A classic fence option from my backyard

As we discuss in Chapter 22, there are many options when it comes to fences, both in terms of design as well as material. Common material options are wood (naturally resistant or pressure treated), vinyl, and of course metal (mainly galvanized steel). However, as a recent story (linked below) from the New York Times highlights, there are other options as well, namely stainless steel in this case. This article also discusses some of the socio-economic factors that are relevant in this context: fences as status symbols, cultural representation, etc.

My recent trip to Germany reminded me that there are also fencing options that are highly regional. Case in point being the metal fence that is shown in the image below. This seems to be the “standard ultilty” metal fence option at least in the part of Germany that I visited. As you can see in the image, this fence consists of a galvanized, welded wire mesh that gains stiffness from horizontal double-wires. As a result, this fence is much stiffer than the woven wire mesh that is common as a utility fence in North America.

How strong is this fence? Look at the stone wall portion towards the back of the image. It was made by loosely depositing rocks between two parallel layers of this fencing material, spaced roughly six inches apart. What results is a visual barrier with a very solid appearance.

A contemporary fencing option from Germany

When choosing a material for a fence, it is of course important to keep durability in mind. That is clearly a major consideration for the stainless steel fences mentioned in the NY Times article. But time can impact fences in other ways, too. The example below of a metal rail fence, which I found in Newport, RI, shows beautifully what happens when nature encounters (and then completely ignores) the obstacle that is the fence.

This historic tree did not consider the fence an impediment to its growth

Got any interesting fences to share? Leave a comment below…