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.