ISSUE 28  |  Before and After

Hardscaping 101: Hog Wire Fences

August 10, 2016 6:00 AM

BY Ellen Jenkins

What I’ve noticed more and more lately (and admired) are hog wire panels: used for fences, gates, and trellises. A mainstay on ranches for decades, hog wire panels been discovered by homeowners and landscape designers as an affordable, low-profile solution for maintaining a wide-open view while keeping animals out. They even possess a certain elegance.


Above: A see-through hog wire gate welcomes guests to a Michigan summer house by Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp. Photograph courtesy of Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp.

What are hog wire panels?

Also called cattle or livestock panels, hog wire panels are made of steel rods welded at every intersection and galvanized with a zinc coating. Feed- and livestock-supply companies sell different styles with different rod gauges. You’ll want a heavy gauge for a longer-lasting fence that won’t sag.


Above: Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

How do you construct a hog wire fence?

Four-foot-high hog wire panels, a common size, come in 16-foot lengths, which are usually cut in half to make 8-foot sections. For posts, my local landscape contractor recommends using 4-by-4-inch pressure-treated Douglas fir, set in concrete. The stringers (or rails) at the top and bottom of the fence could be 2-by-4-inch pressure-treated fir or redwood. You can either staple the hog panels to the posts, or sandwich the panels between 1-by-1-inch pieces of redwood to hide the ends of the wire.

Most homeowners in my Northern California town are concerned about keeping deer out of gardens, so they often add a 2-by-12-inch kickboard at the bottom to make the overall fence 6 feet high. You need at least that to keep deer out.


Above:  Hog wire fence and a see-through gate creates an sense of open space. Straight wire strung above the hog panels adds height to the fence. Photograph by Ellen Jenkins.


Above: Close-up shows 1-by-1-inch redwood strips hiding the sharp edges of the wire. Photograph by Nicole Franzen for Gardenista.

Which plants grow well on a hog wire fence?

One of the nice things about a hog wire fence is that it acts as a trellis. Almost any vining plant will grow on hog wire: jasmine, clematis, potato vine, hardenbergia, and many more. Climbing roses can be tied against the wire. You’ll have a living fence in no time, if that’s what you want. The one vine that doesn’t do well on metal wire is ivy, because it uses suckers to climb.


Above: Photograph by Marie Viljoen. For more of Marie’s garden, see Rehab Diary: A Year in the Life of a Brooklyn Garden.

How much does a hog wire fence cost?

If you’re using wooden posts and rails, a hog wire fence is a little more expensive than chain-link, but costs less than a solid cedar fence. The panels come in 16-foot lengths and in heights ranging from 3 to 8 feet. For example, a 16-foot-long fence of 4-foot-high panels costs about $50 per linear foot in my area. If you’re doing the labor yourself, the fence can be quite inexpensive.

If you hire a landscaper or fencing contractor, installing a 6-foot-high wood-and-wire fence costs from $35 to $50 per running foot, depending on labor costs in your area. If you omit the 1-foot stringer at the bottom and install a 5-foot fence, the cost per running foot is about $10 less: from $25 to $40.


Above: Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

Hog Wire Fence Recap


  • Inexpensive–less than a wood fence
  • Durable and strong
  • Preserves the view
  • Flexible–can bend
  • Easy to install
  • Keeps out larger animals such as dogs and deer


  • Edges can be sharp, and must be covered with trim
  • Does not provide privacy
  • Does not deter smaller pests

Looking for a fence to repel deer? For more ideas, see A Deer-Proof Edible Garden, East Coast Edition and Elegant Deer Fencing in the Hamptons. And browse our Hardscaping 101 archives.