P90522There is no doubt that fences are useful for a variety of functions. They exclude deer from the garden. They confine livestock. For suburban homes, they enclose a relatively safe space for children and pets. Fences should be designed according to their intended functions. Those designed to exclude deer might be as simple as coarse mesh on posts. Those enclosing backyards might be more refined and compatible with the landscape.
Over the years, conformity to modern suburban and urban landscapes, as well as modern architecture and lifestyles, has changed the standards of how fences are designed. Low picket fences do not adequately obscure the scenery that adjacent and often dissimilar landscapes contribute to a view. Where common vegetable gardens might have been, most of us want private outdoor rooms, with a distinct style of landscape.
It seems that everyone wants privacy nowadays. Those who have no need for privacy will get it anyway because no one will build fences that will not provide it. In the 1950, fences were commonly four feet high, and not every backyard had them. By the 1970s, they were more commonly six feet high, and standard for almost every backyard. Now, fences are expected, and many are seven feet high or higher, with lattice on top!
Modern architecture and lifestyles are part of the justification for such tall fences. Low profile older homes on formerly suburban lots are commonly replaced with two or more larger homes on smaller subdivided city lots. They are much closer to each other than the older homes were, with only narrow spaces between upstairs windows, where even eight foot high fences will not provide privacy.
So, not only do much larger homes on much smaller parcels mean that there is much less space for gardening, but taller two story (or taller) homes with weirdly high fences mean that more of the very limited space available for gardening is shaded!


7 thoughts on “Horridculture – High Fences

  1. Sadly, we are the only home in our neighborhood with a fence and we were forced into putting it up by a neighbor. She gave her son an ATV and then let him ride it around their property all hours of the day and night (after he was pulled off the street by the cops for illegal riding).

    Of course the fence did little to block the noise but at least we weren’t looking at the mess left in the yard.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, at least the fence is justified. When I lived in town, neighbors wanted me to pay for half the cost of new fences, which I would have no problem with, but I would not pay for the rather elaborate and high fences (that exceeded the height limit) that they wanted.


  2. I have dogs, so need fencing. But, the back of my lot was an empty lot until a few months ago. I had a chain link fence there, so I didn’t feel trapped. The side fences are cedar (I prefer redwood, but I moved from CA to OR and here cedar the thing).
    I remember our fences being shorter when I was growing up. You could talk to your neighbors over them. Neighbors don’t want to talk anymore. Unless its when they come to your door to ask if you’ll cut a large limb off the oak because it’s shading the area near their fence and they can’t plant what they want! That happened to my mother. We said, “no.” Let them plant something that likes shade!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Our back fence is 5′ high, just tall enough that most people can look over the top. Our front garden is open to the street, in fact it is designed to be viewed from the street or sidewalk. My gardening needs an audience.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Tony Tomeo and commented:

    It is unfortunate that, regardless of the excellent climate and excellent soils, such minimal space within the Santa Clara Valley remains conducive to gardening.


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