Fence ideas?

girlcat36May 21, 2012

I'm not sure if this is the proper forum for this, but I would love some suggestions on a fence problem.

My husband would like to fence our entire yard, since my neighbor on one side is installing a white vinyl privacy fence(ugh). My husband wants to fence the opposite side of the yard as well since we have a dog and there are a lot of coyotes in the immediate area. The problem is that on the side opposite the vinyl fence I have a stone wall that I really love. Husband would prefer to remove the stone wall and put up stockade. I am pretty much against that, and like the look of the stone wall. Five feet beyond the stone wall is a hedge of what I believe are cedar trees. There is also a huge opening in between those trees because I took down a huge Japanese honeysuckle shrub and a multiflora rose that were strangely growing on a huge mound of loam. We had planned to put arborviteas in the gap and have already planted one.

I love my stone wall and just cannot see a stockade fence a few feet behind it. I am open to any suggestions.

I am also looking for suggestions on how to make the neighbor's white vinyl fence disappear, since it really isn't my style. My neighbor had her lot surveyed and unfortunately the property line goes right through my flower bed on that side as well as cutting diagnolly across what we all(neighbor included) thought was our yard! We had no idea!

I prefer a more naturalized setting over a yard with four walls of fencing.

Here is a picture of the stone wall side of the yard, part sun(north side of property), there is a fence running perpendicular at the front, and a stockade fence at the rear where we have an enclosed garden/entertaining area:

A close up:

And here is a picture of the property line where the vinyl fence is going in, it is in a sunny area(south side of property). The fence will cut diagnolly across the rear of my yard. I am looking for plantings that will attract birds predominantly, as well as detract from the fence:

It's a good thing the property line was surveyed; I had planned to put a small greenhouse right where the surveyor's stake is at the rear of the yard.

Thanks for any input!

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Is your fence going to be for privacy only to keep pests out?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 10:11PM
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Some "live" stones are really great!she grow moss,shrubs even trees.she have water-holding capacity.such as absorbentpaper,you try to mix some with the stone wall.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 10:11PM
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I wonder if you could paint the white fence brown on your side?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 10:30PM
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The fence will be mainly to keep the dog in(and coyotes out maybe); but I would like some plantings to provide the privacy.
The honeysuckle shrub I took out made it very private, but it had to go.
Unfortunately honeysuckles were planted on three sides of the property; and I am currently removing them one by one. I think my removing the honeysuckle is what prompted my neighbor on the other side to plan to install a vinyl fence.
I'm not sure painting a vinyl fence is an option. And it would be a heck of a lot of fence to paint. She's putting in almost 200 feet of fence, running it from the very back of her property up to the street. We both have long narrow lots.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 11:33PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

Here's a photo of a fence we did a couple years ago that integrates a rock wall and a solid wood fence together.

Your rock wall is a dry lay and already in place so you might think about setting the fence posts behind the rock wall and then build up your fence behind the wall - you also might consider starting the bottom rail of the fence at the top of the wall . From decks + fences

If a solid wood panel fence is not for you , you could consider using lattice or stockade wire - I'll post a photo of what those look like ( lattice panel fence in the foreground, stockade wire fence in the background) :
From decks + fences

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 12:20AM
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Not much you can do about the neighbour's white vinyl fence except plant a new shrubbery bed in front of it as a disguise. My sympathy for you but, on the upside, it might create a new micro-climate there for you. You look like a gardener's gardener anyways...

And, if you really object to the idea of a "stockade" fence or other, more attractive design options, have you considered an enclosed dog kennel accessed directly from the house through a doggie door? There simply will be times when you won't be able to be outside with your pup, monitoring her safety. Because, unless you also electrify that fence, there is still absolutely no guarantee that the coyotes shall not either clamber over it or dig under it.

I've always been lucky living in the country, where there are better menu choices for them besides my beloved pets. Although I have had problems with wolves killing my livestock in pasture or bears foraging around my cabin in the past. What a wild world it is, eh?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 12:27AM
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I hope your husband doesn't get his way with regards to removing the beautiful stone wall. I think the suggestion to create a dog run type of area is a better idea to protect your dog when you're not outside than fencing your entire yard (assuming the coyotes in your area have a history of bothering pets in your neighborhood).

It looks like you have a lot of privacy as it is with your plantings, so you don't really need a fence for privacy. Even with the gap, there looks to be enough distance between your seating area and your closest neighbor. As far as the white vinyl fence, I agree that it clashes with the more naturalized look you prefer, but hopefully it will fade into the background if you plant a nice wide mixed shrub border in front of it.

Our neighbors across the street installed a white vinyl fence around their yard years ago, and I remember many of the neighbors hating it, some even starting a petition to try and get them to remove it. Privacy fences (mostly cedar pickets) are the norm in our neighborhood where our houses are spaced much more closely than yours, so I don't mind the "stockade fence" look myself, but I don't think I'd want one in your situation. If you do wind up building one, if you allow it to turn silver/grey instead of staining it, I think it would fade into the background pretty easily. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 2:02AM
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Thank you for all your suggestions.

