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Quote of the Day: Fences

March 6th, 2011

Put a fence or wall around a garden and there’s now an inside and an outside. You’ve set off private from public and defined the garden’s limits. There’s a sense of belonging and of ownership, of stewardship over the land that the walls encompass. You’ve also defined the scope of your work and delineated the size of your canvas.

Linda Joan Smith (Smith & Hawken Garden Structures)

I love fences, of all shapes and sizes. There’s just something wonderful about a fence enclosing a garden, this quote is very true, it define’s the garden’s limits. I love how fences hide part of the garden, they almost beckon you to peek over. You know you’ll find blooms and lovely things hiding on the other side.

We have a fence along part of one of our property lines. The previous owners installed it and did it very poorly. We’ve taken down part of the fence because it was leaning heavily to one side and we plan on removing the rest of it. It’s a plain wooden picket fence, which is actually quite nice in the garden.

Whenever we’re out driving around I find myself drawn to gardens with fences. Here are a few images of fences I’ve collected during my travels including:

Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine. It’s simple and utilitarian, yet beautiful in it’s own way, mostly because the setting behind it is so extraordinary.

I’m particularly drawn to stone fences/walls for some reason, probably because of the amount of this we have around Chiot’s Run. Whenever I think of stone garden enclosures I automatically thing of the Nearing’s Forrest Farm.

White fences are very classic and always lovely no matter what they surround. I really liked the ones at Ash Lawn Highland that surrounded the pastures and the kitchen garden.

I couldn’t forget to mention the huge fence installed by Thomas Jefferson around the vegetables garden at Monticello. This is the kind I really need around Chiot’s Run to protect us from all those deer.

Fences come in all shapes and sizes and can be made of just about anything, from old drift wood or saplings to neatly clipped shrubs. I really want to install a fence around my garden here at Chiot’s Run, I just need to settle on the materials and the design. I guess since I pretty much love all fences I probably will love whatever I end up putting in.

Do you have a fence around your garden? What’s your favorite type of fence?

16 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Fences”
  1. Jennifer Fisk on March 6, 2011 at 7:40 am

    My garden space is the result of having an excavator remove all the granite from the blasting of the cellar hole and replacing it with soil. The normally occuring large rocks, that are so prevalent in New England and here in Maine, keep working their way to the surface. I have used them to form an informal stone wall around my garden. This gives the dogs a boundary of a space they cannot enter anytime there isn’t snow on it I plant flowers to drape over the rocks. The only drawback is it is a good place for slugs to live.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

    • Susy on March 6, 2011 at 8:22 am

      I love New England stone walls, I’m considering this since I too have many stones in the soil here.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Nebraska Dave on March 6, 2011 at 9:51 am

    My favorite walls are the stone walls. However here in Nebraska there are no stones in the dirt which makes a stone wall some what difficult to build. There are quarries where one can find limestone flat rocks to build walls and I see many built from those hauled in rocks in my neighborhood. Most are be replaced with the concrete manufactured retaining wall blocks. These retaining wall blocks have the look of a stone wall and I kind of like them. So the many wall projects that I have planned with make use of them. Eventually I will have a block wall around my garden but I have another five years of two raised beds a year expansion to do before thinking about that.

    Have a great fence or wall day.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

    • Jennifer Fisk on March 6, 2011 at 8:28 pm

      OMG, I can’t imagine a garden with no rocks. I can’t imagine my woods without big rocks. I can’t imagine the neighborhood without boulders. Oh well, that is what happens when your home is on what was the receeding edge of a glacier.

      Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  3. Sherry on March 6, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Those are such gorgeous photos, I feel the same way about fences as you. I love them even better when they show their history and have a run-down look to them. I have plans to try and weave willow or saplings into the less than inspirational chain-link in my small backyard. I can’t wait to see what you do!

    Reply to Sherry's comment

  4. tj on March 6, 2011 at 10:02 am

    …I too love a fenced in garden. I love that you can plant flowers around the perimeter and ‘dress up’ a vegetable garden and to me it ‘defines’ the garden, it gives it that “oomph!” that makes people take notice…I like that.

    …With that being said, I am wanting to fence in our garden spot this summer. I have a large pumpkin patch that is attached to our garden spot on the other side of our grape arbor, problem is do I fence in just the veggie part of the garden or encompass the entire thing? Decisions, decisions…lol ;o)

    …Great photos you two! I agree about the stone walls too, those are my fav’. Those antique stone walls are an art form all on their own too!

