“The Mending Wall”, by Robert Frost, is a poem I studied during my high school literature days; I remember well discussing what the author meant by good fences make good neighbors. Now, my family and I are trying to be good neighbors as we face a fencing issue of our own.
The neighbors behind us have a couple of large dogs that seem to want to tear apart the fence when we are in the back area of our yard; and when our daughter’s dogs come to visit, the neighbor dogs sound like attack dogs. This problem seems to stem from the fact that there is a bit of space between the grape-stake fence that is fastened to a chain-link fence. The grape-stake fencing, no doubt, was intended to add privacy and improve the look of the link-fencing. While we have plans to make improvements in the back yard, the fence falls far below the top of the list—except when we have dogs visiting.
The problem seemed to be that the dogs could see and smell each other through a space in the fence; so my immediate solution was to block that area, which I did with a large trash can. Never intended as a long-term solution, it seemed to work initially. Next, I bought an old gate from a local salvage store, and my husband clamped it to the fence—a was a good solution for a time, but the smaller of our visiting dogs could nose her way under the gate enough to be a perceived threat to the dogs behind us.
Next, we decided that a series of old reclaimed doors would take care of the problem. The plan is to link several old doors of different styles, to create a strong, closed barrier and paint them a mossy color to blend with the ivy growing from the neighbors fence.
We have a start of this new “fence”, already. My daughter and I were driving around after going to the salvage store and found some doors beside the road, clearly needing to be picked up and carted away; we were obliging. Maybe we will get lucky and find more doors that are someone else’s trash, but ones that can become our treasure.
My goal is to create a secret garden look with odd styled doors and unite them with a common color, keeping the gate for added interest, and to help create that secret garden aesthetic. Naturally, I have to embellish the plain gate until I can implement fully my plan. I rolled some tree stumps that were on our property and set them on either side of the gate, then added some pots and plants for color. A wreath gives the gate a touch of holiday spirit; I felt it was no longer an inside wreath, but it would do for the garden.
So far, my investment is the cost of the gate, and a quart of paint and a few annuals. I will keep you posted on the fence project as it progresses. We might get it done very soon since we will have all the kids home for the holidays—another family project!
With thanks to Robert Frost for his inspiring, thought-provoking poem, we too hope that a good fence will indeed make us all good neighbors.