Eclectic Garden Fence

After the artwork and trellis structures were added to Bee Haven, I wanted to make something special on the left side of the garden to stand out and pop with color.  In my search for unique fences, I came across this photo which inspired me.

Example garden fence

I was impressed with this photo for the colors and use of spindles and farm tools.  I wanted to do something like this to replace an old locust wood fence before adding the greenhouse behind it.

A couple of steps to get going started in late spring by buying milled redwood lumber from a friend who was moving, such as 2x4s and 4x4s.  Then, as we visited antique stores and the Santa Cruz flea market over the summer, I would find objects I thought would work in the fence.  My carpenter friend Rich suggested I use his 1964 Ford 150 truck doors because he said, “‘every farm needs a farm truck.”  I bought his doors for $100.

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I also found spindles for free on Craigslist and six larger ones at an antique store in Boulder Creek.  I spent the summer and fall painting spindles and handles on shoves, pitchforks, saws, etc.

I wanted to maintain the house colors so my theme colors were orange, green, brown, and gold. I mixed up some discounted paint to make pink that was basically the primer.

In late September, I contacted Rich to put me on the schedule to build the fence over the week of Thanksgiving.  I rushed for the months of October and November to continue painting and added two coats of a sealer.

Rich also came into contact with some custom-milled deck railings from a customer. He asked if I wanted to use them, which I did. So, I was able to get one coat of green paint on them.  There will be touch-ups needed next year after it stops raining.

Rich spent Monday, November 25 and Tuesday, November 26 building the fence, and he got it done in rain showers.  We lucked out on the weather overall.

Monday, November 25

Rich and Rick dug the post holes and set up the 4×4 posts.


While they were doing that, Rich asked me to lay out the design elements which I called “panels.”  He came up with some wonderful layouts and suggestions about form and shape.  By having the templates laid out, he was able to calculate the measurements for cementing in the posts.

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Tuesday, November 26

I moved these laid out pieces up on the hill by the fence.  Once again, the design patterns changed to fit the space.  Rich and I discussed first, and it was easy to agree with him.  For the ship’s wheel, I said, “imagine you are on a pirate ship surrounded by spindles.”  He said, “less is more” so he spaced them out for a perfect look.  Even though I spent months painting the spindles, I didn’t have to use them all and crowd it together.


After Rich installed the ship’s wheel, he then installed another vertical panel using the shovels, pitch forks and other tools.


The overall layout looks amazing!  A few small details to make it perfect.  I need to replant the rose bush that blocks the view of the ox and cow harnesses.


I am also going to sand/grind off the maroon/purple color on the truck doors.  I was told there is an acid wash affect that would look rustic.

All the planning and painting was worth it. I love the fence and look forward to working in the garden and seeing this vibrant fence.

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