Peter’s pretty good fence

DSCN0675This fence is like those old quart milk bottles of yesteryear: It’s handsome and it works – not to mention being thrifty. My own 1,500-square-foot garden cost less than $300 to fence this way, if memory serves.

I built it in sections, each comprising about 36 vertical lengths of 48 x 1.5-inch lath (used as a backing for plaster walls). It’s about the cheapest wood you can find, and while it warps and twists a bit, that’s part of its charm. I get it in bundles from the big-box home stores.

Fasten the vertical lath pieces to two 8’ lengths of strapping, another inexpensive wood. Just lay two lengths of strapping across a pair of sawhorses, then align the strapping to right angles with a framing square. using one-inch deck screws or long staples to fasten in place.

I place the strapping about 25” apart on centers, with the lath extending about 10” below, and 8-9” above the strapping. There’s no rule here, but try to have the lath extend longer below the bottom length of strapping that it does about the top one. It looks better.

The lath strips should be an inch or less apart to keep rabbits out. Then I buy 8-foot lengths of pressure-treated 2x4s and cut them in half. Each 4-foot half I sink in the ground such that it sticks slightly above the 4-foot tall fence sections. This is just for looks.

At the other end of a section I plant an 8-foot landscape timber. These are technically not rot-proof, but they last for years. These should be sunk two feet underground, with the other two feet sticking above the fence sections. This is not only handsome (breaking up what would be a boring fence line) but can be used to hold electric fence wires if deer are a problem. I have plenty around, but they don’t jump the 4-foot fence.

And then, except for fashioning a gate, you have a nice safe place for a garden.


About lifegrower

Peter V. Fossel has been gardening since he was nine, and has been an organic farmer for the last 20 years. His most recent book, “Organic Farming, Everything You Need to know” was published by Voyageur Press, Minneapolis, 2007. He’s written numerous gardening articles for Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Country Journal, Out Here, and American Profile among others. He was Gardens Manager for The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Tennessee before returning to Cape Cod to start his newest organic venture, Swan River Farm in Dennisport, MA.
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