Thinking of a curb appeal change...

enigmaquandryJuly 18, 2010

I would LOVE to have my house bricked or sided with cedar shingle or wood lap or anything other than my current vinyl. It's just so expensive to replace it and it really is in fine shape so it's hard for me to justify changing it when there are so many other projects we have in mind (and the budget of newlyweds where one of them is a dancer and the other works for a not for profit :) I do all the work on our house myself so if it's out of my element, then it's not going to happen!

Anyway, below is a picture of our house as it is now (well not quite, this was taken early spring, there are white window boxes now and the plants are all huge!) and the second picture is an idea that I'm thinking about...I'm not sure about such a drastic change so I would appreciate your opinions! From Stonegate Cottage

Of course this depends on if I can convince my neighbor to let me plant a tree in his "back yard" and if we can find/afford stone for the wall...

From [Stonegate Cottage](http://picasaweb.google.com/christy.henninger/StonegateCottage?feat=embedwebsite)
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young-gardener

I love the little wall! I think your ideas make a big change. In fact, I scrolled down and said, "Wow." Your house would be darling with deep flower beds and window boxes. I LOVE your stone stairs and shutters! Someone has put a lot of time into landscaping, that's for sure!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 9:49PM
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Shades_of_idaho

Love the second picture. Too bad you are not closer to us. We used to have 8 acres of rock you could have had. Probably still could have. I doubt the new owners want it.LOL

You did a great job of of doing a plan. Hope the neighbor will let yo plant a tree in their yard. You might have to offer to rake the leaves too.For life!!

Chris

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 10:10PM
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enigmaquandry

Ok some questions that I totally forgot :) There are a LOT of stone walls already in my yard, there's the one around the tree and the stone on the steps and stone borders around the flower beds and a stone wall on the right hand side of my yard that runs the entire length from the sidewalk to the backyard (the house on the right is on a lower grade than mine, the whole neighborhood is in the bed of an old creek so we all have hills and terraces and retaining walls and different levels). So my question is, is it just too much stone and too many walls? If we had the wall in front should we take the one out that is around the tree? I am really not sure of my wall building abilities and I know I don't want to regrade the lawn too much (not more than just what me and a spade can do!). Hmmm. Would it work out if the wall is very short? Should it be brick? Is that too much "fortress" with the gate too?

I also forgot to post this picture, this is my inspiration and probably all-time dream house...

From [house](http://picasaweb.google.com/christy.henninger/House?feat=embedwebsite)

Usually I'm a strict "classic white trim" but I love the oxidized copper color. Is that something you would get tired of?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 10:31PM
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enigmaquandry

Chris, I wish we were closer! Stone here is at a PREMIUM, 70$ for a rock at Lowes, ridiculous! I'm thinking of digging up some creek rock, but that may be more than I can chew at the moment :)

We're working up to asking our neighbor. We already mow his lawn and have a pretty good rapport with him but he is a little persnickety about his yard...even though I've never once seen him back there :)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 10:50PM
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Shades_of_idaho

WOW your inspiration house/yard is gorgeous. I LOVE the oxidized copper color as trim an don the gate too. But then I am a color freak. LOL Bummer on the cost of the rock. We are mountain volcano rock all over the place. NOT here at this house we are like you in old river bed. But our place in Cambridge had rock boiling out of the ground. Here we just have round river rocks.

chris

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 1:21AM
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desertsteph

is the left side of your house (his yard) the west side? if so it'd block the afternoon sun for you. what rooms are on that side of your house?

have you thought about a wood 'wall' along the front? I can't see the stone along the right side of your house but I guess it could get to be too much of a good thing.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 2:26AM
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jennik78

Oh gosh, your current house is beautiful- I love the vinyl color and the dark door. :) Good luck on your project. I think the stone wall would be charming, depending on how it fits in your neighorhood.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 10:08AM
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enigmaquandry

desertsteph, I would say that the front left (facing the house) corner is full West, so the side facing my neighbor is Northwest...I don't think that window ever gets direct sunlight...maybe I could find a tree species lacy enough to keep the ambient light while still blocking the ugly back of my neighbor's house.

