When it comes to pools, most homeowners consider the safety of children throughout the neighborhood and decide whether or not they need to install a pool fence. However, do you realize that animals are also drawn to pools and risk drowning? Installing a pool fence could prevent you from waking up to an unpleasant scene in your backyard. Here are some safety tips for building a pool fence for animal safety.
Build a Separate Pool Fence
All homes that have pools are required to have a 4 foot (or higher) fence. However, many homeowners use their backyard fence to pass that regulation. While the fence between you and your neighbor provides some animal safety, your pets still have easy access to the pool. One of these options should be incorporated into your backyard for added safety:
- Build Around the Pool's Perimeter: If you purchase a glass or mesh pool fence, this is probably the option you'll use. These fences allow you to see into the pool area but don't interfere with your yard's landscaping. The fence easily blends into your backyard and separates as little yard space as possible so your pets have a lot of room to run and play.
- Divide Your Yard: This option is nice if you want to use the same fencing materials as the rest of your yard. You can purchase the same supplies and maintain both fences simultaneously. When you divide your yard, you have a separate place for hosting parties. The pet area is also clearly defined and your animals know that the pool is off-limits.
Don't Use a Climbable Material
Your neighbor's pets and your own are pretty safe with a separate pool fence, but you also need to consider how wild animals gain access to your pool. Some fencing materials are more suited to keeping wild animals out than others. The best thing to do is find a fence that is difficult to climb. Compare the strengths and weaknesses of each of these fences to determine what suits you best:
- Glass Fencing: Glass is stunning, durable, and fairly secure. Since glass panels extend all the way to the ground, even small animals such as frogs, snakes, and mice have a difficult time accessing your pool. The drawback for this fence is that building supplies are the most expensive and the glass has to be constantly cleaned.
- Mesh Fencing: Mesh fences are designed for pool safety. They extend low to the ground and the mesh is difficult for animals to climb. The material isn't stiff, so animals have a hard time pulling themselves up on the mesh. The main drawback with mesh is that most of the fence needs to be installed on a solid surface such as concrete or brick.
- Aluminum: Aluminum fences look elegant around pools. However, they can be climbed by wild animals such as raccoons and large rodents who might be able to use the horizontal rails like steps. If you do go with this option for its aesthetic appeal, don't space vertical rails more than 2 inches apart or animals will be able to fit through the bars.
- Vinyl: Vinyl fencing uses low-maintenance supplies (it won't rust or corrode despite its proximity to water and chlorine). Use caution with this option, however, because animals can climb these fences as well. Follow the same guidelines with vinyl as you do with aluminum. Also make sure that the lowest horizontal slat is less than 4 inches off the ground to discourage frogs and other small animals.
- Wood: Wood fences are best employed to divide the yard. You don't want them too close to the pool because they corrode more quickly with exposure to water and chemicals. However, they are difficult for animals to climb because they extend all the way to the ground and don't have gaps between rails. Wild animals might even overlook your yard because they won't be able to see the pool.
Building a pool fence will ensure the safety of the animals around you. Whether or not you have pets, keep in mind that neighborhood pets and wild animals might try to stop in for a drink if your pool isn't adequately closed off. When considering which type of fence supplies to purchase, get more information about local wildlife and how your pool fence can deter them from your pool.