Mul­ti­task­ing tips for your gar­den fence

The Progress-Index - At Home - - NETWORKX - Laura Firszt — Laura Firszt writes for net­worx.com. This post orig­i­nally ap­peared here: http://www.net­worx.com/ar­ti­cle/5gar­den-fence-mul­ti­task­ing-tips.

We all know the ba­sic rea­sons to in­stall a fence — mark­ing a prop­erty line, en­sur­ing pri­vacy, keep­ing chil­dren and pets safe, and so on. But sum­mer seems like the time to un­leash our imag­i­na­tion and start dream­ing up al­ter­na­tive uses for ev­ery­day ob­jects like fenc­ing. Af­ter all, your fence likely com­prises a siz­able ex­panse of your gar­den space. Why not make the most of it? So, with­out fur­ther ado, here are five sug­ges­tions for pretty and prac­ti­cal ways to make your fence mul­ti­task.

Wall art

Treat your fence as a wall … or a hu­mon­gous can­vas. Your first move: Get the kids busy cre­at­ing art­work on their sum­mer va­ca­tion. Fol­low up with a fam­ily vote to choose the best pic­tures and lam­i­nate them for rain re­sis­tance. Then dis­play the gor­geous re­sults on your fence — ei­ther the in­side or for ex­tra-proud par­ents, the street side. If you dare, keep your young­sters oc­cu­pied and out of trou­ble longer (we hope!) by en­cour­ag­ing them to paint a mu­ral on the fence. Use acrylic on wooden fenc­ing and epoxy paint on vinyl for a very per­sonal look; if you don’t like it, it’ll be no big deal to paint over. Just make sure that your HOA will al­low it.

Ver­ti­cal gar­den

Sow a backyard mini gar­den. Coax vines like nas­tur­tiums, pas­sion­flow­ers, beans, or cute and tasty lit­tle cu­camel­ons to twine their way up the fenc­ing. Not only does this turn your fence into a dec­o­ra­tive con­ver­sa­tion piece, it pro­vides you with pri­vacy and shade. When you’re grow­ing veg­eta­bles, you get the added ad­van­tages that the plants will use up less backyard sur­face space and also make prun­ing or pick­ing eas­ier on your back. Best of all, your crop will ripen faster and have bet­ter fla­vor due to the in­creased amounts of sun and oxy­gen ver­ti­cal gar­den­ing of­fers. Just check that your fence is in good re­pair be­fore you try this, so it’s strong enough to hold the ex­tra weight.

Light­ing

En­hance your en­joy­ment of leisurely evenings out on your pa­tio in the fresh air. Light up your fenc­ing — and your yard. Hang eco-friendly, in­ex­pen­sive, and prac­ti­cal so­lar lamps (the out­door ver­sion comes in a va­ri­ety of sizes and fun styles, in­clud­ing an­i­mal or flower shapes). For a truly mag­i­cal ef­fect, string the fence with tens of strands of multi-col­ored fairy lights. Their twin­kling glow will set the per­fect mood for an out­door sum­mer party or wed­ding re­cep­tion … or a ro­man­tic date night a deux.

Bird­house

In­vite a flock of fine feathered friends to join you in the gar­den. At­tach a pretty, hand­crafted wooden bird­house — or five — to your fence, us­ing a preda­tor baf­fle to dis­cour­age rac­coons, squir­rels, and other un­friendly an­i­mals. Long af­ter the sum­mer’s over, these dec­o­ra­tive ob­jects will con­tinue to be a source of com­fort for your lo­cal non-mi­gra­tory birds … and of plea­sure for you. Take care to po­si­tion the bird­houses in a shel­tered spot, con­ve­niently within sight of your kitchen win­dow.

Cup or bowl holder

Maybe all you re­ally want to do in your backyard this sum­mer is re­lax in a lawn chair, with a frosty cup of your fa­vorite bev­er­age close at hand. Hey, we to­tally un­der­stand. To help you achieve this wor­thy goal, why not hook a handy cup holder onto a nearby sec­tion of fenc­ing? And if you agree that ev­ery ex­pe­ri­ence is bet­ter when it’s shared with your faith­ful pooch, you can even pur­chase a fence-mounted doggy wa­ter bowl.

PHOTO BY KROSSEEL/MORGUEFILE

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