Fences have distinct personalities of their own, whether they are mainly functional or more decorative. When a property needs a fence, it can be an opportunity to make it a feature something special in the landscape.
An open patterned fence is often used when separation is needed but privacy is not. Picket and split rail fences are light and delicate. Solid fences provide privacy and security. These no-nonsense enclosures don’t need to be plain; there are many materials, colors, patterns, and finish details for added interest.
Fences often emphasize straight lines vertically and horizontally in the landscape. Yet a fence needs to address the slope of the ground. Sections of fencing can either step up or down or slope to follow the grade.
Following a curve, like along a road, the sections can zigzag perpendicular to each other, for a crisp look. Fences with curved sections must be custom designed, and they add a tailored look to any landscape.
Patterns in fences vary, from the spindles of a wrought-iron fence to the tops of pickets to the toppers of stockade fences. Lattice, cutouts, or custom patterning in the topmost section of a fence can bring a decorative element to a landscape. A good rule is to have the top pattern be no more than one-third of the overall height of the fence
above • Add some bright colors to a simple pine board fence and you create an exuberant backyard that draws you outside while providing privacy from neighbors’ eyes.
left • This board fence moves down the slope in repeating steps, while the location of the decorative Chinese-style panel stays the same.
right • Wooden fencing steps up a sloping sidewalk in regular increments. Each panel is protected by a small roof over an openwork topper. Spacers between the boards allow air to circulate into the garden. A handsome gate, halfway up the hill announces the entry.
First of all you can add a living layer to your fence by planting a vine nearby that can twine its way across it. Also grape and hops vines are vigorous growers, as are flowering favorites like clematis, trumpet vines, and wisteria. When you plant climbers on a solid board fence, you’ll need to provide small nails or screws for twining; on an openwork screen, the vines will usually weave through openings on their own.
Another way to veil a tall fence is to plant an espalier often a fruit tree that’s been trained to a flat plane in front of it.
right • This fence, made of woven steel, emphasizes the horizontal and provides structure for climbing vines.
above • Grapevine, a vigorous grower, tendrils up this slatted fence. The crisp white posts bring a clean contrast to the 3-in. boards set ½ in.
Finally This espaliered tree is composed of different apple stock grafted onto a main stem. Over time, each branch can be trained to grow along the wooden fence, bringing beauty and delight to its owner.