This week in the garden has been all about catching the last run of summery days and the painting of the fence. Back in January we got rid of old fence which was completely fecking knackered. Old gate had a habit of jamming so that people could neither leave the garden or get into the garden whenever they wanted to. Old gate had to be negotiated with: at first negotiations were gentle, a wee careful pushing and lifting. Then, towards the end, whispering sweet nothings did, well, sweet nothing. Using the gate became a violent affair and neighbours would rush past, scared, every time one of us emerged from the garden having successfully kicked and sworn our way out with rusty screams of old hinges piercing the air of the street. Not useful, really, since we use the back of the house as our main entrance. Old gate also had a completely paradoxical habit of flinging itself open in the wind - as if possessed - and inviting New Dog to run free on the street beyond and to enthusiastically greet passing neighbours. Or buses. It was all rather terrifying. Old fence had to go.
I got inspiration for new fences and gates partly from our old house which had horizontally hung planks rather than vertical. Someone once told me it was called a 'good neighbour fence'. Our kids and our neighbour's kids loved climbing it over the years and I have perched on a bottom plank more than once and had a natter with the old next doors folks on many an occasion. It was the same style as this beauty;
This time around we were definitely looking for greater privacy than the old fence here offered - in this case it was just about 4 feet tall and the dog easily jumped over it chasing a tennis ball not long after we moved here. Again, not useful. However we also didn't want a completely screened effect because of the gate that's positioned in this new garden fence. I wanted people entering the garden to know the dog could be on the inside of the gate - people with small kids or dog fears particularly need the warning, I think. While I'd be happy if he scared the living daylights out of an intruder, I generally don't want friends and family to be taken off guard by him as he is rather a large lump of dog and a heads up is usually a good idea until he gets a bit older and calmer and less likely to slam-dunk people. I also love horizontally hung fencing planks for the more modern feel they give to a space - a bit California and a nice contrast to traditional plants or hedging.
Unlike at the last house I had it my head that we were going to paint the fence this time round. The last fence was stained dark brown before our time with it and really, short of replacing it and starting again, it was a look that just had to stay once done. While it looked smart and totally in keeping with everything it was also a source of zero interest in winter when all the plants died back and things got wet, windswept and a bit barren. As winter can be an increasingly long period these days I'm figuring that every opportunity to keep the garden interesting when the sunshine's sitting lower is a chance to be leapt upon.
Anyway, while oot and aboot on my dog walking & running travels I passed this lovely gate outside a complex of cool townhouses not too far from where we live;
I loved the farm gate type of design and also the low fussiness factor. It fitted the bill for looking good in paint and having horizontal slats too. It's not a great photo snapped from my phone at the kerbside from inside the car but I also loved the way the colour sat so easily next to natural stone and the amazing plants in the garden beyond. I showed the pics to our wonder carpenter guy and we hatched plans for our very similar but taller design. Et voila.... in the depths and plummeting temperatures of early 2013, new fence and gate were born....
This week we're adding colour.
I don't think the photo does the colour (Farrow & Ball 'Downpipe') a great justice but I love it. Depending on what the light outdoors is doing it's all refined grey one minute and then the most muted, peaceful denimy blue the next. It looks brilliant contrasted with the galvanised hinges and gate handle too and when I look out the kitchen window at it it really picks up the different tones of slate in the roof tiles along the pretty curved street behind our house as well as making the greens of the hedge and The Something Tree really glossy and bright. Now just to convince myself to finish the job, fiddly edges and all.
The only other thing of interest for me in the garden this week is my fabulous feminist tea-towel's moment in the sun. It comes as a souvenir from a summer holidays adventure to York with the kids and friends - happy memories. It gets my vote every time, I love it.
Linking up again this week to the lovely Mammasaurus' and How Does Your Garden Grow? Do get a cuppa and take a wander round the other gardens in the link - the photographs, stories, garden plans and reflections are all wonderful.