The Circuitous Fence

My woodworking was quickly veering into house construction chores as I saw ways to take my new skills into improving our environment. We had long talked about how we would build-up our front yard, with garden beds filled with flowering bushes, like azaleas, roses, and peonies.

One important component to this dream, was adding a circuitous fence to the front yard. As much as I like the seemingly communal aspect of an open front yard that stretches from neighbor-to-neighbor’s lawn, in practice very few people seem to spend a lot of time in their front yards. However, I’ve noticed that people with fences tend to spend more time in that space. I also like how a fence defines a territory and serves as the boundary to a space perceptually. This makes the space seem compartmentalized and visually bound to a designed purpose. For all these reasons, we knew a fence would be in our future.

I put my woodworking skills to the test and designed a fence that met my criterion. More on that later.

Fence posts are cemented into the ground, roughly 7 feet apart.

Here I practiced the overall design to ensure my plan looked as good as in real life.

You can see from the above photo that my plan featured three rails. Two to brace the pickets and a third to ensure a smooth top rail. The kind of rail you can set a drink on top of. I really like the smooth line this creates. I find that traditional picket fences and their spiky tops only look well when camouflaged behind plenty of foliage. I think a smooth line will look great juxtaposed in front of the flowery bushes that will someday rise behind them.

The rest of the rails are installed.

The pickets were easy to install. I made a homemade jig that allowed me to ensure perfect 1 5/8″ spacing between picket boards. Due to the slight differences in post-to-post distances, I had to make a few strips and thickened some middle boards to ensure the spacing was kept consistent.

The pickets are up and the tops of the posts are cut smooth.

Cutting the tops of the posts to the same height was not the easiest. I had to use a circular saw on two sides to clear the thick wood. Then I used my Japanese pull saw to smooth the cut flat.

The beveled top blocks add an interesting feature.

I then took my post cut-offs and beveled them to add a decorative feature to each post top. The fence was finished. Now I need to consider a gate design.


Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.