The Best Timber for Fencing | Modern Design

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The best timber for fencing

The best timber for fencing

The best timber for fencing should be a wood that is durable, attractive and within your budget. There are several options when it comes to garden fencing, including plastic, metal and timber fencing. If you love the style of wooden fencing then read on to find out the best timber type for your needs.

Hardwood vs softwood

Timber is divided into two kinds of wood; softwood and hardwood. It’s good to know the difference as the woods in these two categories have similar characteristics, that determine their properties for timber use. 

Hardwood Fencing

In general, hardwoods come from deciduous trees that lose their leaves at a certain point in the year. Oak, Teak and Iroko are examples of these woods that are frequently used for timber fencing. As the name suggests, hardwood is typically harder with a close grain, this makes it very durable and less prone to damage. This hardness also makes them a lot heavier which can make these woods harder to work with and in the case of fencing more difficult to install. The fact that deciduous trees take a lot longer to grow plus the more intensive work needed to produce the timber makes hardwoods more expensive than softwoods. From a design aspect, hardwoods tend to be darker in hue and are often chosen for their striking woodgrains. 

Softwood fencing

Softwoods come from evergreen trees that keep their leaves, including pines and ferns, throughout the year. Pine, larch and spruce are common softwoods used for fencing. Softwoods are usually softer (but not always) which makes them easier to work with resulting in lower manufacturing costs. When compared to deciduous trees, evergreens grow more rapidly, making them a more affordable option for fencing. Softwoods are lighter in weight and lighter in colour, so they are more adaptable when it comes to different designs and styles.

Best Timber for your fencing

The best material for your fencing is one that is long-lasting. Hardwoods are naturally durable but softwoods are able to last as long, if not longer when pre-treated in the right way. Both hardwoods and softwoods will benefit from continued treatment protections throughout the years to prolong their life. 

Local weather

Hardwoods are naturally fire resistance which makes them ideal for hot climates where forest and bush fires are common. Luckily, that’s one thing we don’t have to worry about in the British climate. In the wet and windy weather of the UK, you need to worry more about rot than fires. When purchasing fencing, it’s best to select a tanalised timber. This is wood that has been pressure treated with a wood preservative that guards against rot and decay. Timber will naturally weather over time no matter the climate but as long as the core structure remains rot-free and intact you will enjoy many years of service.


As a natural product, wood is susceptible to flora and fauna as much as it is to wind and rain. If inspects decide to make their home in some garden fencing it will quickly introduce plants and fungi into the mix and result in rot. As with weather protection, the best solution is preventative. Tanalised timber not only protects against wood decay but also insect attack. Fortunately, Britain is not home to the invasive termites from across the pond that are known for destroying timber throughout home and garden. However, we do have woodworm and other species that can wreak havoc so it’s still important to ensure your timber choice is protected against insects.

The environmental perspective

If you are conscious of the environmental impact of the timber you choose, then softwood would be the preferred choice. As evergreens are fast-growing, they can be more easily replanted and will mature at a swifter rate than hardwoods. Deciduous trees absorb higher amounts of carbon than conifers, so if they are cut down they will release more carbon into the atmosphere adding to climate change. Although Softwoods are the better options environmentally, they also need to be from sustainable sources. Ensure all timbers have FSC certification which ensures materials are produced from well-managed forests and/or recycled sources. At Contemporary Garden, all our timber is FSC certified and is sourced from sustainably managed woodlands in the UK.


At the end of the day, you need to make a choice that’s within your budget. Comparing hardwood and softwood features, they both can be long-lasting and durable. Though hardwoods can offer some unique deep colours and impressive woodgrains, softwoods are more adaptable and can offer a wide array of styles and colours. Hardwoods are higher priced than softwoods, so if you are looking to stick to the low to medium end of costs, softwood will be preferable. There are many different price points for fencing, so we have written a more in-depth article on the cost of garden fencing.

What timber do we choose?

With over 35 years of experience in the fencing industry, we’ve seen it all when it comes to fences. We chose softwoods for the majority of our timber products because it provides an affordable option to our customers combined with the contemporary design flare they’ve come to expect. All our items are made from pressure treated softwood, a mixture of pine and larch. Our tanalised timber is treated to ISO9001 standards which means it comes with a 15-year guarantee against rot. 

If you want to learn more about our softwood products please contact us. You can call us on the following number 0114303052 or email us at You can also visit our FAQ page for further information.