Sunday, March 2, 2008

Good Fences Make Good Neigbors

The old saying goes, "Good fences make good neighbors." I wish. I love fences but not everyone does. I really and truly can't understand why. I know Skeeter would love a fence between her neighbors with the unsightly view and her, mothers of small children probably love fences to keep their children safe, and pet people probably like fences to keep their beloved pets safe from wandering off or from other wandering animals. Anonymous would like a fence, but her husband says no. What is it about a fence that some people don't like?

Perhaps people who are from the country and who are not used to fences are turned off by other people who like fences to identify their boundaries. Fences are without question, boundaries. One should not cross a fence unless there is a welcoming gate somewhere along that fence. The fence is there for more than beauty or safety or to contain something, fences are there as a boundary. A fence says, "This is my piece of dirt and I want to ensure I have control over all of my dirt."

Perhaps people used to a lot of land don't understand there are boundaries to even their big piece of land. I don't know and maybe people who are from the country do indeed like fences, everyone is different.

No one else but Mr. Fix-it and I pay the mortgage, therefore, no one else should have use of my land without my permission, for anything whatsoever. Fences around a property usually contain a house. The people who live in that house want to feel safe. A fence provides an extra measure of safety by being just one more obstacle unwanted guests must overcome in order to reach our inner sanctuary, the house.

Now that we understand why fences are important by establishing a boundary and creating an obstacle to unwanted guests, fences CAN at times seem unneighborly. I am sure no one intends to seem unneighborly toward others, and a fence should not be construed as being unneighborly. Quite the opposite. It means the person who has the fence cares about both his or her neighbors and about his or her home. Fences are investments that are not to be taken lightly. Planning a fence involves many considerations.

Ensure you know where the property lines are located, inform your neighbors of your intentions prior to installing the fence, ask for their input, be considerate. When all is said and done and a new fence is installed, your neighbors still might not be happy. Maybe your budget only allows a chain link fence and your neighbor considers these 'hurricane' fences the ugliest things on earth. Sometimes chainlink fences are the best option due to costs. Other fences are usually QUITE a bit more expensive.

What can the neighbor do about a fence he or she doesn't like? Simple, either install his or her own fence in front of the fence, or plant trees and hedges and flowers! I have seen a place in town near Lafayette Road where two adjacent property owners have privacy fences. It almost looks as though one tried to outdo the other as one is taller. I found the idea amusing. I vote for planting in front of other fences. Planting is so much cheaper, easier and friendlier, but fences in front of fences can work too in the right situation, it just really depends on the people.

I have installed a chain link fence around my entire backyard, with the exception of the back border line, due to the adjacent farmer already having a fence for his cows. That saved a lot of money and I was ever so happy. I immediately set about planting trees, shrubs, vines and flowers of all kinds in order to beautify my fence line, provide privacy, and to establish the framework for my little piece of dirt, according to MY vision. Not some vision a neighbor has in mind. You almost can't see six hundred feet of chain link fence from my side of the fence. I am amazed at how quickly you can camouflage fences and very happy with both my fences, and the plantings I have placed around them.

I may have gone a little overboard with fences inside of my boundary fence. You see, with having three dogs which really love to eat trees and shrubs, I felt I had to provide boundaries for them as well. The second picture shows the most common type of fencing to keep the dogs and gardens separate in my garden. It is hard to see, but it is a two foot metal fence on standard fence poles. I have tried to create creative fences which are utilitarian but beautiful. It is a neverending battle and while I do not like flower beds fenced off from me, I feel it is for the good of my family. Fences around the gardens help me to keep my sanity when dealing with some rambunctious dogs who would need constant watching without the fences. What a relief fences provide me.

Out here in Woodlawn, there are varying opinions on fences. I, without a doubt like fences. Some of my neighbors do, and some don't. I find the ones who are from out of state or who are used to living in cities, seem to like fences so much more than locals. My newest neighbor moved in and without a doubt said he did not want a fence. He has one acre and couldn't see the point of fencing it off. I think he likes to 'borrow' the adjoining property's views and it makes him feel like he has more space. Borrowing a neighbor's view is certainly acceptable, borrowing the use of his or her land is not.

