The Fence that Isn’t a Fence: Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop

– Posted in: Hardscaping and Projects
20 comments

I have always loved picket fences. They just look so neat and orderly, and they let flowers peek through. When we first moved here I would look out the window and daydream about a picket fence around the front and at least part way up the sides of our property. I would debate within my mind about whether or not there should be a gate, or maybe there should be two gates…I don’t know what brought on my epiphany, but one day it hit me: I live on a hill. I have never seen a picket fence that looked good going up a hill. They are made for flat, or nearly flat, areas. Back to the drawing board.

Years later, we needed to replace our porch railing. My DH did not like the prices or the looks of the outdoor railings he saw at the big box stores. He walked around the store, looking for an alternative. Finally, he found something he thought would work and brought it home.

Image of porch with picket fence for a railing
He was very relieved to see my delight. He hadn’t known about my love of picket fences, and didn’t realize he was making my dream come true!

This post inspired by the Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop, sponsored by Gardening Gone Wild.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

To northern gardeners, this time of year [March] is full of anxious pleasure. Even as they daydream about the botanical pleasures of June and July, ordinary mortals find themselves nearly defeated by the gardening deadlines that pass so swiftly in March. Extraordinary mortals–whose seeds arrived two months ago, whose windows are now full of seedlings, and who are ready to sow peas and carrots the instant the soil thaws–will suffer torments of their own when the perfections they’re planning somehow fail to germinate or blossom. A garden is just a way of mapping the strengths and limitations of your personality onto the soil. It would be too much to bear if nature didn’t temper a gardener’s ambition or laziness with her own unsolicited abundance.

~Verlyn Klinkenborg in

19 Comments… add one

Jon Hilford June 15, 2009, 5:04 pm

Picket fences are my weak spot, when we go on vacation I have to stop and get a picture next to all the cute picket fences. I like the picket fence across your porch, it add elegance and grace to your house.

Beautiful Fences May 10, 2009, 5:21 pm

I know exactly what your talking about regarding a fence on a hill. Most fences are constructed with solid panels but there are plenty of companies out there that build custom picket fences that are not in panels and look nice going up a hill. Here are a few pics of some http://beautifulfences.blogspot.com/2009/03/fence-photos-picket-fence.html

Beautiful Fences’s last blog post..Metal Driveway Gates | Pictures of Decorative Ornamental Steel Driveway Gate

Fence Atlanta August 24, 2008, 1:30 am

That’s pretty cool. Check out some more great pictures
Garden Fence Designs !!!!

patsposies January 18, 2008, 1:17 pm

I just love picket fences too and was so excited when I actually physically ‘picked up’ a couple of sections someone left on the roadside for Fall trash pick up. During the last warm spell we had a couple wks ago, I spent the day out in my garage repairing them and painting them. Now the toughest part is where I want to use them – there are just so many possibilities. I’m thinking maybe in front of my compost pile, in the garden to support some climbing nasturtiums, and maybe one under a window on my deck with a flower box hanging from it. Keep your eyes peeled for others cast offs!!

bathroombuzz January 18, 2008, 11:11 am

hi kathy, well it is a beautiful fence !

Arthur January 15, 2008, 8:26 am

I did see that Kathy and I think that it looks wonderful. I will continue to read your blogs too. Informative and fun writing is always great, especially when its about gardening and the great outdoors!

Jenn January 13, 2008, 5:36 pm

Lovely solution. I used reclaimed fencing to make a grey weathered picket fence at my old place. Looked great with flowers around it.

And, fyi:
Do you know that you cant [sic] use an apostrophe in your comments in Firefox? It defaults to a function called “Quick Find…” ouch.

Annie in Austin January 4, 2008, 6:19 pm

This is a totally charming story, Kathy. The rail looks great and the points will prevent someone from sitting on the top of the porch rail with booted legs outstretched to touch the house wall…. so you have no bootprints on the wall and the posts stay tight. Not that any of your long-legged offspring would do that ;-]

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Mr. McGregor's Daughter January 2, 2008, 4:45 pm

That is such a charming porch! I love the idea of a fence that is not a fence.

lisa January 2, 2008, 3:17 pm

I think it looks great! I like picket fences too, and use them as backdrop/trellis elements around the yard.

Sandy January 2, 2008, 12:23 am

I love this look! This is something I will file away for future use.

Jim January 1, 2008, 1:54 pm

Very clever! Multiple purposes, readily available materials, inexpensive. Ingenious. Wish I’d thought of it.

Kathy Purdy January 1, 2008, 12:14 pm

Thank you, all. I think this works better with a house that doesn’t have a very definitive architectural style. Or perhaps on the side of a garage as a sort of bas-relief sculpture. If the garage has a window, then of course a window box is called for. Or create a faux window as well.

Curtis December 31, 2007, 2:54 pm

Hi Kathy,

I saw this picture in your blog header before. I always thought it was a fence. The picket fence idea for railings is fantastic.

Pam/Digging December 31, 2007, 12:44 am

That is a charming porch rail. What a great idea. I’ll have to share it with my mom, whose neighborhood forbids front-yard fences. She’s always wanted a picket fence, but maybe she could do this on her back porch.

Carol December 30, 2007, 8:38 pm

A very good way to bring a picket fence into the garden, especially when you have a large piece of property like you do.

Dee/reddirtramblings.com December 30, 2007, 2:10 pm

What a nice story and what an innovative way to use picket fencing. We have split rail around our property and the back garden.

Nan Ondra December 30, 2007, 7:49 am

What an absolutely terrific idea, Kathy! Talk about bringing the garden right up to the house. I’m so glad you posted it; thanks!

mss @ Zanthan Gardens December 29, 2007, 11:45 pm

What a lovely story. You two were obviously meant for each other. And what a clever way to use a picket fence.

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