I think the dog run is out, as there is no good way to put a dog run near our back doors. Our side door has a deck and then raised vegetable beds, plus hubby's boat(another eyesore I must contend with):

And this is the view from our back door, also opens on to a small deck:

Beyond the shed at the rear of the yard, I have stockade which I am trying to naturalize:

And here is a view of the property line before I took out the honeysuckle and multiflora rose; it was quite private:

Here is view of the fence style we have at the front of the property; it is a bit different than the stockade at the rear:

About the stone wall; it is dry stack(not a very good job) and I lugged every fieldstone to my property in my car and built it myself, so I'd hate to dismantle it!!!! Out of all the suggestions, I like the lattice screen best.
One other thing I forgot to mention, I am battling loathesome English ivy on that property line. It's been alosing battle so far. Perhaps I could use the ivy to my advantage and put up a 5 ft wood and wire fence, and the ivy would would quickly cover it I'm sure? Yes, I know it probably wouldn't keep out any coyotes that really want to get it, but it would keep the dog in line. Does anyone have such a fence?
The dog, by the way, is an 11 year old black lab that has survived thus far without being fenced. He is not a wanderer at all and prefers to stick close by us, but when he sees other dogs he goes crazy. So perhaps screening his vision is more important than actually containing him now that I think about it.

Also worth mentioning; I am on a budget and my husband and I(mostly me) do our own work in the yard.

As for the vinyl fence, I will think of it as a challenge. I love a good garden challenge.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 8:25AM
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Love your garden, even that rustic stone wall! When your neighbour's erected that vinyl fence (how high will it be?), could you from your side use it to screw on wooden lattice panels and grow light climbers/clematis or such? Maybe not the Eng Ivy, but I'm sure others will have an opinion on that one!


    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 9:49AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

I love your yard and the stone wall. Personally, I don't think the stockade fence detracts from anything. You're doing a great job naturalizing it.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 10:27AM
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I would be very leery about doing anything to "your" side of your neighbor's expensive new fence. Assuming that it is placed a few inches inside her property line you have no right to be painting or screwing things into it.

I am very surprised that you never had a survey done yourself!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 11:13AM
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Thanks for your replies!
We really love the 'naturalized' look of our yard.

Looking out onto the backyard from the house, the white vinyl fence will be to the LEFT just beyond the boat in the picture. I'm pretty sure we cannot attach anything to the fence because it is vinyl and it is not our fence. We mostly hang out in the RIGHT side of our yard where the stone wall is. I guess I can pretend the white fence isn't there. Maybe.....

On the RIGHT side of our backyard is the stone wall, and we spend most of our time on the deck overlooking that side of the yard.
I guess I am more concerned about losing the aesthetics of the stone wall than I am about the vinyl fence.
I have done some Googling and I think maybe I am looking for wire fence...welded wire...and it comes in green or black, I think. It looks fairly inexpensive and DIY friendly, and would hopefully blend away into the plantings on the property line.

Some pics I found:

It could be something very basic(but not very pretty), such as these:

Or something a little bit fancier(but without a gate, of course):

I'm never going to win the battle of the English ivy that is running rampant behind that stone wall, anyway. I might as well put it to use as a screen.

I have owned this house for 15 years, and no, I never have had a survey. When I moved in I was a struggling single mother and did not recieve child support. I worked day and night to make ends meet. A survey was totally out of my budget!
I remarried two years ago, but due to chronic medical problems I work only sporadically. So even now a survey isn't in our budget. My neighbor paid 900.00 just to get that one side of her property surveyed!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 12:11PM
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What is the small, multi-trunk tree that shows up in the 4th and 5th of your recent batch of photos?

From a distance, your "stone wall" looks OK, but closer--to me--it looks like a fresh pile of stone delivered to a construction site. (I'm not talking about the surroundings!) It also looks like a fantastic resource and opportunity. If I had all that sitting in my yard, I would blast right out and build 10 or a dozen stone columns (it looks like you have enough to make that many). It would be a more attractive and much more efficient use of the stone. If you wanted the stone to go farther, you could add another material like brick to it (think stone base/brick shaft.) In between the stone columns could be panels of lattice or stockade wire mesh or whatever you like that suits your purpose. The possibilities are numerous. Building stone fence columns is certainly within the realm of the DIY-capable person and easier than most people think. Once the short learning curve is accomplished, it's fun and satisfying, too! The hard part--getting the stone delivered to your site--is already finished. (Amazing that, too... in your car! Obviously, you have the dedication sufficient for a serious project.) The cost of masonry tools probably less than $30 or 40 if you already have a decent wheelbarrow and a hoe. The main cost would be a pile of sand and bags of cement for an end product worth $$$$.

If you used wire fence panels, you cold train the English ivy on it and take advantage of it. With mesh not too large, it will grow into it by itself if you just get it started. I would not let it grow on wood lattice.

