Fencing is one means of providing the enclosure which defines the garden (see definition, below). Wooden fencing is cheap and easy to erect. The disadvantages are: (1) wood is a temporary material, even if treated with preservative (2) timber fencing does not provide the noise insulation available from a brick or stone wall (3) fencing does not have the thermal capacity of a brick or stone wall and is therefore less friendly to people and plants. The descendents of those who chose brick, instead of wood fencing, for Oxford Botanic Gardens have reason to be grateful to their predecessors. A chunky wood fence (left) is a good compromise.
With the above reservations, fencing can none the less be well-designed. The best plan is to spend a little more money and get a more substantial fence. Hardwood fencing is better than softwood fencing. For small gardens, high fencing is better than low fencing. It can be used to support climbing plants, though a heavy dose of preservative on the fence will damage plant foliage.
Definition: Garden, Yard and Garth derive from the OE geard, and older languages, meaning an enclosure. Dr Johnson gave the following definition of garden: "A piece of ground, enclosed, and cultivated with extraordinary care, planted with herbs or fruit or food, or laid out for pleasure". The key point, as Johnson emphasises, is that a garden is an enclosed place.