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Fence vs. Guard: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 2, 2023
A fence is a barrier enclosing an area for security or privacy, while a guard is a person or device that protects or watches over something or someone.

Key Differences

A fence is typically a structure made of wood, metal, or another material designed to enclose a piece of land. In contrast, a guard refers to an individual or group whose responsibility is to protect or to oversee the security of people or property.
Fences serve the purpose of marking boundaries and preventing unwanted access to or from the enclosed area. Guards, on the other hand, are tasked with the active role of protection, whether it be through surveillance, patrolling, or controlling access.
The function of a fence is largely passive; once erected, it provides continuous enclosure without the need for active involvement. Guards require training and must be vigilant, making their role more dynamic and responsive to potential threats.
Fences can be found around homes, farms, industrial areas, and more, acting as a physical barrier to entry or exit. Guards can be found in various settings, from security personnel at malls to bodyguards for VIPs, and their presence is often a deterrent to unlawful behavior.
While a fence is a permanent or semi-permanent structure that requires maintenance to retain its integrity, a guard’s effectiveness is based on their presence, skills, and the actions they take to prevent harm or respond to incidents.

Comparison Chart

Primary Function

Encloses and secures an area.
Protects and watches over something or someone.


Inanimate object.
Can be a person or a system.


Passive defense.
Active defense and surveillance.


Made of wood, metal, etc.
Comprises individuals or security systems.


Long-term and static.
Dependent on active duty or operational life of the system.

Fence and Guard Definitions


A divider between two pieces of property.
The neighbors agreed to split the cost of the new fence on the property line.


A position in sports to defend against opponents.
He plays guard on the basketball team.


A barrier enclosing a specific area.
They installed a tall fence around the garden to keep deer out.


A device designed to protect or cover.
She installed a guard over the fan for safety.


An obstacle or barrier in sports.
The outfielder jumped the fence to catch the ball.


A protective posture or stance.
The boxer kept his guard up to avoid a knockout punch.


A structure used for privacy or security.
We put up a privacy fence to block the view from the street.


A person who protects property or individuals.
The museum hired a new guard to watch over the exhibit.


Someone who deals in stolen goods.
The stolen jewels were sold to a fence downtown.


The act of keeping watch or being vigilant.
The soldier stood guard at the gate throughout the night.


A structure serving as an enclosure, a barrier, or a boundary, usually made of posts or stakes joined together by boards, wire, or rails.


To watch over (a place or person, for example) in order to keep from being damaged, robbed, or injured
Guard a bank.
Guarding a witness.


An adjustable guide with a flat edge used on a table saw and positioned parallel to the plane of the cutting attachment in order to keep the board properly positioned for the cut to be made at the correct distance from the board's edge.


To supervise the entry and exit through; keep watch at
Guard a door.


What materials are fences made from?

Fences can be made from wood, metal, vinyl, and various other materials.

Are fences used for privacy?

Yes, fences are often used for privacy, especially around residential properties.

What is a fence?

A fence is a structure that surrounds or encloses an area to provide privacy, security, or mark a boundary.

What does a guard do?

A guard is responsible for the protection of property, people, or premises.

Is a guard always armed?

Not necessarily; guards may be armed or unarmed depending on their role and the requirements of their job.

Are fences only used outdoors?

While they are primarily used outdoors, fences can also be used indoors for creating partitions.

Can a guard be an object?

Yes, in addition to being a person, a guard can also refer to devices or features designed to protect or secure.

Do fences require maintenance?

Yes, fences do require maintenance to keep them in good condition and fulfill their purpose.

What kind of training does a guard need?

Guards often require security training and may need specialized training depending on their specific role.

Can guards detain people?

Yes, certain types of guards, like security guards, may have the authority to detain individuals under specific circumstances.

Do guards work alone?

Guards can work alone or as part of a security team, depending on the job.

What is a fence used for in sports?

In sports, a fence can serve as a boundary or protective barrier for spectators.

How tall can a fence be?

The height of a fence can vary and is often regulated by local zoning laws.

What’s the difference between a guard and a watchman?

The terms are often used interchangeably, but "watchman" can imply a focus on observation rather than active intervention.

Are fences allowed in all residential areas?

Fence regulations can vary by location, and some areas have specific guidelines on the type and height of fences allowed.

Can fences be decorative?

Yes, fences can be both functional and decorative, adding aesthetic appeal to a property.

Do all guards wear uniforms?

Many guards wear uniforms, but some may wear plain clothes, especially if they are involved in covert security operations.

What is the role of a lifeguard?

A lifeguard's role is to oversee the safety of swimmers and respond to emergencies.

Can a fence be electric?

Yes, there are electric fences designed to provide a deterrent shock to prevent crossing the boundary.

Can a guard be a software?

Yes, in cybersecurity, a guard refers to software that monitors and protects against unauthorized access or attacks.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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