old structures with new vision

IMG_9899It’s Mother’s Day weekend. And so, given all the classic “take care of mom” options, what would you imagine my wife, Rebekah, would enjoy doing more than anything else on a beautiful North Carolina May Saturday?

The answer – of course – is to work in the garden with her new shovel, pull out her power tools, get dirty, and finish rebuilding that back-yard fence!

It’s a great concept. The “civilized” portion of our back garden is fairly small, and the fence is – necessarily – high enough to discourage the deer. The challenge, then, has been to open things up without compromising either privacy or function. The solution involved Rebekah’s wonderful imagination, a reciprocating saw, horizontal slats, and a lot of team-work for assembly.

What I like about the result is the sense of accommodation to and respect for the bones of the traditional structure, while opening the garden up to a new idea.

I frequently find a lot of helpful and sometimes provocative metaphors in the garden. A fence that helps me rethink parameters, while still remaining a fence, is a good example.

Rebekah after driving the last screw
Rebekah after driving the last screw

GATES: The last time I built a fence it was to help my neighbor in Pensacola. He was a grumpy man who wanted to keep frisbees, balls, my dog, and most especially our children out of his garden.

We worked together over four weekends, and we became friends, of course, in the process. Close to the end it became apparent that Bill had miscalculated the spacing, and we were left with a two-and-a-half foot opening.

We hung a nice gate, and then he showed me the massive padlock he said he was installing on his side. Only he never did. Come to think of it, I’m really not so sure that the gate-sized gap was a mistake after all.

By the way, now we’re on the lookout for a couple of nice, open, wrought-iron or wrought-iron-esque gates.

It’s always something at Maul-Hall – DEREK

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