Out Riding Fences

privacy fence on concrete

On a beautiful 60 degree day not that long ago when winter decided to take a break, I was sitting in my neighbor’s back yard and she asked “so what have y’all got going on over there at the house“.

What she means is–have we got any improvement projects or renovations planned?

I wish my answer was yes. I wish my answer was, “actually yeah, we’re gonna rip the second story off next week and go to town on a master suite, kitchen addition and we won’t stop until we’ve dormered the entire second story. It will be absolutely dreamy.”

My real answer was “Nah, not really, I think we’re going to put up a fence.

Dan and I have been round tabling some fence plans. One reason being, we fancy another dog. And then when we acquire the new dog we need to wrangle the dogs and the kids and privatize our backyard situation.

A small, raised bed kitchen garden would also be me in my future, after all what kind of thirty something would I be if I didn’t want raised garden beds. So that means I need to keep the deer out because I have regular deer visitors.

A fence can be pretty expensive, especially when you have a half acre or an acre of property to fence. Most of the time the cost will be in the thousands for basic wooden fencing so we want to make wise choices to protect our budget and ensure our fence will last.


Create Privacy

Contain pets & kids

Keep deer and bunnies out to make way for garden



The pre-existing 2 foot tall brick wall to the right
Should we build on top of it or to the side of it?

Existing privacy fence to the left?
Should we rebuild or repair it?

How wide should we make the gate?

Dan wants to mix three styles of fencing together.

Dan’s fence proposal:

Run a traditional and very standard privacy fence down the left and right side, like the fence below. Dan’s thought here is that we will ultimately plant evergreen trees and shrubs that will eventually almost mask the entire fence. But for a while-likely this entire season and for the next five years after that, we will see a lot of fence.


Then he suggests that we fancy it up on the front portion with something like this,

cedar fence gate

And then along the back in the woods he proposes we cut costs and put some wire fencing there. It will disappear into the woods and you won’t notice it.

wire fence

I on the other hand only want to mix two styles of fencing. Dan and I agree on the fancy front and we agree on using a wire fence on the back because it virtually disappears in the woods. Where we disagree- using a simple and boring privacy fence down the left and right sides.

I’d rather have something like this installed,

privacy fence

The sides in my plan match the front sections. Here’s another simple fence design with the top board and simple columns and it’s sitting on a short concrete wall kind of like the situation we have with the low brick wall.

privacy fence on concrete

We are meeting with the fence contractor this week to get a quote. I’m hoping there isn’t that much of a difference in cost between that boring version that Dan wants to put down the side and the more finished look with the top rail that I want to install.

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  • I can see the point about the cypress covering up your duckets in time, but I too hope that the cost difference is enough to justify the prettier version. I’m always in favor of prettier when the price is right!

    For the opening, my wish would be for a nice wide gate so you can easily open her up for a bulldozer, car, truck or vintage shasta camper to gain entry.

    • To expand on both yours & Heather’s points really–when you’re in the neighbor’s yard, it’s been landscaped so heavily on their side that you can’t see that fence at all which is why they don’t care to invest any money in improving it. Which furthers Dan’s position significantly but I don’t think he has realized that yet.

      I don’t think pretty will win but we’ll see the numbers.

  • I’ve done the ugly fence on about an acre and I was shocked at how much it cost. Needless to say I was even more unhappy when our neighbors on both sides piggybacked on ours, saving themselves a few duckies. Of course my mother had suggested before we had the fence put up that we discuss cost sharing with our neighbors since we were literally saving them 1/3 of the cost of putting up a fence. But I knew better, right?! No not really I was just to chicken. Plus we did not have a great relationship with one of them, hence the original desire for the fence. Well it’s 13 years later now and I’m still not totally sure I’d have the courage to ask now. BUT if you have a good relationship with your neighbors and you are considering such a beautiful addition to both properties (your fence choice I mean) you may want to consider it. I know some might see that as tacky, I guess it could be. That was my excuse anyway. No one wants to talk about money with neighbors but the bottom line is you are going to pay for they’re fence too. Just food for thought.

    • Heather-You’re right. Here’s the good thing, I’ve got a great relationship with one neighbor and a positive one with the other. We consulted both. Both said we don’t care what you do–have at it BUT there’s only one side with an existing fence and they don’t want to invest any money in that right now. So we pay the whole tab.

  • Interesting idea about sharing the cost with neighbors. I love that idea.

    We’re in our rental for a bit longer yet, but since the neighbor house (link) was sold and the remodel complete, a young dude has moved in and turned the place into his bachelor pad, complete with a pool table and TWO hot tubs in the backyard. He had his construction crew pull all of the beautiful ivy that had grown up over the fence that separates our yards. (basically chickenwire).

    We feel suddenly very exposed and it’s a vulnerable position to be in.

    This is kind of a departure from your particular situation, but to Heather’s point – I think that you are real lucky to have a good relationship with your neighbors. If this were our forever home, I’d be researching fence options too.

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