    …Enjoy your Sunday and blessings too… :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

  5. Mary W on March 6, 2011 at 10:32 am

    As soon as I saw the Ash Lawn fence, I knew it was a fence from the mid-Atlantic. The look of fences is very regional. When we were in Finland last summer, the fences were built with long split rails placed diagonally between the posts.

    Our fence is very plain. 4×4 posts and board rails. It took me several years to complete it–I couldn’t quite figure out how to do the gates. It’s kept the dog in and the deer out and it’s still in pretty good shape after 10 years.

    My favorite type of wall is stacked stone. It reminds me of New England and Scotland.

    Reply to Mary W's comment

  6. Lynda on March 6, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I too love fences…there was a beautiful fenced garden on our way to our favorite vacation spot when I was I kid…I knew when I saw the fence we were almost there. I had to fence in my vegetable garden to keep the chickens out…not a very pretty fence, but I’ve started planting climbing berries and lots of flowers on the outside…maybe this year it will look a bit more welcoming.

    Reply to Lynda's comment

  7. amy on March 6, 2011 at 11:37 am

    We have split rail, picket, wire and the beginnings of a stone fence(inspired long ago by the Nearings but not having nearly their enthusiasm…I have pathetically added to it off and on over the years:) Some of the fences are for keeping our dogs in and some of the fences are for keeping our other livestock out of the gardens. And some of the fences….”In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
    He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
    Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
    He will not go behind his father’s saying,
    And he likes having thought of it so well
    He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Mr. Frost

    Reply to amy's comment

  8. marcyincny on March 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    We have all manner of fences and walls serving a variety of purposes but the one I like best for the kitchen garden is this construction:

    It’s enough to keep out the rabbits but still leaves the garden fully visible.

    Reply to marcyincny's comment

    • Susy on March 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm

      I really like that one Marcy, it’s beautiful and very useful for keeping pests out of the kitchen garden!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Dave on March 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I’m finding myself in the same boat trying to decide on a fence for our vegetable garden to keep the deer out. I want it to look great but also keep the animals away from the veggies so height is imperative! I love the first picture with the coneflowers around the fence.

    Reply to Dave's comment

  10. Sincerely, Emily on March 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I like all types of fences especially anything that will keep the deer out of the back yard and the garden no matter what it is made of. Ours are nothing attractive, but functional. Most of the backyard was fenced in when we bought the house, we replaced a few sections. When we put in the veg garden we used the same type of fencing – metal posts and metal fencing. It works. It is not pretty, but it works. Emily

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  11. camille on March 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I live in Illinois, and have recently found your blog. And love it! We have fenced off quit a bit of our 12 acres. I could go on for ever, about the fencing I have, and plan to do. But to keep it short…
    The first five acres, around our house is, 6 foot fencing. The front fence line/gate, is 6′ wooden picket fence. And to save money, we did the sides, 6′ roll out wire with wooden posts.
    In the house area, there is also a 40’x125′ kitchen garden. And a chicken house, with 10′ long run. I have other gardens outside the kitchen garden. But there already was a fence, around the kitchen garden, when we moved in. We replaced it 3 foot woven wire.
    With the back 7 acres. Six of the acres perimeters is fenced with about 5 feet, wire cattle panels. The other acre is woods..we plan to fence. With in the six aces, there are two lakes. And three large pastures. Made with the 5′ wire cattle panels, and metal posts. With in the six acres, we plan to fence off more pastures, for my angora goats.
    There was some crap fencing here and there, when we moved in, 10 years ago. But we tore it down, and put in the new fencing ourselves. I like the fencing because, it helps make the outdoors areas more like garden rooms. That it for now! I tried to keep it short. But as I said I could go on for ever!

    Reply to camille's comment

  12. MAYBELLINE on March 6, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    I have white rail fence/arbor and on the opposite side a brick wall. The other 2 sides are painted, scalloped wood.

    Beautiful photos.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  13. Louise on March 6, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    We have a colonial style home, and I was looking at our options to enclose the front yard to create a courtyard. Since you like colonial as well, check out this link for ideas (select galleries). Hope you can get additional ideas from the site as I did.

    Oh, and check with your city to find out what restrictions there might be when it comes to property fences. I just found out there are plenty of restrictions and city easements our city enforces. One of which is an 8 ft. easement into our property line.

    Reply to Louise's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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