These 11 Modern Fences Bring a Whole New Meaning to Curb Appeal

From a modern take on the traditional white picket fence to a free-form sculptural divider, these 11 unique fences might just inspire you to rethink your current landscaping.

1. Modern Gabled House in Portland

Scott Pitek designed this gabled structure for Betty Rahman on a 5,000-square-foot lot in Portland, Oregon. Rahman's cedar fence was made with planks that were charred and sealed with the ancient Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique, which is said to make the wood resistant to fire, rot, and insects.

Inexpensive but sturdy James Hardie lap siding was used on the exterior of the structure.

2. Wabi House in Southern California

During construction, architect Sebastian Mariscal’s team adjusted the design of their fence to accommodate the boughs of an old pine tree in the backyard. 

This unique detail imbues the home with a spirit of wabi-sabi—or beauty through imperfection.

3. Twin Houses in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles-based firm Anonymous Architects built two side-by-side houses over two steep lots in Los Angeles's Mount Washington neighborhood. The near-identical homes are linked by a modern version of a white picket fence, giving them a visual sense of space.

The two separate structures were given a visual unity by cladding them with a specially fire-treated cedar siding on the exterior. The white picket fence is another visual tie between the properties.

4. A Modern Take on the Pitched-Roof

With its vertical wood slats, the garden fence of this home located just 15 minutes outside of Amsterdam unifies the main structure to a smaller shed. 

On the ground floor, the facade morphs into a garden fence, which then becomes the wall of a smaller house. 

5. Tadao Ando-Inspired Backyard

With input from her Berkeley Hills clients, landscape architect Mary Barensfeld used a computer to generate the circular patterns that were carved into a pair of Cor-Ten steel screens with a water-jet cutter. 

The perforations allow light and the green of the surrounding Koi bamboo to filter into the space while preserving privacy.

6. Not Your Standard Hot Tub

For their design of an ipe-clad hot tub, The American Society of Landscape Architects gave Lord and Wyllie's firm, Surfacedesign, a Residential Design Honor Award. Just as stunning as the hot tub is the verticality of their redwood fence. The black stained planks are intermittently canted inward to create a sense of movement. As evening approaches, lights glows through the gaps, illuminating the space. 

More than just a clever cover, the ipe wood shell of Mark Erman's spa, thanks to its 40-foot tracks, niftily navigates the rocky straights between spa shelter, dapper deck, and bespoke buffet table.

7. A Transformed Melbourne House

Architects Andrew Maynard and Mark Austin’s playful renovation and extension of a weatherboard home outside Melbourne created a series of gabled structures and a fence which aimed to create an integration between the garden and the home. 

A small country road borders the property to the west.

8. Tanner Springs Park in Portland

Ever since Portland made a goal to create a network of open spaces in the early 1990s, Tanner Springs Park—along with several others in the area—has become a quiet respite from its urban surroundings. In 2003, German design firm Atelier Dreiseitl and local landscape architecture firm GreenWorks, P.C. brought the community into the design process to turn it into what it is today.

At Tanner Springs Park, the water from Tanner Creek that used to flow through freely, now pumps through large pipes beneath the streets. The art wall is constructed of 368 railroad tracks and 99 pieces of fused glass that’s inset with images of insects and animals. The creatures were hand-painted by Herbert Dreiseitl on Portland glass. The art wall also acts as a divider between the park and the street.

9. Renovated Eichler Home in San Rafael

At five feet high, this slatted fencing encloses just enough—providing privacy without isolating this renovated Eichler home in San Rafael, California from its setting. 

A key aspect of the renovation was ensuring the privacy of the resident, whose front yard formerly exposed the home to the road. 

10. Backyard Marsh in San Francisco

A slatted Western red cedar fence adds a measure of privacy while permitting branches from a neighbor’s Japanese maple to cross the property line in the San Francisco home of landscape architect Marcel Wilson.

This slatted Western red cedar fence allows branches to pop through, ensuring that the landscape is left undisturbed wherever possible. 

11. The Landscaped Outdoor Room

Mimicking the surrounding landscape, this snaking fence designed by landscape architect and artist Mikyoung Kim winds its way through the woods of Lincoln, Massachusetts. Unlike most fences—which follow rigid property lines—the Cor-Ten steel fence meanders around the property like an "organic mechanism for creating landscaped outdoor rooms." 

Landscape architect and artist Mikyoung Kim created a Cor-ten steel fence to enclose a three-acre site in Lincoln, Massachusetts. "The entire fence is made using just seven lengths of modular, precut Cor-Ten steel bars, with widths being anywhere from two to five bars thick," explains the designer. "Depending on the angle from which you see it, the fence can appear transparent or opaque." 


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