Home Annie's Home Renovation The Fence Post – Part One

The Fence Post – Part One

It’s all about compromise.

You want a beautiful, unfettered view.

A 2005 image of me and Mum contemplating the very view in question. I didn’t remember this photo, but it was a bittersweet moment coming across it. I used to love just sitting with her in the garden, listening to  her plans for the site. She was NEVER idle. There was always more to do and more ideas to toss around—both for the exterior and the interior.

You want dogs.

You don’t want dogs digging up the garden.  This is an action shot of Miss Daisy licking her garden-diggin’ chops!

You don’t want dogs playing in the road! So what do you do? You have to sort out an enclosure for them and a way in and out of the house, that is, a place for a dog door. This struggle between aesthetics and crazy love of dogs and placing their safety first  has become a common theme in each of the three house projects I have tackled.

Why not the Invisible Fence, you ask? I discovered after installing one at Court Hill that Daisy really doesn’t give two hoots about running right through it in pursuit of my car exiting the driveway. So I reverted to the age-old containment method: the fence. I abhor chain-link, and razor wire is just too extreme (just kidding), but I have had to work out attractive answers to my dogs’ collective peccadilloes. Daisy being such an effective digger, the fence has to be buried 1 foot underground.

So I thought long and hard and walked around the whole garden countless times before settling on the fence plan that has just been completed.  I didn’t  want anything to cross the view, but wanted the dogs to have enough space to explore and play. I chose to situate the fence on the right hand side of the property, encircling the mound that my mother referred to in her garden diaries as “the tumor.” Nice, I know.

I selected a traditional cedar split-rail fence with a black wire mesh backing that all but disappears and could be buried to thwart Dasiy’s habit.

To find the right arc of the fence, we got the spray paint used on soccer fields and drew out the line of the fence until it looked right. Once I settled on the line, I set my mind to finding a way to make the fence seem more intentional. There is a semicircular design to the garden, with the allee coming off the top of the arc, the cloud hedge to the left, and the fence on the right. I decided to quasi-mimic the cloud hedge by moving some boxwoods that had been displaced by the addition.

We mapped it out with the blessing of Carlos and Cindy, my mother’s longtime gardening helpers. Then we started the heavy lifting!

Here is the view from the cloud hedge side of the garden. It’s a good start, but I have plans to do more to make the fence look more of piece with the existing structure.

For now, however, the dogs have a safe, effective new territory to explore.

Here is a not-great shot of the view from the new sliding-glass doors in the kitchen.

See below for a clip of the dogs’ maiden voyage to their new home.








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Pam Lapere July 24, 2012 at 11:11 am

Aww, yes, dogs and fences! We had to bury the fence, too but not because our little chihauha could dig out. because the friendly, old lab next door would dig FOR HIM! Then he would go under to play in their yard!! Then there was much barking and running and frolicking…until every neighbor on the canal was in their backyard to see what was causing the ruckus…

Terri W. July 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm

The fence looks perfect and the dogs seem extremely pleased with their new space. What a wonderful gift your mother left for you. Lots of work, but well worth it, I’m sure. Thanks for sharing!

Patty July 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Love it Annie! Thanks for the peek!

diane July 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm

simply beautiful!

Mary July 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm

The rollicking gaits, the wagging tails and their noses buried in the dirt say everything. If you really love dogs, then you just have to let dogs be dogs. I think this new living space will offer the best possible life for them, and for you too. “A dog’s life”, as they say. 🙂 ENJOY!!

Elizabeth Cogswell January 3, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Annie, I just came across these fence photos of yours, and you might have already picked plants for the fence, but in case you are still deciding, I have a fence very similar to yours for my dogs, and I planted a Wisteria plant at every other post. It has been 25 years now but only after about ten years the fence was hardly noticiable through the foliage. I love the effect and the foliage is great. Of course, the Berkshire weather is not condusive to blooms every year, but it gets leaves first thing in the Spring and loses the leaves last thing in the fall. They get a pretty yellow color for a week or two before dropping in November. It is a Wisteria Bush and not a Wisteria tree. Im a couple miles from you and in the phone book if you want to drive by to check them out. I am on a corner, and alot of people stop when they are in bloom. Of course, in the middle of winter (like now) the woody part of the plant is kind of cool, too. Love your posts. Keep em comin. -Liz


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