Sunday, August 18, 2013

Making a privacy fence feel less like a prison wall

Some people love privacy fences.  Some love chain link fences.  Some love block fences.  Some love brick and some love a combination of all of the above.

I am a chain link kinda girl.  I love being able to not feel closed in.  I like being able to see out of my yard.  I especially love the fact that when I have a chain link fence my dogs don't bark as much.

Dogs need to see what is making the noise they're hearing or the smell that they've picked up.  They want to see the dog, cat or squirrel that's rustling in the leaves on the other side of the fence.  When they can't.....they bark.  Or they dig.  While I abhor barking, digging is far worse.  I've chased my dogs through the neighborhood on more than once occasion and I've had mud tracked through my house and when I followed the mud trail it led me to a huge (dog shaped) puddle of mud in the center of my bed.....sigh.

Recently I purchased a new house.  Well, not really "new" since it was built in 1940 - but new to me.  The previous owners had ripped out the old chain link and installed a nice new wooden privacy fence.  While I appreciate the money they spent on the new fence.  And God knows I am all about new fencing that I didn't have to pay for, that sense of joy was soon squashed when I walked down from my deck and into my back yard.  I was surrounded by plain wooden planks.  I couldn't see out of my yard and neither could my dogs.  Let the barking and/or digging begin.....

SO, I've done some research and have found some really cool, innovative and not too pricey ways to both dress up my plain wooden fence AND allow some sight lines beyond my fence.  I decided to share those with you - just in case you're not fond of feeling enclosed, dogs barking and dogs digging either.  Enjoy!

How about adding shelving to your fence?  You can either use scrap wood that you have left over from other projects and build a simple box OR you can take some old dresser or kitchen drawers that you have left from a remodel.  Paint (or not) and attach to your fence!  That's it!

If you've read my blogs at all, you will know that I am crazy in love with pallets!  They are the single most useful throw away items ever!  How about turning one into a planter to put on your fence?
If you don't want to hang pieces of wood on your wooden fence then how about just buying some metal plant holders, spray painting a few clay (or plastic) pots and hanging those?
I live in an old neighborhood.  I can drive around my immediate vicinity on any given day and find at least 1 house that is either being renovated or torn down.  At the curb will be treasures galore!  How about all those pieces of tin and metal that I've been storing in my basement for just the right project?  I think this next picture shows me exactly what to do with them and I can't wait to get outside to do it!
How about that whole sight line issue I mentioned before?  The next few photo's will address that.  I especially like the first picture.  I think it looks stylish and gives me (and the dogs) that much needed space in which to peek beyond my yard without looking as if I just haven't repaired my fence.  Remove 2 or 3 boards from each section of fencing.  Then replace those boards with a strong lattice (you want the really strong lattice - otherwise your pets will be able to easily bust through it.  Frame it out and paint (if you want) and presto!  A really attractive option.  Also, if your fence is beginning to wobble - this will actually lighten the load your post will have to bear.  Same thing if you do this on your wooden gates.  If your gates are beginning to sag, removing some of the weight will help alleviate that problem.  Eventually you will have to address both the sagging and the wobbling - but this will indeed buy you some time.
While I do want some "peek" holes in my fencing, I don't want them everywhere.  Some privacy is desired.  This next shot takes a plain old privacy fence and really adds some punch to it.  All you need are bamboo poles, framing and a little paint.  Bamboo is not a heavy wood so if your fence is sturdy, this is a very good option. I really like this look.

Maybe you don't want to get super "fancy" with your fencing.  You just want the dog to be able to look out.  Okay.  Here are some suggestions.

The only problem with this idea is the fact that some kid can get his/her hand inside the fence.  Also, if your dog can get his head out - another dog can bite it off.  But it's still an option.  If I were going to do this, I would put some chicken wire over the hole before I framed it out.  But that's just me.
What about this one?!  Get out there and just saw those boards!!!  Job done!  However, once again, hands can get in and heads can get out.  Once again, chicken wire would solve that issue.

This next picture is my favorite of the doggy windows.  It reminds me of those things at the zoo for the groundhogs.  I'm not sure how attractive they'd look in person but they are cute!  I'm also not sure how expensive they are or how long they'd last.
Now you have some ideas to liven up and open up that boring old privacy fence!!  Have fun!!


  1. Privacy fences were created in a way that makes them go far, requiring little maintenance in which to stay ideal shape.

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  2. I designed that gate-- if you follow the instructions it will not sag in the first 15 years.

    1. That is an incredible gate! Thank you so much for commenting here and especially for providing a link so we might try out hand at it!

  3. That is an incredible gate! Thank you so much for commenting here and especially for providing a link so we might try out hand at it!

  4. Picket fencing comes in several colors and can turn any boring landscape into beautiful scenery reminiscent of Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard.
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    1. I love picket fences even better than chain link.

  5. which also needed some “modifications" but now works perfectly to make the garden easy to access by humans but impossible (we hope) for deer!
    dog fence