Too much "hedge" in front of a wall (which a fence is) seems redundant. Breaking up a long expanse of fence with groups of small trees (such as the one I asked about above & other types) where their trunks are silhouetted against the fence, combined with other schemes, seems more interesting. But one should have the comprehensive view of what runs along the fence. Your pictures don't convey that well enough. It think it's a better strategy to try to make much of the fence more interesting than it is trying to obliterate the view of it. Putting much of it in shade will help a lot.

Making any alteration to the back side of the neighbor's fence would seem about as friendly as... window peeping.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 12:18PM
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Must be a cultural thing...in Oz, the fence is put exactly on the true line and the cost is equally shared by both neighbours...open to negotiation, but the cost-sharing can be enforced by local laws. If I pay my half, I use it.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 12:22PM
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The small tree in the pictures is a young honey locust that hasn't leafed out yet.

Yes, I agree, it isn't the nicest stone wall! It doesn't look that bad to me, though, because I live in New England and these types of stones walls are everywhere. In fact, many people in this area prefer this 'unstudied' stone wall look. I grew up with them all over my parents yard. I guess that's why I want one in my own yard.
I hadn't considered columns made out of stone; that's something to think about, too!
I'm thinking wire mesh will be the way to go and let the ivy take over, although keeping it out my yard and off the trees it is trying to strangle.
It's just a matter of deciding how the wire mesh will be supported now.

As far as the vinyl fence on the other side of the yard, the first half of it coming from the street will be in shade, so it will be easy to decide on plant groupings. The half that is in the back part of my yard will require more thought. I will probably post pics after it is actually installed and get some advice from you all then.

The rules for fencing around here are that they have to be a couple feet into one's own yard.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 12:48PM
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You added more pics before I pushed "submit." The small tree I'm asking about is the multi-trunk one to the left of this table and chairs... with the white blooms:

I am NOT saying that your "fence" looks bad. I'm saying that it looks a mere 20% of the greatness it could look.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 1:50PM
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Oh, that tree! It's Rose of Sharon. This particular garden that is behind the shed and that we enclosed with stockade is a white flowering garden; or a moon garden I guess you could call it. We generally only sit out there at night.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 2:01PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

I appreciate and covet the look of your New England stone wall, but then again I come from generations of highly skilled stone masons who did most of their work in the Boston region after settling there from Ireland.

It is nice to hear that you enjoyed the process of building a dry lay stone wall.
I find it to be a kind of meditation at times, especially when in the zone of fitting the rocks together.

Building columns is a completely different kind of masonry skill and mindset. As someone who has been building with stone for a long time, I would say it is not a beginner DIY project.

I fully understand your frustration with battlling the invasive ivy. It's a non-stop war that really can wear a person out.
I think you are onto a pretty good idea of erecting an inexpensive wire fence and directing the existing ivy to grow on it as a privacy screen.
As you have first hand experience, the ivy can become very aggressive and heavy so when installing your fence posts I would make sure that they are very strudy and secure.
It will become another 'maintenance' chore to contend with, but it might be worth the work if you are killing two birds with one stone by enclosing the yard and creating a green wall, albeit a moderately high maintenance one in order to keep it in check.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 2:17PM
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Deviant, what is it that you think is so difficult about building a stone column? ... and for that matter, controlling Hedera helix ivy? Both seem easy to me.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 6:03PM
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I did enjoy building my stone walls very much. it was indeed meditative!
I have been contemplating the columns and I think they may have too much of a formal look for my yard, which has a rustic, definately un-manicured feel.
I think an inexpensive wire fence a few feet beyond the stone wall is the way to go, aesthetically and budget-wise.

I hate grubbing ivy!!!!! It is insanely difficult to control in this area.
A couple hours of pulling ivy totally wears me out, whereas I could build stone walls all day long!

Thank you everyone for all your input!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 8:44PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

give us a thrill by taking a photo of your fence and how it worked out with your stone wall when you are done.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 9:08PM
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I'll do that, dd!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 9:58PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

found this old project in the archives. The property composes several acres which are fenced in with a simple round 6 " diameter pressure treated post at 8 feet on center with galvanized wildlife wire ( the pattern at the bottom is 2x2 and it opens up to a wider pattern at the top )

It was very affordable and disappears into the landscape.
From Sonoma - Freudbrgr

There is a potato vine planted on it but we are going to replant some Lady Banksia roses this fall,

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 10:15AM
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Thank you, DD; I really like that! Plus it gives me something to show hubby who just can't seem to wrap his brain around 'wood and wire'. He thinks if it's a wire fence it MUST have metal posts.

Meanwhile, I just learned that I have three weeks to move an entire garden border, a purple beech, a trash barrel shed, etc, etc...to make way for the shiny new vinyl privacy fence. It coming further into my plantings than my neighbor initially said it would. I'm going to be extremely busy!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 7:51PM
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Made my own fibreglass wall in 8 off, 6 foot long sections by 4 foot high by 4 inch thick. really strong and lightweight and will last a lifetime. Took old wood panels out and put fibreglass ones in. Managed to do all on my own. Looks great and confuses all the builders! Dont know if you can get things like this in USA

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 3:19PM
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