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Although ready-made arbors are easy to find, homemade structures may be just as effective. Rustic wooden poles (treated with preservative only where they will have contact with the ground) and cross beams of driftwood or store bought latticework furnish an informal style appropriate to many country gardens.
A fencing design with a long history is split rail. Lumberyards carry posts with holes already cut in them and cedar or redwood rails for cross members. Pine will sag over time so the harder woods are the better choice. Split rail fencing may not provide privacy, but it can enhance the character of the architecture of the house or define a yard without natural boundaries.
It may be important to integrate fences or walls into the landscape and regional character of the neighborhood. They can reflect the architectural style of the home and community. Look at the fences in the surrounding community—study the materials they are made of-wood, stone, brick or chain-link-to determine the suitability for your yard.
Board and batten fencing is a good design for privacy screening and at the same time allows for air circulation. The basic design for this type of fence is support posts connected by cross members, with planks then added parallel to the posts on alternate sides of the cross members. If you use planks of different widths and vary them randomly the resulting textural variety is attractive.
Arbors covered with a deciduous vine and attached to a house share their shade in the summer and, in winter, allow the sun's warmth to enter. Some choices include the hop vines (Humulus lupulus), various grapevines and ivies, flowering clematis, honeysuckle, and jasmines.
Arbors and pergolas always create a destination and can spark interest even in a small garden, They can be inviting and pretty and offer an attractive spot to read in the shade, but most important they provide support for an endlessly interesting variety of plants, from deciduous and evergreen vines to climbing roses.
There are many things to consider when deciding whether to build a fence or even a wall. The first and most important is the need or purpose of the structure. Do you need a fence or a wall? Then decide on the architectural style or design and type of materials to use. Finally, integrate the design with your landscape, (and don't forget to estimate the costs!)
Tall walls or solid board fences are effective barriers that can keep people or animals in or out of a specific area. It's the psychological effect of a “solid” fence that may sometimes be more effective at stopping intruders than taller, open types of fencing that allow the view of the interior. Barrier fences or walls are usually over 6 feet tall.
Fences and walls can support espaliers or vines or transform a steep slope into a terraced garden. Golden delicious apple trees espaliered on post and wire fence can resemble a hedge and at the same time provide a bountiful harvest of edible fruit…and probably requires no more space than many fences.
Fences, walls and screens alter microclimates in gardens, serving as windbreaks or creating shade in sunny locations. Microclimates are small areas in a landscape that have different climate conditions. Temperatures can be altered by carefully planning the type of fence or wall and location in the landscape.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|