Well, now that he has four dogs, guess what? He sure would like a fence. Not just any fence, a privacy fence. Fences do make good neighbors and he is happy I have a fence. It is a win-win situation for us both. Should he get a privacy fence, I would be ecstatic. I will be 100% supportive. Instead of a privacy fence he has opted for an underground electric fence which will keep his four dogs controlled and confined, while not blocking the view of the neighboring properties, including mine. An underground electric fence is a great fence-as it is a fence without being a fence! It is not seen by people, but the dogs can still be seen, though controlled.

Mr. Fix-it and I have decided to install a privacy fence along the border with these neighbors. I sure do appreciate my new neighbors consideration for both their dogs and the adjacent neighbors by not allowing their dogs to run free, but it is time for a big fence and after touring other garden bloggers gardens, I am very happy with the look and can't wait to have mine installed. We may even put a privacy fence all around the garden with the exception of in back where we have such a nice view of my neighbor's pond. I mean afterall, "Good fences do make good neighbors (and great private gardens with a nice backdrop!)."

in the garden....grateful for fences and boundaries and for considerate neighbors.


  1. Excellent post TIna!!! And, I do believe that fences make for better neighbors --just have to convince the hubby,lol. Today is busy day so I need to get going -I'll catch you later:)

  2. Our yard is fenced in on three sides although the back does not deter much as it is the barbed wire fence. Land owner behind us had installed years ago... I would love to have the entire property fenced in but there is just no way to fence in the front so it looks nice. We have a circular driveway and we would have to install two gates and we would prefer electric because who wants to get out in the rain to open the gate with coming and going in the car. Running electric that far would cost us a fortune! So I reckon this yard will remain as is for now… If the landowner behind us ever decides to develop his land, we would like to put in some type of decorative fence…

    Was 72-degrees yesterday and calling for a repeat today so a nice day to get up that huge pine tree we cut down a few weeks ago. Oh, boy I am looking forward to that sticky mess of pine tar on my gloves and clothes!

    Hope everyone else is getting some nice weather to enjoy as well…

  3. Good day to all

    Cold here....not even 40 degrees.
    I don't wanna leave my warm house but going to Christy's for dinner.
    She will be hurt if I don't as I backed out the last time.

  4. dawn with peachesMarch 2, 2008 at 10:52 AM

    Yep, Christy is looking forward to that, and she is already hurting! Snowboarded both fri. and sat. about 6 hours each day! Oh, to be in the 20's again.
    I have a restriction on my deed, no spite fences, what it a spite fence! Hope a line of evergreens aren't included in the defination.
    I like the shorter fences as a backdrop to a flowerbed and our vegie needs a strong barrier to keep the critters out, the pool is another story-we put lattice atop the pool walls, that obstructs the view from people driving by.
    Plowing today, spent most of our hours getting the snow off the roof yesterday, really, really windy. Many snow devils showing, its not over yet.

  5. I dream of sneeking over to the neighbor's vacant rental house and planting a row of bushes between us.
    My failed PVC project was a homemade plastic covered green house that kept falling down before I ever got it completed. I am now trying to piece some of the pipes together for a small arbor. After seeing your's it really looks possible if I can secure it to the fence.

  6. Dawn the people on the road could not even see your pool i don't think but once the trailer is otta there they will. But with all the trees they will have to really be looking when going by the driveway. Can't really see neighbors with all the trees either so you don't even need a fence. Codes do not require a fence on our pool as it is high enough....just have to have a lock and there is a lock on the gate to the deck. But to be honest we rarely lock it, just put the padalock on without closing it.

    I bet Christy did have a good time. She had only been one time this year and other years she is on the slopes usually every weekend. She has missed it this year but with all the snow up there it will be there in April,
    maybe May. As usual she had bought a season pass so needs to get some use out of it.

  7. OMG, What a great blog. I love fences. They not only define your space but it keeps the neighbors at bay & keeps non owned animals & other peoples kids there too. Plus the fact you can do so much with a fence. Like on my chain link fence I have window boxes hanging from every post. Makes for gardening up when you can't do it down.

