Three weeks ago I had completed the stonework to face my side of the bank between us and our neighbours. The bank however, is only 70cm high on our side so provided no privacy now that the hedge on top had been removed. Last year the next neighbour along had replaced the bank between us and them with a fence. (See “The Fence”) In both cases there is about a 60cm drop from our side of the boundary to theirs, so they first had to construct a retaining wall, then build the fence on top of it. They engaged landscapers to carry out the work and we agreed to split the cost 50:50.
I had decided that the last short stretch of hedge was just more trouble than it was worth. It was just the remains of the old farm hedge, hazel mostly, with various spiny things mixed in. The rest of our boundary is either a fence or a bank with a fence on top of it. The fence along the top of the bank is a horizontal hit and miss made from 4 inch boards fixed to posts. It is functional but not very attractive; improved it has to be said, by a coat of paint on the more recent section. It does screen us completely from the neighbours behind it.
There are a lot of decisions to be made when deciding on a fence. How high, what style, see through or solid, bought panels or built from scratch. In our case there was also the matter of deciding exactly where it should go, the boundary line being rather poorly defined as the centre of a bank that was crumbling away on one side or the other in various places.
We wanted an acceptably attractive fence, high enough not to see over and solid enough not to see very much through. It’s an exposed position so a solid fence would be more vulnerable to wind than one that let some wind through. It was joining on to the fence that the landscapers built last year so it seemed a good idea to do something similar but to put right what we had seen as shortcomings to their fence.
I decided to stick with the hit and miss pales, but to put them closer together. Because it was going on top of the bank I could use shorter pales. I used 100 x 100mm posts, 2.4m long, with 100 x 47mm rails between them. The pales were 900mm high by 75mm wide. I tried to work out how see through it would be at various spacings but you don’t really know until it’s done. I think I settled on 15mm between pales and ordered the number I needed based on that.
When the timber delivery came, all he had on board were the pales. It was several days later that they delivered the posts and rails. They arrived in rain and were carried to the top of the garden in rain. We’ve had a lot of rain since. In between showers, and sometimes in them, I dug holes and put in the posts. Six posts, five of which went in a full 4 feet, the other a bit less because I hit hard stone. I then cut the rails to length and fitted them, put the kick board along the bottom and started fixing pales.
The first section is sloped, to get from the earlier fence to this one. I spaced the pales using a pale as a spacer, about 22mm apart. When I’d gone about a metre both sides I decided I wanted them closer, so I finished the slope and went the rest of the way at 19mm spacing, using my set square as the spacer. You wouldn’t expect 3mm to make much of a difference but it does. Right at the top end I cut a couple of pales short to provide a gap for hedgehogs to get through.
It’s finished and I’ve had a bit of a tidy up. I’m drawing breath before the next stage which is likely to be path layout, digging it over, then finally planting. It’s good to have the sense of privacy and an enclosed space back. I don’t have many pictures of the tunnel but I must find one and take the shot again now it’s gone.