Don’t Fence Me In

‘Twixt and ‘tween watching the Republican Convention last night (great speech by Melania and too too bad her writers didn’t use Google Word Search first to see some of what she said had already been said, by Michelle Obama nonetheless) I watched a House Hunters marathon. To a one, the buyers all wanted a fenced in back yard.

That made me stop and think of my own youth. I can’t think of a one of my friends or neighbors who had fencing, except those who had horses. We had a stream in our back yard and my parents never thought – we better fence off the kids from the stream.

My next door neighbors had a pond – not fenced off. Pools were not fenced off. Yet at some point, fences became mandatory. And not decorative fencing, like picket, tall and taller fencing.

The White House has erected taller fencing to keep out jumpers.


Mayor deBlasio took Gracie mansion from normal….




Bedford restricts the height of one’s property fence but it didn’t stop people from skirting the law to fence out noise on busy streets here like Route 22 where some of the oldest homes are right ON the road.

This house on Cantitoe had the tallest permitted 8′ fence in front of it for over a decade, obscuring the facade of a classic historic beauty. When a bad storm felled much of the fencing, the current owners took it all down and now it’s back to all its glory, for everyone to see. Bravo.


Fencing can add beauty, no doubt. Picket, split rail….


But when you drove up and this is in your face….well, not very welcoming.


So how did we go from not even a thought of fencing to having it walled off completely? Helicopter parents? Fear of kids being killed by coyote? Run over by a darting car? Lousy neighbors? All of the above?

I’m guilty of having tall fencing myself, walling off a driveway that abuts my property. But I honestly hate it, every last linear foot of it. Plus my fencing getting old, over 15 years now, and the wood is rotting and it needs repainting.Three panels fell during a wind storm last year, giving my home that certain Appalachian look I’m not fond of.

In a perfect world, I’d take down all the fencing, burn it, and maybe plant privet as a hedge for some privacy but not tall like this photo below.


I’m curious, did any of you grow up with a fenced yard?

13 thoughts on “Don’t Fence Me In

  1. Growing up I don’t remember anyone fencing in their yards. Not neighbors, not friends, not neighbors of friends. I had a lovely old (1899) house in OG with privet in the front separating the public sidewalk from the yard.The people we sold it to tore out the privet & installed STOCKADE!!!! 20+ years later it’s still there & still looks like crap. Maybe it all stems from wanting privacy. I don’t know.

  2. Driving around Greenwich you know the fence installers are rich. Huge long and tall fencing everywhere along North and Lake streets. I didn’t grow up here so I don’t know if a generation ago those same homes were open to the street. Agree it’s unattractive and do think it’s worry for kids and dogs that motivates the home owner to put up the fencing.

    My son has a fort around his California house. It’s unattractive to my eye but his house, his choice.

  3. Re Melania’s speech: some are saying she was thrown under the bus by one of her writers, paid off to humiliate her and the Trump family.

    1. I’ve heard that theory floated. Not an unreasonable one. My mother and I feel Melania should go on tv today and get this over with. She first says she had some help writing then she said she did it most herself. The media is on overdrive with the comparison video. I’ll just say they can compare words all they want but there’s no comparison beyond that between Melania and Michelle. None.

      1. That theory is more than being floated. NBC wants you to believe it’s truth. Further that it finally destroys the Trump campaign and the Trump candidacy. Meanwhile Trump supporters are busy tweeting videos of Obama’s speeches as far back as 2007 when he says verbatim something John Edawards said in 2003! This story has taken on a life of its own.

        1. Allegations by Manafort that the Clinton campaign operatives sat in front of TV and were the first to tweet out the similarities. It also hasn’t helped that lame Chris Christie said 93% of the speech is Melania’s own. Thanks for nothing Chris.

          ….This is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, how she seeks out to demean her and take her down.”
          Speaking to reporters in Cleveland later, Mr. Manafort said “there’s a political tint” to the allegations of plagiarism, accusing the Clinton campaign of being the first to spread them.

          On Twitter, a senior Clinton adviser, Jennifer Palmieri, denied that the campaign played a role in spreading the plagiarism allegations.

          Not pretty.

  4. I grew up with a fully fenced (walled, actually) backyard but no fence in the front. Live in Greenwich now and fencing seems to be a status symbol — even more so, masonry stone walls 6’+ high. It seems like its for the “Greenwich backcountry look” as much as it is for privacy — you see privacy fencing on houses that are set way back from the road in places where there’s little traffic.

    I personally don’t particularly mind it, even the privacy fencing. Big estates are not really supposed to be welcoming — hence the electronic gates on many of them. My personal preference would be a privet, tall, but my fear would be maintenance.

    1. The tall masonry walls are hideous – monolithic, not like the serpentine feel of the long low dry stone walls, with delightfully odd shaped stones stacked, some toppling.

      Fencing can be gorgeous, I agree, when when it blocks the entire house from the street, then it takes away from the ambiance of the road.Heck, I suppose we could take the George Soros approach to erecting privacy around his compound – helicopter in 20’+ trees to plant for that instant Stay Away look.

      Speaking from experience, privet IS a pain to trim if you want that trimmed look. I think privet is equally beautiful grown naturally.

  5. The house next door to us in my childhood neighborhood had a white picket fence but it was only about 4 feet high. Didn’t keep anything out; it had wide gaps, even when the across the street neighbors kid were playing in their car in the driveway which was a big hill, they let go the emergency brake and rolled down the drive across the street and broke thru the picket fence in 2 places, they cut the corner! The fence is still there today.

    1. Funny story. And wow, long gone are the days when kids played in parents cars. That was so much fun.
      Picket fences fall into two categories. Pretty and cheap looking. Some of the picket fences I see don’t have any depth to the pickets. They look too flat or too white or too perfect. I like the patina and feel that those pickets have been there a long time.

    1. HYSTERICAL! I had not seen that. Who is the dead ringer for Melania????

      I didn’t understand the joke behind Colbert’s opening comment, knowing about being fired. The audience got it. I did not. Was Colbert on The Celebrity Apprentice? Clue me in.

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