opening a view - with a slope!

traceycApril 23, 2013

Hi there, I'm hoping for some enlightenment with regards to a project in my garden. I have a long half acre block which slopes east to west, ie on the side of a hill. The top garden is mostly cottage in style to match the house, with heritage wire fences, red brick paths and stone retaining walls. The garden leads down to a paddock, backing onto bushland. An old and horrible fence with central gate leads to the beyond. A tree fell in the right corner of this fence recently and after it's removal I decided to take out the huge and overgrown rose bushes covering this fence. I'm hoping to add a touch of formality and open the top garden to the view of the paddock with a lonicera nitida hedge along the perimeter in front of the ugly fence which will be removed. I need a closable boundary to the paddock to keep animals in/out so looking to replace this fence but not sure a. what to use (taking in account light requirements so the hedge will grow) and most importantly, b. how to tackle this slope. Should I try to straighten the view by having something higher on the left side than on the right? Any advice or comments very gratefully appreciated! Thanks.

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Not a designer but have to say that is a lovely view- I don't find the fence ugly at all.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 7:56PM
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I like that view and agree with the above reply that it is lovely. The little copse of trees on the other side of the fence is FABULOUS! If the fence bothers you, how about just planting a climbing vine along it, easy enough and won't ruin that view.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:19PM
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Thanks for the replies and yes it's a lovely view, thanks. Sasafras, the fence did have climbing white roses on it - and still does (I've cut them right back so you can't see them but they'll resprout unless I take them out). What I found is that they climbed to the top of the fence, obscuring the view with their rampant growth and then the bottom of the fence was straggly and bare. The plants in front of the fence (all cut down now too - it's autumn here) didn't thrive as a result of the shading the roses on top provided.

I guess the point is that I want to maximise the view by lowering the barrier. I will be putting in a lonicera nitida hedge along the perimeter, as the garden needs some structure and formality. The idea is to keep it clipped lower than the current fenceline, so that the view isn't impeded. and to provide a contrast to the unstructured view behind (there's bushland not so visible in this pic that you can also see behind the tree copse). I'm just a but confused about what to do with the proportion of this barrier given the slope - should the hedge be higher on the left to provide visual balance? And should the replacement fence behind (whatever it ends up being - possibly wire) also be staggered in this way?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:29PM
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At the gate portion of the fence, it would be best if the flanking fence was level at each side, even if only for a short distance. The grade at the opening itself should be level, too. Farther sections of fence could step up and down to correspond with the topography.

If you're trying to maximize the view, bringing a hedge (or other plants with height) into the view window is going to be in opposition to your primary goal. Keeping the fence as transparent as possible and keeping plants low will help promote the view. Another thing that would accentuate the view would be if it were flanked by some important looking, decorative columns or posts.

I'm revising because I forgot to add that the raised planters (if that's what they are) you have behind the fence are a significant impediment to creating a nice view through to the area beyond. It would be a big plus to locate them elsewhere.

This post was edited by Yardvaark on Wed, Apr 24, 13 at 9:05

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 8:42AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Unless it would be a major inconvenience, I'd consider moving the gate over to one side. The problem may be that you have a design that is pretending to be symmetrical, and fails. With the gate at one side, the fence can follow the contour.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 8:50AM
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Wonderful view. What size animals do you want to keep in/out? How tall will the hedge be? I'm assuming you are going for a lower height one.

Here are some options on fairly open to let light through fences. That you could do at different heights. The aluminum fences are about the only one you would be stuck with a certain height depending on what is available.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 10:31AM
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Thanks so much all for your great comments and advice, very helpful to me in my thinking.

Yardvark, yes agree the raised veggie patches either side are an impediment but that is the only place that gets enough sun in the garden to grow them. I had planned to tidy them up a bit with timber toppings or even rip them out and make a parterre style (thus more attractive veggie garden) in that area. Would that make sense? The idea of the hedge was in part to block the view of the veggie garden (which can get scruffy looking at times) from the top garden while making the visual focus the taller vertical view.

I really like the idea of the decorative columns either side of the gate and will definitely incorporate that. Perhaps square red brick ones to tie in with the red brick paths and chimneys in the top garden, with a finial of some sort, a round ball of concrete. This idea also ties in with my desire to introduce a touch of formality as a point of contrast in what is mostly a country cottagey garden.

Gallica, your idea of the fence on the side is interesting too, in fact I am thinking of putting a gate anyway in the left corner as it's where the shed is that leads past the compost heap, down to the veggie/chook yard area in the left side of the paddock, ie the work area. The lawn in the middle gate area gets worn away from all my trampings up and down there! The only issue with that is if I put the hedge in, it may look a bit weird stopping before the end of fenceline.

Lyfia thanks for the great photos, I love the look of the third (last one) especially, with the post and rail a close second. I only have chickens I move from their coop in the paddock up to top garden each day, but I'm trying to keep foxes out from the top garden so the chickens are safe to freerange. Since most of my neighbours have lost a lot of chickens to foxes and I never have, I suspect the barrier works somehow. There are also kangaroos that come into the paddock but I don't think they are brave enough to come so close to the house.

Yaardvark/Lyfia, the hedge height would be kept at a max 90mm, and the existing fence is 120mm, so quite a bit lower and any fence I erect would eventually be mostly disguised by the hedge in front from the garden, so something simple I guess is the answer.

This post was edited by traceyc on Wed, Apr 24, 13 at 19:25

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 7:07PM
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