written by:
August 25, 2015
Bringing new forms to their function, these unconventional structures go beyond the prototypical white picket in favor of more adventurous building materials—including Cor-ten steel and the landscape itself.

This Cor-ten steel fence designed by landscape architect and artist Mikyoung Kim for Bob Davoli and Eileen McDonagh winds its way through the woods of Lincoln, Massachusetts, like a serpent skeleton fished out of the adjacent Farrar Pond. Unlike most fences—which follow rigid property lines in the utilitarian service of exclusion or containment—it meanders like a weathered Andy Goldsworthy sculpture that just happens to keep the family dogs near home as well.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in On the Fence
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New Zealand house with angular cedar facade with cutaway

In the yard of the house that Henri Sayes designed for himself and his wife, Nicole Stock, in New Zealand, a grassy berm, fashioned from earth excavated for the foundation, takes the place of a traditional fence.

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Originally appeared in A Floor-To-Ceiling Cutout Makes Quite the Statement
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Modern San Francisco multi-family structure that landscape designer Christopher Reynolds planted living wall with succulents by the kitchen

For a modern multifamily structure in San Francisco, landscape designer Christopher Radcool Reynolds used palms to create privacy and shade. “The trunks are architectural, like columns, and the fronds offer a lot of movement, which balances the building’s rigidity,” he says. In the kitchen, a living wall planted with succulents provides a nice view where there was none.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in In San Francisco, Green Fences Make Great Neighbors
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Small patio with raised bed vegetable gardening in Portland
Courtesy of 
Mark Toal
Originally appeared in Cozy Home in Portland Is Under 800 Square Feet
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the fencing surrounding the frontyard of a rnovated Eichler home in California

Faced with the unique challenge of renovating the work of a mid-century master, design principal Stephen Shoup of building Lab worked to replace austerity with intimacy. Adding fencing and windows, he softened this Eichler home in San Rafael, California, providing a sense of filtered connection between the home, its landscape, and its history. At five feet high, this slatted fencing encloses just enough: providing privacy without isolating the home from its setting.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Renovated Eichler Home in San Rafael, California
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modern backyard deck ipe wood

More a deck than a fence, this ipe structure slopes sharply skyward behind Amy Persin’s house in Menlo Park, California, creating a secluded backyard getaway that feels like an outdoor extension of her living room. A single step on either side leads to patches of gravel, which her children have claimed as areas for unstructured play. 

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Originally appeared in A Family Retreats to Their Ipe-Clad Backyard for an Easy Getaway
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Amsterdam canal house facade with vertical wood slats

Located on a canal in a neighborhood outside central Amsterdam is the house Mark de Graaf and Sanne Wisman share with their three children. Architects Huib van Zeijl and Daniëlle Segers of Équipe based the pitched-roof house and shed on the local vernacular. "It’s a modern translation of a kid’s drawing of a typical Dutch house," says architect Huib van Zeijl. Wrapping around both structures, an extended wood fence is used to help unify the main house and the smaller shed.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Modern Take on the Pitched-Roof
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fence lincoln massachusetts farrar pond kim mikyoung site side

This Cor-ten steel fence designed by landscape architect and artist Mikyoung Kim for Bob Davoli and Eileen McDonagh winds its way through the woods of Lincoln, Massachusetts, like a serpent skeleton fished out of the adjacent Farrar Pond. Unlike most fences—which follow rigid property lines in the utilitarian service of exclusion or containment—it meanders like a weathered Andy Goldsworthy sculpture that just happens to keep the family dogs near home as well.

Photo by Charles Mayer.

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