You know the saying “good fences make good neighbors?” Well, I believe good fences also make good gardens. When we first moved to Portland the house we rented had low (3ft) tall fences in the back yard, as did the next few houses in line. No privacy, and no consistency. My idea of a great garden doesn’t include leggy roses and 1970’s project cars, yet by default they were part of my rental garden.

Pinterest collage
collage from my “fence ideas” Pinterest Board

About this time last year I started collecting images of fences on Pinterest. We were planning to undertake the “garden-changing” project of removing a bunch of overgrown shrubs on the north side of our property and building a fence, along with a matching one on the south side. I had several grand ideas of what that fence might look like, but my husband wisely reminded me that we didn’t need to spend a lot of money on a fence that I would proceed to “hide” behind a bunch of plants. Touché.

Long story short, we made our choice and I’ve been happy with it. The horizontal boards offer a surprising amount of privacy, while still letting in a great deal of light and allowing for air movement. Oh and yes, the plants are already starting to hide it (and I’ve only just begun planting)…
our fence b

This is the section on the south side of our property, the previous vertical “good neighbor” fence with alternating panels was, as far as light is concerned, a virtual wall. This version glows on a sunny day, allowing brief bits of sunlight on a very shady part of the garden. It’s a good thing.
our fence a

As happy as I am with our fence(s) I’m still on high alert as I drive around town, scanning for interesting specimens. This one recently grabbed my attention. It’s quite like our fence but the boards are a little more overlapped, something I wish I would have thought of…
boards more overlapped

As it provides just a touch more privacy.
touch more privacy

This fence was used on either side and in between a pair of newly constructed homes (infill development), in NE Portland. One of the pair has already started to hide the fence behind plants…
hiding one

I also like their darker boards, I didn’t want to undertake the maintenance nightmare of staining our fence and besides it needs to blend with an existing section (left unstained) that runs the length of the back of the garden. I’m hoping with time the weathered look will suffice.
hiding two

I guess what I’m saying is even though I am happy with our choice I still find myself scouting for better, and second guessing our decisions. Do you do that too?

Plants that can hide an ugly fence, gently obscure a nice one, or create a fabulous fence all by themselves…