I have thought of a wood wall (you mean like a timber wall?) but our neighborhood is all stone and brick in the landscaping (it's astonishing how much landscaping people here put into their tiny capes).

jennik, we both have a lot of landscaping decisions to make! Thanks!!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 12:32PM
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idie2live

How many feet do you have on the side before you reach the property line?
I'm no help because I like both plans. I love the trim around your door and the 8 over 1 windows.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 1:05PM
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writersblock

I love the inspiration house! And I like the wall idea very much, but to me your current house color looks better than the photoshopped version would.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 1:28PM
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marti8a

I agree with writersblock. I like the stone fence though I think what makes it look so neat are the trailing plants over it, and you won't get that unless it's more like a retaining wall.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 1:30PM
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Moccasin

Not finding any posting about placing a tree to your neighbor with the lower yard that you cut his lawn etc.

And I would be careful about bringing in another material, like the brick, when you already have the stone. I wish we could give you some of the rocks turned up in DH's cape lawn, never know what you'll strike when you try to plant something.

And you can possibly come up with enough rock if you repurpose a few that you have elsewhere. Yes, I'd take the rocks away from the tree. How high is that retaining area? And how far would it go to straighten it out and put it at your sidewalk area? Then, think about lowering by one row the rocks that line your property line over on the driveway side. If your lot is say 100 feet, would you wind up with enough rocks to make the new streetside wall the same height as the old driveway wall?

I would not put any kind of hedge in ANY yard, because that is even more maintenance. An English cottage garden does not usually have such a disciplined plant row, but they do have the fencing across the front.

You may consider a picket fence. It could have a rock foundation, which comes up about a foot, and then the wooden pickets and posts atop that. You already have lots of wood features in your yard. Even a wooden rail and post would look fine. You are seeking only a VISUAL feature, and not a SECURITY feature, am I right? But picket fences and even rock walls with wooden picket gates or lacy iron gates, all say COTTAGE.

Take another look at what your neighbors have done, and maybe vary the look to be unique.

And yes, I like the coppery verdigris color. Nothing like an aged copper roof when it turns that metallic green. You can even bring in some copper tubing/piping wind chimes or even a copper lamp post--if you have not already gone another route. Don't get a hard turquoise, because the verdigris is not turquoise. MUCH too midcentury modern for your house.

Ok, back to the directions:
If you stand at the street facing your house, the driveway runs down the WEST side of your house? That puts your FRONT DOOR FACING NORTH, and THE BACK OF YOUR HOUSE FACING SOUTH.
I find it easier to deal with a home's orientation if I first nail down NORTH. From there all else follows.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 2:14PM
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enigmaquandry

Ok, I'll try to answer all the questions!

idie2live, we have about five feet on the left side of the house (facing it) and no space on the right (there is a garden bed running the whole length of the driveway that goes to the retaining wall on that side).

marti8a, since we are on a hill whatever wall we will do will end up being retaining enough to plant plants on!

moccasin, I think I must have said it wrong :) Our front door is facing southwest (the house is on the diagonal) and the back of the house is northeast. The neighbor is the one on the left (facing the house) that is higher than us. His backyard is facing the side of our house and it seems really empty to me so hopefully he will let us plant a tree there eventually.
If I took the rock from around the tree it would not quite make up enough wall for the left side of the lawn...that is all the rock that I have to work with unfortunatley (without finding some elsewhere). I agree about the hedge! Whatever we do planting-wise will remain very casual and flow-y.
We have considered a picket fence around the front but were concerned it would seem a little 'fortress-y'. We are only looking for visual, no added security :)

I love the idea of the gate mostly, I love gates and think it would be too cute, I think though that maybe the wall would have to be a little on the higher side to make the gate make sense? Is it weird if it's easier to step over a wall than to open a gate? If anyone has an alternative to a picket fence or a stone wall that could include a gate I'd be all ears :) Does the "wall" or whatever have to go around the property (side and driveway) to make sense with a gate also?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 3:50PM
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rafor

You were worried about to much in the way of rock if you did the wall and also left the rock around the tree. How about one of those wooden benches that encircle the tree and then just the stone in the front along the sidewalk? You could reuse the rock from around the tree for the wall in front.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 5:23PM
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enigmaquandry

aaaa, this is making me crazy...i'm looking into all kinds of ways of making a wall and i'm concerned that it will be expensive and that i won't be able to make it well enough to last...