    Circler drives can pose a problem where & how to fence. Gates are a problem unless they are electric like you say. And not to mention the $$$$$$. Hope you get the big sticky thing up & done away with. Another project over.
    I think it's about 75º out now.

    Boy Jean, enjoy the cold now for it won't be long it will be hot. Like here it's bit too warm for me.

    Snowboarding or snow tubing is supposed to be a lot of fun. My step dau just got back from Snowshoe, Va. They had a blast. She's in her early 50's. Young at heart.

    I've always heard that it could freeze up till Easter, which by the way, is not till the 23rd of March. The earliest Easter has arrived in many, many yrs.
    Down here you have to have a 6' fence around a pool. Or some kind of fence. So sad when little ones fall into pools & drown. Case in Tn. where brother & sister both drowned in friends pool & the mother was in the house with the guy.

    I would figure out some way to fasten that arbor to the fence by wire or twist ties or something. I wish my azalea would block out the neighbors barking dog. Can't step out the house but what he starts. Even at night & early in the morning he wakes us up. It's a pit bull & they are not allowed in city limits.

    Well here I've done & got windy again.
    Hope all are having a gorgeous day, doing what makes you the happiest.

  8. spite fence

    An unsightly fence erected for no other purpose than to irritate a neighbor. Such a fence may be illegal under local fence height and appearance regulations or state laws that specifically bar spite fences. Even if it doesn't violate regulation or laws, the fence may still be illegal if it was built with malicious intent.

    This is the meaning that I found. Hope it helps to answer your question.

  9. Wow, we had a full 4 hours in the yard today. The Saint and I together got the large pine tree off the ground. The wood is all stacked up and the debris is also stacked up near the burn pit where it will be burn one day when it dries out a bit. We cannot burn from May-Oct so it will probably sit where it is until Oct. Thank goodness it is in an out of the way area of the yard...

    I pruned the 6 butterfly bushes that were about 10 feet tall. That was a big job. The Saint was kind enough to haul it to the debris area for me. We sat on the swing taking breaks while watching the birds at the feeder. Soon the hummingbird feeders will come out...

    Then I started cutting the dead off the Japanese maple trees. The Saint took that job over when I remembered I needed to haul a bit more gravel to the mower shed. I hauled 4 more wheel barrels and that job is finished!

    Then I cleaned up the sunflower hulls from under the feeders while the Saint cleaned the birdbaths out and refilled them.

    I got the gas blower out to blow around the sweet gum balls. I hate sweet gum trees because of their pesky balls!

    Calling for another nice day tomorrow so hopefully I will be in the yard again taking care of a few things here and there...

    The Saint needs new work gloves. His are covered with pine tar and holes in them. So time for a new pair…

  10. I sure wish I could do a fence alongside one neighbors yard. He likes to mow over onto my plot, which wouldn't bother me if he didn't scalp the grass! There's one spot in the back that actually has some nice looking fescue grass and it dried up last year thanks to his mowing invasion.

  11. Wow Skeeter,
    You & The Saint sure got a lot of work done today. Bet the bed will be calling early. Hauling that gravel is no picnic either. Just think how beautiful it will be. Hate those nasty sticky burrs too. Tree is nice but the other. eeeeeeeewwwwwww

    Try planting trees or put re bar in the ground. heheheheh You know about 12" out of the ground. Had a neighbor called himself trying to help by mowing my front yard---he had had 1 to many & scalped my grass--it died. Told Young'un I didn't want him cutting my grass any more.

