We have only ever understood fences when they are used in cottage garden or tiny garden, like we had at Drovers. A good fence in a cottage garden can become part of the design, you can allow your plants to spill through a picket fence to give the illusion that your garden is much bigger than it is. We love fences up to that point and after that we lament what comes.
Gales blew this week on Pig Row and we know that people across this country will be screaming at the cost of having to replace large panels in those off the peg fences that can be found on the high street. It seems these fences were always designed to be nature's kite or punch bag, they are mass market, flimsy, easy to erect, easy to destroy fencing. They have a limited shelf life and are barely sustainable. Now, if you have a small garden we except that these are the kind of fences you may need and that you can't put in a hedge or so you think. Our garden is around 25-30 foot wide and we have hedges. We are the same width as most urban and suburban gardens, we have a hedge, why? Hedges are a great resource - as long as you don't go down the conifer route - they are great for wildlife, deaden sound from neighbours, screen you in summer and if you select a deciduous hedge, give you light in winter. No solid fence does that. They make you smile in spring, summer and autumn, and if you get hornbeam or a mixed deciduous hedge you can cut them in late August and not worry about them for another year. They create micro climates, creating real warmth in the garden. You can also grow them as low or as high you want, and the major plus is that they can also help insulate your house as they buffer the wind as it streams through your garden, regardless of size. A hedge will be with you for life, if cared for, a fence will be with you for a decade, if you're lucky. Our hedge cost us for small nine inch whips for over 400 feet of it, less than £80. You can't get a fence for that price.