of minutes.

Both EliteFence and SmartFence panels are complete solutions made from robust hard-wearing steel, ensuring stability and tenacity during high winds and adverse weather conditions. They have superior durable abrasion-resistant front and back colour coating. In addition, they also come with a 20-year guarantee, and the required posts for installation are delivered with the product.

Steel fencing is undoubtedly top-quality garden material. With EliteFence and SmartFence, we deliver more than a durable product; we provide service quality, style, and a beautiful finish in a wide range of contemporary colours.

Get in touch with Elite Garden

Looking for a modern and robust custom metal fence made for your specific garden size, delivered straight to your home? Contact us and get a quote today. Alternatively, SmartFence is available nationwide so you can simply go to your nearest DIY store and pick-up your SmartFence today!