  12. hi all, busy day in the garden. i will walk you all through it tomorrow.

    anonymous, a nice big fence behind your house is the way to go. maybe hubby will come on board sometime.

    skeeter, your day was like mine. i didn't come until the 'light' came on. paying for it now as i am sure you are too! so much work, so little time...

    tuberoses are in a bulb. i have found them only in the bulb form and that is what nina sent me. you may find them in plants, but i doubt it.

    i should add clean birdfeeders to my to do list shouldn't i? i have to cut back my butterfly bush too. yours must be in a great position to be so large and that was nice of the saint to haul off the cuttings.

    mom, have fun at christine's tonight. she so enjoys entertaining you guys.

    dawn with peaches, i think fences are great no matter what, and yes-flower gardens need a backdrop of a nice fence-from my side!

    ginger, you should contact the landlord and ask him or her if you could plant some shrubs. eleagnus pungens work so well! i bet he would be thrilled, or at the very least not mind, as long as he doesn't have to pay.

    i am surprised your greenhouse didn't work out. pvc is pretty good stuff, but it helps to have the wide stuff and thick. there are differences among the pvc type. to secure a pvc arbor to the fence (it's chainlink?), use coat hangars you cut down to size. they will be strong enough and easy to maneuver.

    lola, i am installing the privacy fence partly because of the neighbor's pack of barking dogs (including two-i say two-pit bull mixes), they are a pain! but also because of privacy. very annoying to listen to other people's dogs bark all the time and to see them too! i thought something happened to this pit bull?

    thanks for wishing us all a happy day. i spent mine in the garden so i was pretty happy. happiest when all work is done though, and not when i am doing it!

    dave, why don't you put in a hedge? seems to be the way to go. i would be annoyed if my neighbor scalped my lawn grass. of course, my neighbors don't even cut their grass-let alone scalp mine so i guess there is always another side to the coin. your sandcherry might work well. i also like rose of sharon for a deciduous hedge. for evergreen, you can't beat silverberry or photinias.

  13. dawn with peachesMarch 2, 2008 at 10:56 PM

    Thanks Lola, I was always wondering the def. of spite fence is. I thought it was high and solid but anything built with malicious intent discribes it. I think it is a state regulation because the property tax evaluaters can't see in to get the info they want! Yah, thats it.

  14. dawn with peachesMarch 2, 2008 at 10:59 PM

    oh, I forgot---mom, think the snow will be here until May. Enough of the winter wonderland! Makes me wonder why I winter in this land.

  15. Don't know why the dog is still there. Never found out why the police were there that day either. I hate that barking.
    The tuberoses I found were in the bulb form. Think I'll put them in a pot so I can keep up with them. I seem to loose things or forget where I put them. I have the Mexican kind too. Will see which one is better.
    What do you think about putting glads in the whiskey barrel with the blue berry as it is very small?

  16. good morning. dawn with peaches, i would expect the snow to be gone before may, though then you have the mud! our property evaluators come right up in the yard, fences don't stop them. but good to know what a spite fence is. but like i said, if you don't like your neighbors fence-PUT UP YOUR OWN!

    lola, sorry about the dog. i know how it is. annoying! i have my tuberoses in a pot too.

    glads would do well in a whiskey barrel with a blueberry, though they at some point will take over. they multiply like crazy! i have glads though i am not the biggest fan simply because the bloom is so short. i do think they are gorgeous! try it out.

  17. Tina if you bring the glads in the house they will last quite a while.
    Pick them when the top is not opened and the botton will die off first. Then take the dead botton ones off and as you work your way up by taking the dead ones off the top ones will open, giving you quite a bit of time to enjoy them. As you work your way up also cut some off the stem and by the end of the blooms you may have to use a smaller vase. At least that is what I used to do.

  18. dawn with peachesMarch 3, 2008 at 9:23 AM

    I grew peacock orchids in a washbasin one year, they did well. I think those are a member of the glads.

  19. mom, yes, i do have so many glads that i do bring them in. they are gorgeous and i love them. pesky in the garden though. such a short bloom. that being said, i will always grow them since they are such show offs.

    i like those peacock orchids dawn with peaches. they bloom in the fall right? fragrant? i think i got some free from a mail order one time. they are still growing in the pot. what happened to yours? still have them?

  20. dawn with peachesMarch 4, 2008 at 2:38 PM

    I got mine free also, left them in the washbasin (around my mailbox) the next year they amazingly sprouted but nothing after that and the next year died. I need something salt tolerant because the basin is so close to the main road and as you know gets salt on it. Plox won't even live. The orchids were beautiful and easy.