DESIGNING A LOW BUDGET FENCE THAT ACTUALLY LOOKS NICE

Joe’s nephew Curtis helped us throw together our budget fence project – the only way we could install a 100 foot long fence to keep the dogs on their side of the garden.

This past weekend we finally completed one of those projects that not only was enormous, but one which was long over due – rebuilding the dog fence – a long fence which divides our garden into a 1/4 acre plot where the dogs can run free.

The old fence has always been an eyesore, but fences are expensive to have installed professionally, and with a large garden like ours (2+ acres) fencing the entire garden in will require winning the state lottery. I really dislike lathe unless is is vertical and horizontal, but pre-fab panels with this pattern is very difficult to find, with most home centers carrying angled lathe, either in vinyl or pressure treated wood. We were lucky to find some vertical and horizontal lathe at a Home Depot ( sadly not near us, so we had to drive and hour after ordering it since they would not deliver it).

I chose a stain that was nearly black – Behr ‘Slate’ for fences and decks. I like dark colors on garden structures.

Cedar would be my first choice, but I had to be realistic. Pressure treated wood and inexpensive lathe panels fit with our budget. Not ideal, but the final look, as I think you will agree, looks pretty nice. Certainly better than any vinyl fence or even a stockade fence. Chainlink was an option, but really? I the end, at least, it doesn’t look like an $600 fence no does it? Labor was free (aside from some steak barbecue for Joe’s nephew, the entire project only too 2 days. The staining was left for me, which I feel I can complete by this coming weekend. The dogs? Not thrilled, now that they can’t get out anymore.

The old fence extended about 100 feet back towards the woods and chicken coops, along the long walk. On one side was planted a perennial garden of sorts, and on the other side, well, more like run-away bamboo but it once was home to many hellebores and ephemerals. Garden evolve over time, and with run-away vines such as wisteria and kiwi, the old fence which was ugly enough to start with, became even more uglier as the vines began to tear away lathes, while the dogs (terriers) pulled the rest of the lathes away every time they saw a cat or a squirrel.

Now I need to think about what to plant along the fence. I will be removing all of the rodgersia and mayapples since our Japanese maples have borer, the sun will be too strong. This is my chance to simplify the planting. I am thinking about all hydrangea or another single shrub planted in a long row on one side. No more perennials or high maintenance plants.
I just need to find a new home for these more rare and unusual perennials woodland plants.
Fuchsias bloom in pots set on the back steps. High summer is here, and it seems everything is in bloom.

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