Fence Design

We keep noticing beautifully designed fences, arbors and outdoor space screens around our town. We see plenty of badly designed ones too, but thought you’d be more interested in the goodies!

Keep your eyes peeled for additions to this series as we discover more while we collect supplies for our next project.

We’d love to hear your opinions too. Don’t be shy ;)

Posted April 16, 2014

Sometimes simple is the most elegant – The black stain against the lime of the maple tree makes both colors more vibrant (and what about the fall colors!). It also illustrates a couple of design considerations: first how the plantings/foliage look with the color and design and secondly – stain, don’t paint! Whenever you can!

Fence stained black

Posted February 25, 2013

You know those fabulous slabs of tree you’ve squirreled away in your basement? I know some of you have them (and I am jealous). Here’s an idea to inspire your creative side – check this out! The wine garden fence designed by Marenakos Rock Center for the Seattle Flower and Garden Show 2013.

Marenakos Wood and Stone Fence

A Wood and Stone Fence

A powerful statement at 10-15 feet tall! Just to the right of this was the entry gate:

Marenakos Entry Gate


I love the design concept of getting lighter (visually), and more wild as the fence/arbor/entry goes up and the contrast between warm, polished wood against hewn, cold stone. Lighting was used to great effect, which my flash washed out (dang!), but you can still get a sense of it. The plants add softness and depth by being both in front of and behind the fence, tapping into our impulsive nature to spy inside. Isn’t it great?!

Posted October 1, 2012

This one’s just for fun because it’s so super cool– rusty metal rods mimic local pond reeds and grasses.

You can visit it at Chihuly Garden and Glass located at the Seattle Center ( Go! We still have a week of sunshine! )

We heart rusty metal

Posted September 19th, 2012

My family spent some time hanging out in the San Juan Islands this summer, and this fence is used everywhere – a little contrast with the previous fence post –

There’s just something about the light in these islands – so beautiful!

Split rail fence

It doesn’t get any easier than this, simply layer the pieces on top of each other, no attachment necessary. The older they get, the more beautiful – kind of like us – ha ;)

Posted June 25th, 2012

I think it’s interesting that they’ve mixed a painted trellis with a lightly stained fence/gate. It reminds me to broaden my ideas of what can work (design wise). I also love the thickness of the gate that gives it such visual weight and solidity, the heavy-duty galvanized hinges, and the curves. So Pretty!

Fences, gates, and arbors can really help create a beautiful and relaxing transition from the street (work) to your front door (ahhh, home). I would love to pass through this gate everyday, wouldn’t you?

Posted June 7th, 2012

The pattern of the vertical pieces is more complex than you realize at first glance. I really like the way this fence is offset between the two separate panels  – plus it allows the mailman a shortcut to the neighbors (Seattlelites are so considerate!) A few things to note: it’s screwed together vs. nailed which will make it far more sturdy, and it has a natural finish (less maintenance is good good good).

* If you do screw together small pieces like this it’s a good idea to pre-drill the holes so that you won’t split your wood.

Posted May 22, 2012

The sliding gate, detail of the steel channel securing the fence boards, and a narrow planting box

Here’s another horizontal fence, next post I promise vertical designs! This fence is pretty high-end with it’s IPE (ironwood) boards and custom steel work, but the ideas can be used in lots of different ways. My favorite is the addition of the trellis at the top. You could adapt this to an existing fence by adding a full length piece to your post to extend it higher above the fence top. I think I might do this– as you will notice my fence is not featured in this post– that’s because it’s ugly. It’s on the list though!

Other design ideas worth noting: extending the post above the fence top, contrasting colors, emphasizing the attachments (bolts in this case), a vertical trellis/arbor, use of steel, narrow planting box with strongly vertical plants, contrasting the polished look of the fence with the roughness of concrete masonry blocks (cmu). Nice.

Posted May 15, 2012

A simple detail can make all the difference

In this example, less expensive tight knot boards are beautiful when combined with different sizes and a few well placed accents. Note! The horizontal boards are a random pattern, as are the thin, protruding boards.

Posted May 12, 2012

It doesn’t have to be a solid wall to provide privacy

Often a fence is installed to gain some outdoor privacy, but with a little attention to design, it can be a work of art that really does extend an indoor space out. Love the horizontal and a thoughtful rhythm of boards and spaces in the one above.

7 thoughts on “Fence Design

  1. These are all wonderful. With a carefully designed fence, you are guaranteed to create a beautiful backdrop for your yard’s landscaping. If you are not sure what kind of fence will give your property the greatest visual appeal while still accommodating your budgetary requirements, you can seek some help from a reputable fence company.

  2. One thing I really noticed when we were in Coronado in December was all the front perimeter fencing the homes had. I really liked it. Much more interesting than simple lawn. I think it’s a combination of interesting walk way materials, unique fencing and plantings. I took a lot of photo’s. No I just need a house.

    • I agree, landscaping design has gotten far more interesting! The trend in Seattle is towards native plants and edible gardens, which I love. Went to bed reading about foraging the other night. Good Luck with the house search- more and more should be coming available now! Tis the season!

  3. I was delighted to come across this collection of artfully designed privacy fences. Your points are exactly in line with my thinking – trying to create something that will go with the landscaping, foliage and blend in to it’s surroundings. My new fence design will incorporate all of this, your web site confirmed my points I’m making for this approach rather than solid walls. I’ll send pictures when it’s done, now it’s all in my head.

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