Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I grew up in St.Petersburg and when I was a kid, there were very few fences in yards. In fact, most of us younger than 20, used our neighbors' yards, front and back as pathways to each others' houses. Some of us had dogs and I don't recall them being a problem, but then, kids don't always recognize those things.

When we moved to this area, the chain link fences in front yards seemed to me a symbol, just like the burglar bars, of fear and the need for a barrier. Our house was surrounded by a battered old chainlink fence and I couldn't wait to get the front part down. Neighbors helped us take it down and put up the picket fence. I felt like we were making a commitment to this neighborhood, by saying that we believed in it becoming a nice place to live and raise kids. One by one the houses on our block removed their fences and it really began to feel like a friendlier community.

The suburbs are filled with people who drive up to their garages, press an automatic door opener, enter their castles, and don't know one neighbor from another. I see more and more privacy fences blocking off backyards here in the city. Not that I blame them, we all need our private space. But what makes these old homes feel different is the front porch and the invitation to come visit that's extended from the street right on up to the front door. I never feel quite welcome when I'm confronted with a chainlink fence.

Picket fences aren't the answer for everyone. I sure do relate to wanting your dogs and children to be safe, so a frontyard fence is an important feature for some. When we put up the pickets, we spaced them so that our small terriers couldn't poke their heads through. I've also seen the standard picket panels put up with one inch strips of wood nailed in between each picket. Not even a tiny dog could have fit through those spaces. There are still lots of folks with chainlink in their frontyards. I've talked to some. Most of them would like to remove it and put up something nicer. Some just care that it's doing the job intended. I do believe that the more of them that come down, the less fear and hostility will reside in this community.


Anonymous said...

I am not sure which side of the fence I am on, but this was a very well put, condsiderate, and open-minded view.

Thanks for the positive approach!

ShreksWife said...

Scott and Susan ...
Your picket fence is STILL the NICEST picket fence in the n'hood! I enjoyed helping tear your chain link out, especially since it's "replacement" is so awesome!!!

Bloggerwife said...

Thanks, Mrs. Shrek. Our fence is nice because of the LOVE that helped build it!

Anonymous said...

Cutting down my chain link fence was one of the first things I did, upon moving into our bungalow last year in OSH. You're exactly right. Fences are not inviting at all. They're mostly ugly and an eye sore, especially on the front yard.

Flyer anon said...

The things that ticked me the most are that you made the guy w/the float get rid of the float and caused the guy w/the race cars help to sterilize the neighborhood by putting up an acer of privacy fence to keep em'
Both of which I considered as contributing to the ambience of the neighborhood.( I thought they looked cool)

Flyer anon said...

Topic for Discussion:
"Privacy fence, How much is too much"?

Seems a lot of ppl deal w/problems inflected by code (through you) by putting up privacy fence.
At a certain point will the uniformity and claustrophobia of the "fence" out weigh the quirkyness that made the place different to start?

Flyer anon said...

Start by looking at Stan and Rich's cribs.

AngelSil said...

We tore down our chain link fence in the front yard right away. It was old, rusty, and not keeping much in or out. A tree had grown into it. We still have the fence on the side yards and back, but we would eventually like to replace those with wood. Probably not picket, but more like a 4ft privacy fence.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but no can do in regards to a 4 ft privacy fence on the sides.
You will get complained on faster than flyer anon is printing those flyers.
Picket fences are allowed to be higher than privacy fences.

Seminole Heights said...

Here is a link to
City of Tampa Fence Rules

Not including Overlay restrictions

Anonymous said...

I am in the market for new fencing, so after reading some of the post on here, I had to drive by and look at your picket again. I must agree, barring the yellow, your picket is the most beautiful picket fence I have seen in the neighborhood. I would like to come by some time and get some measurements.

Anonymous said...

Flyer Anon, I don't understand your "Stan and Rich's" comment. I am assuming you are referring to their "cribs" as the proper way to put up privacy fence without going overboard. Both of thier homes have privacy, but they both put them very far back on the sides so they don't feel claustrophobic.

Bloggerwife said...

Flyer anon, if you are talking to me, the author of this "Fences" post, about the race car and float, I don't know anything about them. I tend to agree, that something was lost when the privacy fences started going up. I stay out of the code issue as much as possible, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't like to see this community be a safe and friendly place to live. We all play a part in that transition.

Bloggerwife said...

Anon 10:54, I call the color "puke yellow". I was honestly trying for a yellow green the color of the oak tree dust that covered the fence every year, so I wouldn't be tempted to spend all my time washing the dang thing! The pickets were white for three years, but they never looked white. You are welcome to stop anytime and get measurements. If you have questions, just knock on our door.

Anonymous said...

Flyer Anon-
You can look all you want but just remember one thing...
We all know where YOU live.
I can take my dog to poop at your business anytime.
In fact.
I can save his poop and freeze it.
Then when I am ready to do my deed, I will let it unfreeze and work its magic.
By the way,
I have a bull mastiff.
Keep it up.
The poop man