Landscape & Fencing

Overview

When you think of landscaping, the idea of adding fencing might not immediately come to mind. Nonetheless, fences serve useful functions in a landscape design. At the outset, however, it's important to consider your space constraints and the project's overall goal before buying fencing supplies. Keep a clear vision of your objective when choosing materials.

History

Dr. Christina Kotchemidova from the New York University tells us in her writings on culture and communication that fences in early history served some very simple functions. They indicated ownership of a space and helped keep people or farm animals inside or outside a designated zone. Artistic renderings such as a fresco of the pedestal in a pool in Pompeii dating to the late 1st century B.C. shows lattice fence as part of the landscape with flowers and a walkway. That means that fences and gardens were a common part of our ancestors' world.

Types

Modern fencing comes in many materials, each of which has a different feel and look. Wooden fences, for example, create a rustic ambiance. When fashioned from white oak or red cedar, this type of fence lasts upward of 30 years. Plastic is another material for fencing that's become popular for its price point and longevity. Manufacturers simplified the traditional white picket fence adored by many landscapers by creating mix-and-match fence slats and stylized tops for nearly any desired finished look. Other fencing options include metal, vinyl, stacked rocks or brick and bamboo. Of these, the green landscaper likes bamboo because it's a sustainable resource, relatively cost-effective and very strong.

Misconceptions

When many people think of fences, they envision something that blocks the view of beautiful landscaping efforts. That's a privacy fence. While these sometimes figure into landscape and garden design, depending on the neighborhood, there are other ways to use fencing that doesn't hinder the view. For example, smaller fencing pieces set up toward the rear of a garden space provide a vertical surface where stunning vining flowers like giant white moonflower (Calonyction alba) grow readily.

Considerations

Before building a fence into a landscape design, it's important to check with your local building or code enforcement department. There may be limits to the height or placement of the fence. Depending on how close it is to a neighboring yard, easements could figure into this endeavor, too.

Benefits

One of the largest benefits provided by fencing, particularly for edible landscapes, is as a first line of defence against rabbits and deer. Sweet flowers and vegetables attract both creatures that nibble away all of your hard work. Prudently placed fences also protect a landscaper's design from the ravages of wind and snow.

Keywords: landscape fencing, fencing materials, history of fences, garden fencing, deer rabbit control

About this Author

Patricia Telesco has been a writer since 1992. She has produced more than 60 books with publishers that include HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. Her articles have appeared in "Woman's World" and "National Geographic Today." Telesco holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Buffalo.