Things to Make a Fence Out Of


People make fences out of the most bizarre things. Viewed as a form of sculpture or recycling, a fence can be an outlet for personal creative expression in the use of free, used materials; found objects; collectibles and whatever the builder can lay hands on and stick in the ground or attach to a sturdy support. The effects can be harmonious or jolting, colorful or textural, functional or ornamental. In the city and in suburbia, whimsy may not be acceptable to the local homeowners association, but out in the country, as Burl Ives sang in Disney's classic "So Dear to My Heart," "It's what you do with what you got."

Barrier Fencing

  • Barrier fencing is used to keep people and animals out of a designated space and to deflect prevailing winds and weather. A barrier can be made of traditional materials like wooden boards, wire, stone or hedging, but it can also be made of a row of something like old skis set firmly in the ground with curved tips upward. Panels made of burlap sacks stapled to old mop handles will keep wild winter winds from flagellating cold-tolerant evergreens in a yard.

Ornamental Fencing

  • Instead of the regimented march of perfectly matched flat wooden boards side by side, try using boards of various lengths and kinds nailed together at odd angles. Old tractor wheels are popular as fence ornaments (or as the fence itself if you have enough). Use a row of old bicycles in tandem to designate a property line without creating a "spite fence."

Practical Fencing

  • Gardeners use fencing to support climbing plants; many free or found items work for this. Tie bamboo poles together to form a tripod. Old bed springs make a useful trellis for supporting peas and other twining types, as well as for tying up tomatoes. The foliage eventually masks the wire, and the open nature of the construction allows for easy picking.

Invisible Fencing

  • Twisted wire field fencing (sometimes called "hog wire") is inexpensive and durable in the vertical position, but if animals are bothering the fruit trees or the vegetable plot, try laying panels of it flat on the ground around the trees, bending the end wires down and sticking them into the earth to secure it. The gardener wears shoes and can walk on the wire easily to care for the plants. Garden eaters and diggers -- such as rabbits and dogs -- have soft pads, while cattle and deer have split hooves. This makes walking on wires uncomfortable for them and they will avoid doing so.

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