Enclosures in Landscaping, Part Four

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Solid Panels

Various manufactured materials may be used in panels to form screens. An outdoor variety of plywood may be used for either straight or curving panels. The edges of this plywood, including a cap along the upper edge, must be protected against moisture.

Some corrugated materials afford interesting shadow patterns. Corrugated asbestos, for instance, can be used vertically or horizontally. Heavy paneling must be securely attached to steel or heavy wooden posts. Corrugated aluminum sheets can be used for lightweight panels. The bright aluminum surface can be contrasted with the darker parts of a landscape composition.

Louver and Lattice Fencing

Louver enclosures, which consist of sloping slats or boards, give a certain measure of privacy when used vertically, yet do not cut off light, air, or the view. For absolute privacy, the louvers must be installed horizontally. Louver fencing is apt to be quite costly to build, since it requires a greater amount of material than other types of wooden enclosures.

The word “lattice” is from the French latte, “lath.” A lattice is a fencelike structure of wooden strips. It may be used for screening out views, for concealment, for directing traffic, for supporting vines, or for ornamenting a wall surface. It may be simple or complex in design. It is necessary that a lattice have strength and durability, and be in harmony with its surroundings. Lattice fencing is made from white pine, redwood, or cypress; its posts are white cedar, redwood, or cypress.

Rail Fences

Rail fences are associated closely with pioneer days. The earliest rail fence was in zigzag form. As time went on, this pioneer zigzag fence became a straight one and began to shed rails. The present fence has become a two- or three-rail variety. When the old zigzag rail fence is constructed today, it is usually for a picturesque effect.


Informal hedges with irregular outlines and widths, or more formal hedges with plants established in single rows or staggered regularly, may be used. Hedges that are to be carefully trimmed, such as small-stemmed privets, should be set from 10 inches to 14 inches apart in the row. Barberries and fragrant honeysuckles may be set 15 inches to 20 inches apart. From 2 feet to 3-1/2 feet may be needed between such plants as hemlock and yew. Hedges must be kept well back from sidewalks, paths, or adjacent properties, so as not to reach out over them. The best hedge plants include privet, box, taxus, arbor vitae, hemlock, barberry, rugose rose, hornbeam, lilac, mock orange, crataegus, and viburnum.


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