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Mid Century Modern Fences | Part 1

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified May 15, 2012 01:04 AM
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by Baz Mcm ( last modified May 14, 2012



Inspirations in MCM Fence Design

To the average homeowner, a fence is just a fence. But we MCM-ers are not average homeowners. We choose to see a fence as an artful architectural detail, designed to suit a functional purpose, while looking dead sexy. Anything less, is indeed, just a fence.

Inspirational examples of killer Mid Century Modern fences can be illusive. Like your first crush. So let's turn to my growing collection of vintage landscaping resources, and break a few copyright laws along the way.* 

*All images posted without permission. 

I've been fielding plenty of MCM fence questions since spring sprang. One such question inquired if I knew of a fence builder who could create an MCM-style fence. The simple answer is; any qualified contractor can build you a fence. But can they actually design you one? In my experience, contractors don't have a keen design eye (yes, there are exceptions). They tend to go with the "norm" because it's what they know. It's what everyone else wants. And they're comfortable with it.

I mean, you wouldn't hire an automotive body repair guy to design you a car. Right?

If you're not comfortable designing your own fence, hire a designer to concept it and draw a plan you can hand to your contractor. The cost to the overall project should be nominal, and the reward great. Or, if you're Big-Bank-Hank, hire a landscape architect to take you all the way to awesome. Regardless, going through a proper design process is paramount. It will save you a lot of time, money and heartache.

Understanding the purpose of your fence will influence its visual aesthetic. Does it need to keep the Fido in bounds? Does it need to prevent the creepy neighbor from peering over? Does it need a locking gate? Will you have to get your giant riding mower in and out of it? Will a screen-type-fence work better for you, or do you need total privacy? Maybe different parts of the fence need to function differently. Consider alternating [complimenting] materials, patterns and details as seen in several of the photos.


Consider the lines, colors and finishes of your home. So many fences look like afterthought bolt-ons. As with any structure added to your Mid Century Modern home, make sure it compliments the initial intended design of the main structure. It should feel like it was born there - not forced there. Challenge yourself to think; "what would the architect have originally done?" And then do it to the best of your ability (and bank account). 

Answering the above questions will set you on a path worth following. 

I've been MCM-fence-planning for two summers. I've measured, drawn, erased, measured (again) and re-drawn. I'm ready. So ready in fact, I purchased all the lumber last week. DIY installation is imminent. Part 2 of "Mid Century Modern Fences" will show the results of my own fence project (fingers, and post-hole-diggers, crossed).

In the meantime, post some pics of your own sweet MCM fence (or pics of cool fences you've found) to the Atomic Indy Facebook Page. I'm sure everyone will enjoy it.






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