1) In times gone by, this was the norm – a low boundary fence which allows views in while marking the territory. The owner of this house tells me her husband likes to be able to see out too. Some folk enjoy being able to chat to passers-by and like having their front garden visible to people. It is a different mind-set altogether to those who want their space to be completely enclosed. In that case privacy is sometimes only a step away from voluntary imprisonment.
2) The plastered expanse of wall has become increasingly popular with its clean modern lines and the luxury Mediterranean look. It is usually smooth plaster applied to a concrete block construction so is not a cheap option. This one is at the end of a cul de sac where it may be safe. If you construct a wall like this in a more public position, it is like an invitation to taggers, offering a perfect blank canvas.
3) We have admired this fence for many years, even though closer inspection shows its construction is pretty rough and ready. It is made out of by-product from some commercial kiln-firing enterprise. The rounds are in joined pairs and we wonder if they were stands for field tiles or similar. There are a lot of them, for this is a large wall. The variation in both colour and texture appeals and it is a creative use of waste material, though probably a one-off.
4) I mentioned in Garden Lore recently the hostility and ugliness of the stark gang-headquarters style of timber fence. Even just adding some detail can break up the utility expanse of tanalised timber. Making the support pillars visible breaks this fence into panels where vertical and horizontal palings alternate. Staining it would help reduce the stark appearance. I prefer charcoal colours for their ability to meld into the landscape. Browns can get too ginger-coloured and green has so many tones you may end up with a synthetic shade which shouts rather than blends.
5) These substantial walls also show variations on the timber fence theme. The closer fence has tried for some detail with the use of concrete block pillars and footings and the shaped top to each panel. The second fence is brave although I find the colour a little garish. Maybe it will fade. The use of over-sized round posts and the top railing add emphatic detail which lifts it above cheap utility.
6) I photographed this in Auckland’s Mount Eden where I felt the traditional picket fence sat far more comfortably with the equally traditional villas than the newer options of solid walls closing in the properties. Here the owners have planted an inner hedge which they keep clipped. It gives additional height and privacy without the “in your face” unfriendliness of a solid wall. It is often a fallacy that major walls act as security. Once breached, they can equally give burglars free reign out of sight from passers-by.
First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.