P90522Where I lived in town, the backyard was surrounded on three sides by fences, with the house on the only unfenced fourth side. These were the sort of fences that were common in suburban neighborhoods. They kept children and dogs in or out of adjacent gardens, and probably provided some sense of privacy, although I never understood why we all needed such privacy there.

I mean, if I really wanted significant privacy, I would not have lived in town, where the homes and gardens were all so close together. I enjoyed living there, and I enjoyed my neighbors. We could hear some of each others conversations and televisions, but no one seemed to mind. It was worth living in such an excellent neighborhood so close to everything we could want in town.

Years ago, suburban fences were not too obtrusive. They were only about four feet high. Some of the older homes were still outfitted with picket fences that were only about three feet high. We could still talk to neighbors over them, and sometimes pass over a bag of extra fruit or vegetables, or even flowers, from the garden. Dogs and young children were effectively contained.

Then everyone became obsessed with privacy. At the same time, many of us added onto our homes or replaced them with new homes that occupied more of the allowable space within their compact formerly suburban, but now urban parcels. Smaller remaining garden spaces became more shaded by bigger houses and taller fences. Gardening, as we once knew it, became passe.

What are all these big fences for? What are they keeping out? . . . or . . . What are they keeping in? Why do so many who want so much privacy live so close to so many who crave the same?!

8 thoughts on “Horridculture – On The Fence

  1. I grew up without fences and we considered everyone’s yard our yard. I now live in a suburban area with a tall fence and frankly, I really like having my personal sanctuary where I can pretty much do as I want, as long as it doesn’t poke above the fence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most people do want some sort of privacy. My next door neighbor fenced part of his garden, which I though was very odd in a neighborhood where we could not see the closest neighbors. I could barely see the lights of his home at night. There is a home in Boulder Creek that is in a scenic spot on the San Lorenzo River that got a fence around the back yard just before it sold. The fence obscured the formerly scenic view of the River. Then, a fake ‘water feature’ was installed in front of the fence!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We don’t have a fence in the front. In the back, there is a 5′ picket fence against the alley and a 3′ fence dividing our yard from the neighbors. This works fine for us. Two houses down the new neighbors installed a solid bright white fence that’s at least 8 feet high. Very glad I am not living next to them. The white positively glares.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I lived in town, the next door neighbor wanted to replace a three foot high fence with a six foot high fence, and wanted us to pay for half. Because of a low terrace, the three foot high fence was six feet high on his side. The six foot high fence was nine feet high on his side! He got his fence, but he had to pay for 3/4 or it. I don’t know if it is a foot below the 7′ height limit, or two feet over it.

      Liked by 1 person

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