“Oh give me land, lots of land, and the starry skies above.
Don’t fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide-open country that I love.
Don’t fence me in.
Let me be by myself in the evening breeze,
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees.
Send me off forever but I ask you, please
Don’t fence me in”
— Cole Porter
Cole Porter wrote this tune for the singing cowboy, Roy Rogers. He crooned the tune for the cowboys and cowboys at heart who dream of wide-open spaces and big skies. But even those that don’t dream of freedom in a saddle can share the same desire. No one likes to be fenced in or told what to do. And while fences do create safe borders for yards and the animals and children that play in them, there is no rule that the fence needs to look like everyone else’s fence. There are wonderful ways to use your fence as a canvas to create a unique extension of your home and personality.
The first step would be to brainstorm for the style you’d like to create. Is there a hobby that defines you or your family? Do you have an artistic flair? A fence is a very big canvas! Are animals a central part of your home culture? What kinds of colors would bring you joy as you enjoy your outdoor living space? The fence, whether it is in the front, side, or back of your yard, can be an outdoor setting for your indoor style. What could that look like? Exploring answers to these questions is a fun first phase in creating a fence that is uniquely you
Once you have figured out a direction, then you get to start planning. Let’s take a look at a few of these options, and we can get you going on some ideas!
A fence would be a fitting place for a large mural, which is a big project. If you love art but are not an artist yourself, this could be a wonderful way to support a local artist. Or, you could encourage a young artist in your community. A fence could become a piece of art to enjoy for many years to come. If a mural is bigger than what you are thinking, then there are subtle pieces of art you can add to your fence. Do you want bright and unique colors or a more soothing addition to the yard? Stencils can also be your friend if you aren’t feeling confident enough to make any sweeping changes. Stencils are an easy way to add touches of art. They can be for painting, or even for carving shapes into the fence. Marbles could even be placed in the fence or fencing lattice to add pops of light and color. The artistic possibilities are endless!!
What do you love to do? Your fence could be a fun way to celebrate that. Are you a skiing family? Start scouring thrift stores for old skis, and use them as a gate or fence. Hockey sticks would also make a fun fence. Look at the gear you use in your favorite sports, and see if there is a way you could mount and use them in creative ways on a fence. If your backyard is a place where sports are often played, chalkboard paint can turn your fence into a scoreboard. Love to play piano–some black and white paint could turn a fence into a keyboard! Or, if you are looking at a smaller fence, how could musical instruments be used? If you are a quilter, some colorful paint could turn your fence panels into quilt blocks. See, this is fun, right?
Your outdoor living space can be an extension of your indoor spaces. Are your walls covered in family memories? Your fence can be as well! Hunt down some old window frames and mount them on your fence boards with laminated pictures behind them. Old mirrors and shutters can add a whimsical touch to any outdoor space. Pick up several pairs of used galoshes at a thrift store and mount them on your fence for a colorful way to hold flowers. Chalkboard paint can also be used to create a station for fun and art by little hands that visit. Once you have decided on a vision for your unique fence, ideas will start popping! Using recycled objects can be a fun way to craft a space that is just right for you.
Now that we have given you a few ideas, have fun coming up with your own. Your yard might be fenced in, but that doesn’t mean your creativity has to be.