I love the gate, an I just have a gate floating with nothing around it (pathetic whimper...)?

I know I could just leave the front yard the way it is, I have put a lot of work into it, but I just feel like it could be better, and I don't like how much sidewalk there is, chopping up the yard...

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 2:19PM
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emagineer

Building a stone wall can always be a project when time allows. I would take out the one around the tree and create walls around your yard. You have an option for a small gate at the smallest width of the walkway. I don't think it matters where the gate is, as with interior design sometimes we just do what we want and the little gate would look fine. And I do like the walkway too, plus what you have done with the yard.

Considering the neighborhood is mostly rock landscaping, I would stay with this as much as possible. There must have been a lot of rock in the ground when they built these homes.

I know you mentioned a budget, but concrete artists have come a long way. Their rock walls look exactly like rock. At 70 a pound, one of these contractors could go a long way. Also, check Craig's list or other places for free pick up of rock.

And I love the little cottage inspiration, it appears Irish. Looking at it closer, the wall is only on the front. They have planted bushes to surround the other areas. You could replicate a lot of the cottage front easily. Funny, that little gate doesn't look like it is large enough to fit across.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 6:32AM
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young-gardener

Enigma-
I was thinking about your house today. We, too, are always trying to reconcile ideas and budget.

Anyway, I remembered something one of the houses in our neighborhood did. Instead of a wall or full fence, they built pillars, much like what you would see between sections of fencing. Theirs were concrete block faced with brick, but you could do stone facing instead. Then, instead of putting fencing between them, they put in shrubbery. At first, I couldn't figure out what they were doing, but in the end it was lovely. A year or two later, they added fencing between. It actually looked good both ways. You could start like that and add as finances allowed. If there's a plan in place, it doesn't look half finished. With a support on each side of the walk, the gate could be in the initial building phase.

Maybe I'll walk the neighborhood and take pictures of yards today. Now you have me itching to get outside and collect ideas for our place. :) It would be much more fun than what I'm supposed to do today-- paint shutters to hang.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 9:33AM
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enigmaquandry

Emagineer, that's very astute of you! Yes it is an irish cottage! I am fairly obsessed with the irish countryside aesthetic and I would have a thatched roof, stone walls and a green door in a minute if I could :) I had not thought of using a hedge on the edges of the yard...I love the idea though, to break up all the stone and to save money on a wall. And then I could have a gate...ahhhh a gate :)

Young_gardener, do you know what kind of shubbery they used? Boxwoods are so pricey and here they do struggle a little (I have my fingers crossed for mine). I guess it would have to be fairly dense to be "fence like", I would love if it was dense enough that our dog could run around off leash.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:52PM
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enigmaquandry

eeek, not loving either of these...but things do look totally different in real life. Hmmmm.

From [house](http://picasaweb.google.com/christy.henninger/House?feat=embedwebsite) From [house](http://picasaweb.google.com/christy.henninger/House?feat=embedwebsite)
    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 11:26PM
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marti8a

I know you've already taken all the stone out from around the tree, but I think I like it that way better.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 1:04AM
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young-gardener

I can't remember, but I'll drvie by and look.

Perhaps compact Hollys would be cheaper? They grow fast and have a similar look.

