Dickey's Decor

Home, Garden and More

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Recycled Fence

I have always been a gardener. When I was in high school I was known for "borrowing" flowers and arranging them for friends. I was the only one in college to actually plant pots for my various porches. When my husband and I moved into our first rental home I used my tip money to buy different kinds of lavender. Our first home boasted a .25 acre lot. It was a great corner lot with views of the Columbia River Gorge. I made massive mistakes with this yard. I ripped out bushes, cut down trees and removed everything so I could start from scratch. I had almost no shade and I made full use of the sun. Two years after moving in we had what my husband called a jungle. I called it an English Country Garden and later called it a mistake. Don't get me wrong it was beautiful, but it was time consuming and after the birth of my son I couldn't keep up with it. I spent hours keeping the yard up, but finally had to hire help.
Our second, and current, home has .50 acres. I was smarter this time. I lived in the house for awhile before I ripped things out. I let the yard speak to me. I was lucky that someone long ago had foresight and put in some great hardscaping. However, behind the fence was the jungle.
The jungle was a green space that the neighbors eventually purchased from the city in order to keep them from building a walking path behind our homes. Since all the neighbors fenced in their original yards they used this green space as a dumping ground. Our green space included old cyclone fencing, numerous broken pool instruments, a broken jungle gym, buried bricks (I found them one day as I was digging and thought I had found gold), plain old garbage and more. Many years ago a trolley made it's way through this area and once in awhile I will find a really old liqueur bottle.
Anyway, one stormy day the fence separating the two areas fell leaving us with this:

This was a major problem because now my two Boston Terriers were able to access the green space of that runs behind all of our neighbor's properties and on the other side of the green space is some condos and apartments with horrible fencing. After two trips in the car to retrieve my errant dog in an apartment complex I knew we had to do something. Have you ever tried to yell at a dog at two in the morning who chases after some creature? You sound crazy.
The problem was fencing this hilly area was going to be costly...as in $5000. Ugh. I have too many other things to spend my money on. We also wanted to maintain the "rustic" look of this yard. I call it the natural section of the yard and the other part "manicured". On the way to my sister's house is a fence company that often would pile up old sections of fencing they had taken down. They give it away for people to use for fire wood. I got an idea. Many of the fence sections were in good condition. What if we took the boards off and reused them?
We decided to buy new posts and build the frame from new materials and use the recycled fence boards for the sides. At the top we didn't want to see a fence, but wanted to see the greenery beyond. We bought sections of cattle fencing that kept the dogs in, but allowed us the visual effect we were after. Here is what we ended up with:

 The gate was from my parents house.

 This is the view behind our pool fence. This area was covered in blackberry bushes when we moved in. Behind the picket fence is my compost bins.
This is another view at the top of the hill.

When all was said and done the fence cost us about $800 for materials and some labor (we made friends dig holes). The fence is perfect for what we needed and certainly looks rustic. It is sturdy and when boards begin to break or rot we can pop them off and replace them. I may get motivated this summer and even up the tops of the boards a little,but then again maybe I won't. It is RAINY here in the Pacific Northwest and I am ready for spring. Unfortunately, we won't see good weather for at least another two months. In the meantime I am planning the shed and chicken enclosure from recycled materials. Let's see how much I can save there.


  1. Great reuse of scrap material. The fence looks like it's been there forever. Maureen

  2. So good to make something out of nothing, you've done a great job of upcycling!

  3. This is very cool! It is hard to fence on a slope, but you handled that problem very well with your nice fence--I like it a lot! And you must have some very nice friends to dig holes--I need a few of those!

  4. I stopped by off the Tuesday Party! Its funny I am looking for Ideas to fence in my area of garden and, this is an amazing idea. Please visit me at:

  5. Clever way to keep the puppies safe and create a break between garden and wild.

  6. Good use of materials that otherwise would be cast off!
    The fact that the materials are different is no biggie...it gives variety to the view in my opinion. Once the growth picks up...some of it will be camoflaged and will have a more natural look to it.
    Great idea... and safe pups.

  7. Love it- I'm all about reusing. :-)

    Hope to hear more about your chicken shed at future TGP! :-)