Fences

Fences separate gardens from walkways in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Fences separate gardens from walkways (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

It is often said that fences make good neighbors, yet fences offer much more than a friendly barrier between adjoining properties.  A lot more.  A fence can add another dimension to an existing garden bed.  A fence can create multiple rooms within a property.  A fence can add a dramatic backdrop or entryway.  A fence can separate a public area from a private one.  A fence can be practical or ornamental.  And, a fence can certainly be used to obstruct the view of prying eyes as well.

A fence divides property from a busy roadway in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A fence divides property from a busy roadway (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

I consider myself somewhat of an expert on fences, having installed, maintained and replaced hundreds of feet (with the help of my dedicated, willing and able spouse) over the last few decades.  Because we have over 1,300 feet of road frontage, and a small herd of animals, fences were a necessity the moment we moved into our country home.  That, and we live close to a busy road, so having a fence gave us a feeling of separation from the hazardous traffic.  Although we chose a low, open fence to invite sunshine and observation alike, the fence in front of our home remains esthetically appealing both to our bordering gardens and the home itself.

A fence's design can enhance its surroundings in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A fence’s design can enhance its surroundings (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

There are many things to consider when choosing a fence, but before you start looking at designs and styles, you’ll need to determine if you’re a “Do it yourselfer” or if you’ll be needing someone to install the fence for you.  Depending on the span, the cost of installation could far exceed the cost of the materials, which is why we have always opted to perform our own labor.  I won’t get into technicalities here, suffice to say if you can use a posthole digger, know how to run a string, use a level and can carry a bag of cement, you may be a candidate for self installation.  If your head is whirling with the info I’ve given, plan on hiring someone to install your fence.

A clear delineation between garden and parking area in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

This fence provides a clear delineation between garden and parking area (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Once you’ve determined who will be installing, you can start looking at various types of fences; from formal wrought iron to rustic split rail.  To decide which product will best work for you, consider your home’s style as well as the surrounding environment.  This is also the time to determine the ultimate purpose of the fence, if other than for aesthetics. For example, if you have a small cape in a country setting, perhaps a picket fence would look charming.  If you have a larger colonial in a development, you may want to consider neighboring fences and determine which styles would blend the best.  If your home is a rustic log cabin, a split rail may be the perfect accompaniment to the landscape.  However, if privacy is your ultimate goal, you’ll need to look at stockade or slatted types of concealment.

Fences help to keep your animals safe in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Fences help to keep little Endora safe (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Hand in hand with style are height considerations, and you’ll want to take the time to be sure you’re choosing accurately.  If you’ve ever driven by a small home overwhelmed by a massively tall barrier, you’ll understand the height concept.  Depending on the depth from the home to the fence line, if you go too tall with a smaller home, it will look out of proportion, and the same goes for using too short of a fence for a sizable house.  Generally speaking, a fence around 4′ tall should offer good balance for the average sized home.  However, if you need a fence to keep something in (or out), such as around a pool, you may have to go substantially higher.  The same case holds for keeping animals within, as many dogs, horses and other pets may be capable of jumping over a lower fence line.

Mother Nature's intervention caused change in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Mother Nature’s intervention created change (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Although I’m the first to admit that looks often override practicality, learn from my mistakes and decide just how much work you want to have when it comes to maintaining your new fence.  I say this with the full understanding of the monotonous, painstaking process that went into painting dozens of sections of cedar picket fence (hey, we were young . . . and obviously hadn’t remembered reading Tom Sawyer, or we would have enlisted the help of friends).  Needless to say, once you’ve painted, you’ll have to wash and repaint every two years at a minimum to keep things looking nice.  As luck would have it, a hurricane blew in a few years ago, and with the help of two enormous locusts, proceeded to flatten a long procession of our picket fence.  We took this brush with nature as an opportunity for change, and replaced it with a painted stainless steel fence, which is far easier to maintain (although I’ll admit, not nearly as beautiful as the cedar fence was).

A split rail fence works well for livestock in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A split rail fence works well for livestock (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Our horse pasture was unceremoniously fenced with wire and multiflora rose when we moved in, but as the years went by, it became more rose and less fence.  And it looked really crummy.  For some time we had refrained from replacing the fence because we thought we would have to install another high maintenance, white painted product.  However, because there is a good distance between the white picket fence and the pasture, we were able to transition to split rail; which offered little to no maintenance, provided the height we needed and kept the pastoral effect.  Our neighbors also have split rail around their property, so we compliment each other.  In addition, the split rail is easy to weed-whack around, and the rails are close enough to keep our dogs from getting out (although other dogs do squeeze in for an occasional visit).

Roses and fences go together in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Roses and fences go together like peanut butter and jelly (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

As technology has evolved, so has fencing, and I have only touched on a few of the choices presently available in the market today.  Take the time to consider each aspect of having a fence on your property; how it could enhance your yard, protect your children and animals and offer structure and beauty as well.

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Comments

  1. LOVE the pictures!! Where did you get that adorable Mini? (TeeHee) Fences,,another great idea…..

    • That adorable—and I do mean adorable–mini lives at a lovely farm in Washington Depot – – – HORSE of Connecticut – – – maybe you know it?? Ha ha! Thanks for writing Patty!

  2. Only you Kathy Diemer could make an article about fences interesting, entertaining AND educational! Who knew they could have so much personality! They are the icing on the cake! Keep up the awesome blog posts.

    • Thank you, thank you! That was a fun post for me . . . it’s been whirling about in my head for quite some time.

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