The hostas look nice under the tree. I can attest that it makes for easy mowing. We have ferns and hostas under our japanese maple, and I'm so glad we did it.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 8:40AM
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enigmaquandry

marti8a, don't worry! The stones are still around the maple as of right now. The house presently looks almost exactly like the first picture on this thread. I just photoshopped them out for the sake of seeing the yard without them :)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 12:26PM
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emagineer

I think the trick is more plantings. It is quite possible the Irish Cottage has a wire fence along the side with vines covering.

I like your walkway as it is. Very clean and allows you to do a rock wall without surrounding everything.

Taking the rock from the tree doesn't both me. I do think the plantings along the front of house could be used in another area. Perhaps the side strip of rock fence. Those plantings are going to end up straight across and the front seems to need a couple of different hieght plantings. Vines are always a problem on house exteriors, but a hidden support would allow you to replicate the front of the Irish house.

Do not like the picket fence. I say go for the rock and perhaps start where the gate will be, you want the gate so much that it should be there. Two rock posts would be fine to start with. Then grow from there as time and money allows.

Why did I know this was Irish? We spent an incredibly wonderful time in Ireland. Loved everything, most of it was driving on back roads and visiting little villages. Talk about rock, it is everywhere. I don't know how the farmers actually created farm land with so much rock having to be moved. Every bit of land is sectioned with stone walls.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 6:31AM
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trancegemini_wa

I think either the rock walls or the picket fencing across the front would look great. I dont think you need the rocks around the tree as well and I think that would just look a bit busy. I'd take the rocks away from the tree and reuse them, either on the front wall or elsewhere if you go with a picket fence and use the extra soil around the tree to level out that low spot in the bottom left.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 7:16AM
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marti8a

Oh good, because I really like your curving sidewalks. Thought you were going to raze everything.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 10:48AM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

"I love the gate, an I just have a gate floating with nothing around it (pathetic whimper...)?"

Since you love the gate, something to consider would be a gated arbor. http://s908.photobucket.com/albums/ac283/WalnutCreekTx/?action=view&current=GatedArbor.jpg

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 12:53PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Sorry, the picture did not show up. Will try again.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 12:57PM
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enigmaquandry

Emagineer, oh my goodness! I would LOVE LOOOOVE to spend time in Ireland driving the roads and seeing the villages. It is on our list as the first place to go when we get some vacation time :)

I think I am leaning toward the stone wall with some sort of hedge or plantings on the sides...I have no idea how exactly to pull it off, but hopefully I'll figure out something. I don't trust myself to be able to build a stacked stone wall that will actually retain any earth, I don't like the stone "systems" of blocks because i think they look too uniform...A stone veneer might work but then I have to have something to veneer them on. And of course I don't know if this would need a permit or if I can have a fence/wall in my front yard...sheesh, how do you go about something like this?!

walnutcreek, thank you for that idea, that is actually really ingenious to have a gate with nothing around it! Typically I'm not a big fan of arbors because because I think they detract from the front door, but it certainly would be a really good solution for getting a gate! Hmmm, I'll have to think about that...

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 2:16PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

To take walnutcreek's idea 'a step further':

An arbor with

--to match the corner section you have.

You could then have your low rock wall, or use plantings to follow the slope of the fence, or cluster them to hide the end posts.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 6:45PM
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enigmaquandry

mama goose, I really like that idea! I took the top off the arbor because I think it detracts from the front door, but this is something I could build myself and wouldn't need any heavy machinery or permits for...very very tempting. Is it going to be too busy (remember there is a stone pillar with our house numbers to the right of the driveway)? I'm a little paranoid of "overdoing it" in the front yard...I think this is charming, opinions?

From [house](http://picasaweb.google.com/christy.henninger/House?feat=embedwebsite)
    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 10:03PM
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kiki22

I love this one. So far it's my favorite. Very sweet and inviting.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 11:16PM
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emagineer

I totally forgot about this forum on GW. Scan through it and see if there are some options for you. Seems like a big group and they have all the processes covered for rock "anything". Takes some work and patience, but cost is low.

