Fine Fences

Have you noticed that fences are going horizontal? I have and I like it.

fence2 fence

It could just be me but I feel horizontal fences convey a friendlier note of boundary delineation than vertical fences.

There’s something new about them; something a little bit exciting and unexpected, surprising if you will.

Horizontal is a position of comfort; we lay out bodies down, horizontal with the earth. The horizon, where days begin and end. Horizontal seems in harmony with the planet earth, the way streams flow and clouds pass overhead.

Trees are vertical but they are often inaccessible, unless one is so inclined to venture up a trees’ branches. Much more enticing, to me anyway, is to lay down, horizontal beneath the branches of a tree and stare up into the sky.

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Small choices, like the direction of the wood in a fence, can have a huge impact on the curb appeal of your home. Just like choosing the right colors to paint your home, the message you consciously, or not, express to the world will impact how the world sees and responds to you.

This simple truism is applicable to life in general as well. Afterall, how we live our lives is affected in great measure by how we view ourselves and the world around us.

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This fence was also a pleasant surprise to find. It reminds me of a purse a good friend gave me. And the fact that it provides a lot of privacy for the homeowner, it doesn’t do so by sacrificing my experience of the fence. My view isn’t compromised so that the folks on the other side can be left alone.

The fence says to me, the people who live here value their privacy but they also want me to feel valued. So they’ve come up with a creative solution that fulfills their need and respects my feelings.

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This fence not only cares about privacy, it also cares about the trees growing around the house. After all, why shouldn’t these tall trees be incorporated into the fence? Do they not provide the same space delineation as the rest of the fence? And what does this fence say about the people who live inside that house on the other side? Do I like them? Would I want to get to know them? If my kid’s ball landed in their yard, would I feel okay to knock on their door to retrieve it?

This particular fence makes me want to know the people who live inside that house. I know I will like them and I have a strong feeling, they will be kind to me because they are kind to their trees.

Am I crazy? Do you think I’m reading too much into a fence? How else do we navigate in and around this world we all share if we fail to read and respond to unspoken messages? They’re all out there and they’re all putting across some message of warmth or fear, don’t we have a natural tendency to read all that we can so we know how to proceed? I think so.

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This fence is another example of a friendly fence. Clearly people passing by are more than welcome to have a peek at what lies on the other side. In this case, its a pretty garden.

I also like the trouble the owners went to to create the scallop shape at the top of the fence. Another detail one doesn’t see too often in fences like this. Again, the owners of this property took into consideration the message they wanted to convey to their neighbors and the world. Which is, this is our house, this is our yard, we enjoy it and we hope you do too but it is our private space so please, don’t come in. Or something less wordy but to the same point.

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This lovely fence, like the one above, invites inspection. The staggering height and planter box in front, make the experience playful and well as utilitarian. The uneven spacing of the various width of slats, all express a message of haphazard order. Randomly intentional. Fun and functional. A low fence that allows persons of all sizes to enjoy, discover and observe it’s request for minimal privacy.


Another notable item about this fence is the planter box mentioned above. As you can see, the owners not only took care to create a colorful garden on the opposite side of the fence, they went so far as to soften the effect of the fence by adding a small, horizontal garden on my side as well. It’s this understated thoughtfulness, that makes me happy to have this person for a neighbor.

Finally, we have the most popular, and typical fence around my parts. A vertical, tightly fitted wooden fence topped by horizontal lattice.

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What makes this sample so nice is the color the fence has been stained. Rather than letting the whole thing turn prematurely gray, the owners treated the fence to a heavy dose of wood stain. The warm golden glow of the wood adds a nice touch to what would otherwise be a boring fence. Also the pretty and delicate white flowers soften the height and strength of the fence turning a message of, keep out, into one that says, we value our privacy but we also care about you so check out our pretty yellow fence and white flowers!

Until tomorrow, I remain your design detective,


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