A compound wall serves to
demarcate the site, protect one's property, ensure privacy and enhance
aesthetic appeal. The most important reason for having a fence is security. Not
only does a fence prevent encroachers from moving into your property but also
effectively restricts entry into your space. Most city houses are independent
units and therefore invariably have their compound walls.
Fencing t ensures privacy to the residents. Whether it is a 12 ft compound wall
further reinforced by a chain link fence or a screen wall within the property
that restricts access to certain spaces such as swimming pool and party areas,
the height and location of these structures are decided on the basis of the
privacy needs of the resident.
The most commonly used fencing option is the compound wall made of concrete.
Other options include timber, picket fences that are also wood-based, wrought
iron fences and natural hedges. The best designs combine these options, though
the guiding rule is not to deviate too far from the base material used in the
construction of the building. For example, a timber reinforced gate or the use
of timber over the compound wall, which has risen to a certain height, is a
A brick and mortar wall allows private properties to screen themselves from the
road, in terms of visibility, dust and noise pollution. It is also necessary to
shield the ground floor of the house from the street and therefore the front
fence should be of a height that will fulfill this condition. Stonewalls are
gaining popularity in cities, basically because it presents a strong exterior,
is long standing if the foundation is good and requires absolutely no
maintenance. But then this solid, stable and permanent barrier does not come
The stone used for walls can be roughly grouped into four types. Field stone is
any irregularly shaped, unquarried stone found in or
on the ground. Rubble is broken residue from stone sawing operations. Flagstone
is stone that is so evenly stratified that it splits naturally into flat
pieces. And cut stone is stone that has been shaped and dressed with a saw or a
The two basic classes of stone walls are rubble and ashlar.
Rubble walls are constructed from stone, which are minimally dressed, or not
dressed at all, while ashlar walls have carefully
crafted stone and close fitting joints as opposed to the wide joints of the
Natural fencing or hedges in the form of medium-high shrubbery is a good option
if one needs fencing but do not want to be bound in by a concrete compound
wall. Waist-high hedges generally do not obstruct the view of the building and
hence are a viable option. So are railings of about 3 ft height. They again
allow a free view of the property but however may not be suitable for
Wood is another fencing option, not very popular in India and definitely not in Indian
cities. It is a very common means of dividing the front garden from the street
in the West and can be used in the Indian context if and only if the security
of the property is otherwise taken care of.
Rough wooden fencing is particularly suited to an informal garden. It makes an
attractive natural background for flowers and shrubs and is a good support for
climbers and most importantly, requires little or no maintenance. In city
surroundings, this fence can be built in the rear side of the house as it is
basically a private zone and the fence itself is shared with the neighbour and rarely exposed to the road.
Another popular fencing option is concrete pre-cast walls. While they are
definitely attractive they are more suited to internal demarcations of activity
zones rather than the boundaries. They are ideal material for screen walls.