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Past Articles Library | Landscape Design: Privacy Fencing Tips

When designing a landscape there are parts of the design that are meant to be seen by the general public and ones guests.  This includes the front yard and possibly the sides of the property but what about the back.  Backyards in the past have been open spaces where children could gather and play.  Vegetable gardens abound and back porch sitting was commonplace.  Today, though, many homeowners are looking for some privacy on their very own piece of Eden, especially if you live in a subdivision.  Below are some stylish and functional solutions to the problem of “prying eyes.”

Wooden Privacy Fence

This type of can be seen all round subdivisions and consists of wooden posts pushed into the ground.  Fence panels are then attached to these posts.  While this does provide privacy, it does not distinguish one house from another.  If you are looking for a unique fence that provides privacy consider making your own.

Many different types of “wooden fences” can be made from local materials.  Cedar trees can be used as posts to create a fort-like fence when they are placed side by side.  Willow and wild grape vine can also be used in combination with the cedar to create a woven type of fence.  Using the cedar as posts and weaving the willow and wild grape vine between the posts creates this fence.  In essence the woven willow and grape vine become the fence panels. 

If you are looking for more privacy, consider using bamboo.  The “bamboo panels” can be held together with the willow and/or wild grape vine and attached to the posts. 

Chain-Link Fence

A chain-link fence is another type of fence that many homeowners have around their backyard.  It consists of a metal post that is forced into the ground.  Attached to these posts are chain-link fencing material but if you want a more designer look with additional privacy consider adding plant material.

This plant material can be in two types.  The first type consists of weaving willow, reeds, and/or grapevine into the chain-link.  The second type consists of treating the chain-link as a trellis and training plant material to grow up it. 

English ivy, clematis, morning glories along with edibles such as peas, cucumbers, grapes, and even indeterminate tomatoes can find growing up a chain-link fence delightful.  Using this technique can turn your uninteresting fence into a blooming and functional masterpiece. 

Living Fence

A living fence is different then a fence with material growing on it.  Instead, a living fence is actually living and does not have a wall structure supporting it.  An example of a living type of fence can be seen in the movie “The Shining.”  The fence material is made from boxwoods that are groomed to create a maze.  The same principles that were used to create the maze can be used to create a living fence.

The trick to using this technique is to plant the plants closer together then usual and prune them accordingly.  If you plan to use this technique consider using other plant material beyond boxwoods, such as pines and spruces.  But keep in, if year round privacy is needed, only plant evergreen type of trees.

Stone Fence

This simple fence is not your brick wall or concrete enclosure that some individuals have used to create privacy in the past.  Instead, it is a stylish addition that goes hand in hand with the surrounding environment, not against it.

To create this unique fence, one only needs three components and that is a filling material, rebar and wire-mesh.  Mark the area where you would like the fence to go with powdered milk or grass paint, such as the type used to mark off football fields.  Then, measure off the width of the wire-mesh and transfer this measurement to the ground.  These marks will indicate where the rebar needs to go.  Attach your wire-mesh to the rebar.  Repeat this process for the other side of the fence.  When finished, you will have created two layers of wire-mesh that are just waiting to be filled.

The filling itself can be just as unique as the fence.  Stone is a good choice for this type of privacy fence but do not limit yourself to this.  Explore decorative “glass stones,” broken pieces of brick, and layered glass wine bottles.  Really any decorative ‘found objects” can be used as the filling and can create a one of a kind privacy fence.

Privacy is a very important component of any landscape design, especially if one lives in a subdivision.  But before you jump on the garden cart to build you a new “privacy fence” check with your local neighborhood association and/or your city’s regulations.  Some city’s do not allow some of the ‘privacy fences” described above, so ask before you build.


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Once in a while, it is nice to just step back, admire all your hard work, and the simple beauty of nature.

So this tip is to take a deep breath, take a minute, and look around and enjoy the beauty of all these wonderful plants.

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