Fencing adds a decorative, finished touch to your property at the same time it keeps kids and pets in, and critters out. It also affords privacy, allowing you to wall in your own front or backyard oasis.

Naturally, most homeowners want fencing that boosts their curb appeal without breaking the bank or requiring too much upkeep. With that in mind, below is a snapshot of the most common types of fencing and a general price range to expect.

But before you just leap into picking a fence and installing it, make sure you…

Notify your town, utilities and your neighbors

Whether you’re replacing an existing fence or installing a brand new one, you’ll want to check with your town or homeowner’s association to see if there are any restrictions or zoning issues in place that would prevent you from proceeding to avoid any unpleasant surprises down the line. If you’re good to go, you may still need to pull a permit, or your installer may do it for you.

While a professional installer would most likely handle this, if you’re doing the installation yourself, be sure to contact your utility companies to ask if they can send someone out to locate water, gas and power lines before you start digging for your fence posts.

You’ll also want to let your neighbors know you’ll be installing or replacing your fence. Even if the town does not require that you do, it’s just a wise thing to do. In some cases, you may get lucky and find that a neighbor is willing to share the expense. But, in the least, it just helps to maintain a healthy relationship with your neighbor. Additionally, if you’re doing the installation yourself, you’ll want to keep in mind fencing etiquette which dictates that the more attractive sides face out.

OK, now onto the types of fencing you might consider…

Choose the right material for your budget and taste

The material you select not only impacts your curb appeal, it also affects the cost and lifespan of the fence. The following are common options and their pros and cons:

Wood offers a timeless look, which may be one reason it’s the most common material for fences. It can last up to two decades with proper maintenance. It’s also affordable at $13 to $19 per foot on average. Of course, that cost varies by the species of wood you choose. For example, cedar and tropical hardwoods will be more expensive than pine because they’re better able to withstand moisture. Treating your wood fence annually by staining it or applying sealant will help it last as long as possible.

Metal and chain link fences are also popular. This category includes aluminum, steel and wrought iron, and because those materials differ in durability, costs will typically range from $15 to $50 per linear foot to install. Though they provide a capable enclosure for children and pets, metal fencing made of cheaper material isn’t quite as attractive as wood or vinyl. Wrought iron fencing, on the other hand, is a higher-end option that makes a statement. When choosing a metal or chain like fence, you may want to select one with a vinyl coating as this will prevent the rust or corrosion that can damage and shorten the lifespan of your fence.

Vinyl fencing is another common pick. At $15 to $30 per linear foot, this material is known to withstand the test of time and the elements, making it a good long-term, low-maintenance investment. Because vinyl fencing is made from PVC plastic, it’s sturdy and built to last. Unlike wood or metal, you won’t need to worry about splitting, rotting, warping, or rusting. While you don’t need paint or stain vinyl fencing, it’s recommended that you power wash it annually so it looks its best.

Pro tip: Whichever fence material you choose, be sure to ask about a warranty.