The rain has finally let up, and all of the neighbors’ houses are buzzing with activity – painters, landscapers, carpenters. The neighbor, on our right, is just finishing her exterior paint job and the neighbor, on the left, had guys power-washing her picket fence yesterday afternoon. A reminder that the exterior design of our homes is as important as the interior. We are living in our third home since we’ve had children, but have only been in our current home with all four kids. When the triplets started walking and playing outside more, we had to fence in the immediate areas around our house – confinement was my priority – to corral the girls who often times run off into 3 different directions.
The driveway was priority #1. We installed a picket fence wide gate which opens up on both sides to allow a car to drive through and is tall enough to keep little ones from escaping out onto the road, but does not obstruct views. (The fence on the right is our neighbor’s.)
Upon entering through the driveway gate, you walk up 3 steps onto our side patio.
When we bought this house back in 2006, the retaining wall consisted of half cement cinder blocks and half original field stone, as the previous owners (2 owners before us) had put on an addition to the back of the house which is elevated. Our (walk-out) basement, back in the late 1800s, had some sort of farm-animal or horse stall in it, so a portion of the patio’s retaining wall was old and the other new(er). Two years ago, we rebuilt the patio, the retaining wall and replaced the old concrete steps with granite. On the side of the patio that runs along the driveway (as seen above) we installed a 6-foot privacy fence and gate. (Before, the patio had a railing along the driveway with steps that were open, allowing our kids to run down onto the driveway with full access to the street.) This new design served 2 purposes – privacy and confinement. The kids can now play solely on our enclosed patio, and even if we open up the patio door, they can run down into the backyard, but not onto the street (thanks to the driveway gate).
While the 6-foot patio fence runs along the front side (street view) and the driveway side, the back perimeter of the patio is a railing with simple balusters – to access the views of the back yard.
We used 3 different types of fencing all in one area: the picket fence, the 6-foot V-groove paneled fence, and the railing. Though it may sound “busy,” mixing 3 styles served various functions of privacy, safety, viewing and yet, aesthetically, is clean and cohesive.
Many homeowners are apprehensive about mixing up their fencing and tend to play it safe. Within your home’s perimeter, don’t be afraid to venture into other styles. You may need a certain type of fencing to keep animals in (pets) or out, or another type of fencing around a swimming pool area. I’ve even seen creative ways to disguise a chain-link fence. Aesthetics and curb appeal are important, but so is function. My advice is to keep the styling simple and cohesive (our patio railing matches the balusters on the topper above the paneling on the 6-foot fence), I like straight, clean lines, but even for some who like more detailing and lattice work, try not to exceed 3 different styles. (Though further away from the patio and driveway area, we have another fence style – a split-rail property fence – which I guess makes 4.)
The company we used, New England Woodworkers, makes quality fences in our area, and I’d highly recommend. Upon visiting their website, I noticed that they received the Best of Boston Home 2011 Award…enough said!
all images by Ei3s