Athletic field fencing can serve a variety of functions, from controlling crowds and supporting security efforts to delineating separate sporting fields, creating distinct areas (like dugouts and spectator sections), and ensuring the safety of players and fans alike. Therefore, the right fencing design and solution for your application will depend on a number of factors related to the sport(s) and needs at hand.
Let’s take a look at what types of athletic field fencing are most common, as well as some other important considerations for this kind of fencing installation.
Common Types of Athletic Field Fencing
The most widely used type of fencing for athletic fields is chain link, given its versatility, durability and economical cost. Surprisingly difficult to scale or break through, chain link fencing also provides a certain level of visibility that’s crucial in an athletic setting, particularly those that entertain spectators. A low-maintenance solution, chain link fencing can be easily repaired by retying the links or replacing the panels. All of these factors make chain link an excellent and popular choice for athletic field fencing, and it is accessible in the following material varieties:
- Steel: There’s a considerable amount of strength and durability associated with steel as a fencing material, and it’s less prone to damage than other types, like aluminum or vinyl. Galvanized and coated steel fencing is particularly weather-resistant, thereby necessitating less frequent repairs and replacements.
- Aluminum: While not as strong as steel, aluminum boasts the benefits of versatility, resistance to corrosion and lightweightedness. It is more environmentally friendly and can be applied to lots of types of athletic field fencing.
- Vinyl Coated: This means the fence is woven with galvanized steel wire and then coated in vinyl, which consists of synthetic resin or plastic. Vinyl helps prevent the occurrence of damage like scratches, rust and corrosion. It is easy to maintain, long-lasting and less industrial-looking.
Another common type of athletic field fencing is ornamental commercial-grade aluminum or steel. These options support the fencing structure’s strength and stability while offering a more enhanced visual aesthetic than that of industrial aluminum or steel. Ornamental fences complement various stadium and athletic field designs and can create an attractive look, which is especially favorable in areas facing roads or entrances to the athletic field.
3 Factors for Determining Fencing Design
Making a decision about the type and design of athletic field fencing to employ for your project involves honing in on three main elements:
- PURPOSE: What purpose(s) will the fencing structure be implemented to fulfill? This is a critical question to ask, as the answer lends direction to the type of material and design components necessary to meet your requirements. Will the fence serve as a general perimeter to the field? Or are there more specific functions, like designating player areas, creating boundaries, protecting spectators from balls and equipment, controlling crowds and securing access points?
- HEIGHT: Once you know your purpose, you can garner a clearer idea of what height requirements should be applied. If, for example, the fencing is a simple enclosure to set off the perimeter of the athletic field, you probably don’t need to erect something with a lot of height. If, on the other hand, your fencing structure will serve to protect fans or nearby vehicles from foul balls, flying equipment or other hazards, you’re going to need to make height a major consideration. Note that with specs involving greater height comes more installation factors, such as increased depth of post digging and other structural implications.
- STRENGTH & DURABILITY: Again, this element circles back to purpose. The purpose of your athletic field fencing will dictate its strength and durability needs. And that is likely to vary depending on the type of sport you’re dealing with. Sports that involve potential impact with the fence (from people or equipment) will likely require more durable materials.
Fencing Considerations by Sport
There are some fencing design considerations that vary by sport, so here’s a brief overview of how you might approach your athletic field fencing based on its sports category.
- Baseball & Softball: One major distinction to consider for baseball or softball field fencing is the dangerous speed with which equipment can fly through the air. Most obviously, we’re talking about a hit or thrown ball, but there’s also the potential for a bat to slip out of a hitter’s grip. In terms of height, you’re looking at around four to six feet for field perimeter fencing, plus possible padding on the top rail for outfield players who may collide into it. Backstops will likely reach 25 feet or more. Dugouts and bullpens have more specific railing and enclosure requirements, and may necessitate privacy screens. Also, consider your field’s needs for additional features like a backstop behind home plate or a batter’s eye along the outfield fence.
- Football & Track: While these are two very separate sports, it is the case that many middle, high and collegiate schools build their running track around their football field. Just as with the baseball or softball field, the height of a perimeter fence around a football and track field should reach at least four feet. Consider where entrances/exits will need to be located, with designated access for not only the athletes and spectators, but also the lawn and maintenance vehicles. Some properties apply ornamental fencing or vinyl coated chain link for these types of fields to present a more attractive aesthetic. In addition to the fencing structures, it’s important to work with an experienced team of professionals who understand the unique process for ensuring a safe, durable installation of goal posts on the football field.
- Tennis: Fences for tennis courts require greater height specs, such as in the ten-foot range—which will likely necessitate a horizontal rail placed midway between the top and bottom. Tennis court fencing is often coated in vinyl or galvanized with mesh steel. Think about a fencing design that protects against strong winds during play and prevents the tennis balls from getting wedged between the spacing by applying the appropriate gauge of fence mesh or material. We usually recommend a vinyl-coated chain link fence with a 1¾-inch by 8 gauge by 10-foot wire mesh finished in Class 2B vinyl coating. It’s also important to ensure proper railings that keep balls from rolling off the court.
With this deeper insight into the athletic field fencing options available for your property, you’re better equipped to make an informed decision based on individual needs. Be sure to contract the services of an experienced fencing partner for expert recommendations on specific applications, site grading concerns, creative solutions and the best methods to employ based on an evaluation of site-specific details.
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