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Home By Kelly and Vicki Butler, Southwest Landscape and Designs If you remember your high school American Literature, you will recall the

above famous line from Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall.” We are not sure that good fences actually do make good neighbors, but they are im- portant in framing your yard. Railings as well as fences assist the eye to frame your yard and/or call attention to certain places you want to highlight. They are also an important safety consideration. Safety first: Swimming pools and spas can actually be danger-

ous places for a toddler. For that reason, legally, all walls or fences around pools must be at least five feet high. Gates must be securely locked and childproof. Railings on porches or decking or around pools and spas must be no more than 5 or 6 inches apart from their center line, or “on-center”. This keeps a toddler from crawling through as that is the size of a toddler’s head. However, children should ALWAYS be carefully supervised around pools and spas and railings to make sure they are safe. Tiny babies might be smaller and children always seem to have a way of making nonsense of our best plans for their safety. Fences and railings must be constructed safely so that they will not give way and cause injury for adults or children. Fencing and railing materials are numerous and run from vinyl fencing

to more natural products such as wood, stone or stucco. Styles of walls are also wide-ranging, so make sure to coordinate your materials with the style of your home. Color, shape, texture, and durability are considerations when building walls and railings. You may also want to think about what you want to accomplish with your railings or fencing and how much maintenance you are willing to provide.

OCTOBER 2014 “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”

Many new homes in our area today are built with white vinyl fencing.

Such fencing is virtually maintenance free, except for hosing off occasionally to keep it clean. However, in the heat, they do make a popping noise with expansion. Plants will not vine on vinyl fencing as there is nothing for them to cling to. Wood fences and railings take more maintenance. Redwood, though,

is very durable and will age with character. Vines, roses, or cat’s claw will vine beautifully on wood. Wood gives a softer look as an enclosure. Such wood can be sprayed with waterproofing. Behr’s makes a good waterproof coating. Stucco walls may match the décor of your home and take little mainte-

nance. However, such walls must be carefully built so they will stand the test of time. Vining plants will enjoy stucco walls. Rock or veneer walls are usually built around cement blocks using the rock as a veneer. Rock tends to be more expensive as it must be carefully built and designed and the ma- terials are more expensive. However, they are charming and add value to your home. Block and stucco walls over three feet high need to be permitted by the city or county, depending on where you live.

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