A garden fence can also serve as a trellis for vine crops.
A good fence is often the best way to protect a garden from such threats as deer, wandering dogs and perhaps even hungry neighbors. Fences also have important aesthetic qualities, and sometimes a handcrafted traditional fence can greatly improve a garden's visual appeal. Though woven or welded wire is often more effective at deterring invaders, traditional fences are made primarily from wood or stone.
Perhaps the most basic type of traditional fence is stone. Stone can be laid "dry" or "wet" -- dry stone refers to a fence in which the stones are carefully stacked without mortar, whereas wet stone includes mortar or a more primitive bonding agent, such as mud. Properly constructed stone walls of both types are sturdy and beautiful, especially when the stone starts to take on the rich colors of moss and lichen.
Post and Rail
Post and rail fences were common in earlier times because they could be built from trees, an abundant natural building material, without the need for steel fasteners. Posts are made from sturdy round logs of a decay-resistant species such as black locust, white oak or cedar. Purchased lumber can be used for rails, but a truly rustic look requires rails made from a straight log split into four long sections. These quarter-log sections are simply placed into oblong openings drilled into the rails.
Zigzag fencing is somewhat impractical for small areas, but it is still an attractive option because it is easy to construct and full of historical charm. This type of fencing uses rails without posts, so it is ideal for areas where it would be undesirable or impossible to dig post holes. The rails can be made from quarter-logs, as with post and rail fencing, or from other types of long, straight lumber. These rails are stacked with the ends of adjacent sections arranged in an interlocking pattern. To make the fence stable without posts anchored in the ground, each fence section is angled in relation to adjacent sections -- hence the name "zigzag" fencing.
A board fence is similar to a post and rail fence, but instead of rails inserted into the posts, purchased boards are nailed (or screwed) onto the posts. Board fencing does not have the same rustic charm as post and rail, but it is much easier to construct because there is no need to bore holes into the posts. A properly constructed board fence is also more durable than post and rail because the boards are fastened to the posts.
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