Fabulous Fence Finds

I’m a fence stalker. Especially when I was looking to have a fence built on my own garden. Fencing is a necessary evil for urban gardeners. Our lots are so close to each other, and for anyone that uses their back yards, privacy is essential.

But standard 6-foot picket fences are ubiquitous and boring. I love seeing how some people make a creative opportunity out of standard, and custom, fences.

Here are some of my favorites I’ve collected over the years.

Black? Maybe no in my garden but this made a good backdrop for the green, especially with the vertical slats for climbing vines at regular intervals. Though this fence is in Austin, TX and I can’t not think about how hot it must get with the black soaking up the sun all day.
Photographer: Jim Charlier
A Buffalo garden – just hanging things on a fence is a good idea, but I’ve not included too many of those in this collection, but this one was treated as more of a complete “work of art” with color, details and plants.
One of my favorites, I’ve posted it before. This Buffalo garden is popular on Garden Walk Buffalo. The painting was commissioned by the gardener.
Fitting style and color for Sedona, AZ.
Little bit of a cheat – this is a donor wall at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ.
Shown in the lead image, this clever fence at the Coastal Main Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Maine probably keeps the mice out.
Disney’s Castaway Cay in the Bahamas has a castaway theme whereby much of the infrastructure is made from found and recycled items – like this shipping palette fence.
Not very practical, but this fence featuring plastic paper takes on the feeling of rough tree bark – in blinding white. This was a temporary garden display at the Chelsea Flower Garden Show in 2011. Cool bench and table though.
My new favorite, and inspiration when I feel rich and ambitious for my own front yard garden. This Mackenzie-Childs inspired fence is in East Aurora, just outside Buffalo.
Again, not something I would do, but isn’t it fun? Found in the test gardens at the Natural Gardener garden center in Austin, TX.
Downtown Portland, Oregon has a terrific park that takes up a full square block. As great as the landscaping is, this fence was my greatest take-away.
Another Chelsea Flower Show temporary garden – this with a “law” theme.
Rich Groblewsli’s Asian-inspired garden in Lancaster, NY has his collection of Asian objects in gloss black lit boxes along his fence. Looks great at night.
A Toronto area garden. The horizontal slats and dark stain makes it feel very “urban” in this garden with a modern flare.
Another Toronto fence in the same neighborhood as the previous photo. I LOVE this because there is a sheet of metal behind the slats giving a sparkle and glow to the fence that moves as you walk by.
Another shipping pallet fence in a Buffalo garden. Economical and easy!
Just a unique pattern can make for a handsome fence. This was in Toronto in the Cabbage Town neighborhood.
Carol and Tom’s Buffalo garden – I’ve been saying fro years I want to steal this simple idea. This could be the summer!
A typical picket fence dressed up with a dark stain, columns, arbor and family photos outdoors!
Also from the Natural Gardener garden store in Austin. Corrugated sheet metal and stained slats, simple and beautiful.
Treanor 756 Richmond
Another one of my favorites. The garden of artist Sally Treanor in Buffalo. Her husband made the fence.
The Toronto Islands, in an Asian-inspired garden. The fence disappears and the wall becomes a focal point.
CIMG4468 2
A fence that fits in – at the Chelsea Flower Garden Show in London.
Two fences between homes in Buffalo’s Cottage District. If plants won’t grow there, paint ’em up!
Okay, it’s not technically a fence, but I loved the simple addition. of the circles on this gate.
This Buffalo garden has a standard picket fence, but the vertical bands across the tops give it a more tailored, bespoke look. Cheap and easy.
Another Chelsea Flower Show fence – this one made from the reused planks from gymnasium floors.
Truly the American white picket fence, with copper caps in Mary’s Garden, a popular stop on Garden Walk Buffalo.
More of a wall than a fence, it has the appearance of a fence, behind the lattice panels are large mirrors, adding sparkle during the day and reflections at night.
A custom fence and entrance gate found in the Hamburg, NY area.
Fence of doors. (Photo by Remy Rotella Orlowski)

Jim Charlier is an advertising designer/photographer/crafter with a serious gardening problem. He's co-written a garden design book featuring the funky, quirky and fun gardens by the gardeners of Buffalo titled "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" (; he writes a long-standing garden blog (; led the largest garden tour in America, Garden Walk Buffalo; has written for, or provided photography for dozens of magazines and books; has made presentations and participated in panel discussions on garden design and garden tourism nationally and internationally.

3 comments on “Fabulous Fence Finds

  1. Nice, Jim! You’ve seen some great fences in your travels. I share your admiration of the two from The Natural Gardener in Austin–a very creative place. Love the two mural-painted ones from Buffalo.


    • I’m always on the hunt for unique fences, and the Natural Gardener had great ones. For my own fence, I went a bit more sedate, but NOT typical pickets!


  2. Phillip Oliver

    This is fantastic. I’ve been collecting fence photos on Pinterest for a future project. Thanks for the inspiration. I love the thin slats look.


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