Here is a link that might be useful: hyperturfa rocks

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 9:01AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I don't think it would be too busy (but, I have a bathtub in my front yard, so take that into consideration :-)

I couldn't tell if your post is tumbled stone--it looks very uniform. You could:

1)use the stone you have around the tree to face a post on either side of the walk, and attach the fence sections to them

2)use the tumbled stone to make new posts and attach the fence sections to them, making them match the existing post

3)attach a short section of fence to the existing stone post to visually tie it to the picket fence sections

If you're into the vintage look, you could attach a post on the driveway side, to make it appear as if there was a gate there at one time (in the distant past.) I've read that in GB they use 'garden follies'--they place stones to look like the ruins of a wall or building.

Here is a link that might be useful: flickr garden follies

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 9:26AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

...just realized I used GB instead of UK!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 9:28AM
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Shades_of_idaho

I also love the latest. So perfect for a cottage. then adding stone to the ends works for me. Those hypertufa rocks and containers are so interesting. Always been interested in that process.

Not to busy for me either but like Mama-goose I have odd things in our front yard too. Not too many have headboard fences. LOL I would have a bathtub if I had one to put out there. I have the perfect spot for one. Hehehehe OH I also have a green washing machine tub.Some one stop me I have gone out of my mind. Must be the heat.

Chris

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 1:15PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Oh yes, enigmaquandry! The gate with the section on each side is absolutly perfect.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 2:09PM
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kiki22

Chris, can you post a picture somewhere of your headboard fence? Sounds wonderful.

When I was looking at houses, I did see a house with a clawfoot bathtub on the patio. They turned it into a pond for a large turtle and it was beautiful.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 2:51PM
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enigmaquandry

Groan, the hubby doesn't like the latest...he doesn't see a point to having to open a gate when it is easier to step around it. :( I guess it's likely that I could end up with one of those "phantom paths" through the grass around the fences if the mailman etc. chose the road less traveled.

I'm going to see if I can tweak it a bit with some of the stone pillars suggested and see if I can come up with a hedge or something that will make the gate make more sense.

Thanks everyone for your patience and continuing ideas, I don't know why this is such a fuss for me!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 5:33PM
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enigmaquandry

Hmmm, here are some with the stone pillars...I could probably use part of my existing pillar to make two separate ones, maybe :) I think if I cleaned up some of the other beds and removed part of the sidewalk (see my first picture, I still have a full sidewalk from the door to the driveway, but I like the flagstones better) so there is more lawn it might not look like there's so much "stuff". Of course I'm still working on a lamp post as well so maybe it's just inevitable that there be a lot in my front yard :)

From [house](http://picasaweb.google.com/christy.henninger/House?feat=embedwebsite) From [house](http://picasaweb.google.com/christy.henninger/House?feat=embedwebsite)
    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 6:10PM
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enigmaquandry

after all that agonizing, it's a little ironic, we've discovered our vinyl siding is fading exponentially quicker than it was...so we're going to have to think about residing it much sooner than we had thought, if we're able to afford it.

Of course that brings up whether to use aluminum, cedar, brick or fiber cement. As much as I would truly love brick (I've always wanted a brick house painted white) I just don't think there's ANY way we will be able to afford it... also do we go with a plank look or a shake? I don't know, I am completely fed up with the front....aagh!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 12:16PM
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Moccasin

Ok, I liked the one with the picket gate and the little section of picket at the left corner of the yard.

Definitely NO HEDGE DOWN THE DRIVE, and no picket down the drive either. It cramps your space, and cuts up your yard.

If you do any kind of planting along the front walkway, I think the dwarf boxwood, Korean I think they are, will stay small with a minimum of trimming.

And over in your neighbor's yard, if he permits it, a clump of white birch surrounded by a circle of ground cover such as vinca and lily of the valley.

And that inspiration house is classic Irish cottage. It looks like my DH's mama's stone cottage where she was born and raised near the Cliffs of Moher. I heartily recocmmend you go to western Ireland, like County Clare and Galway and even down to the Ring of Kerry. There is so much ROCK everywhere. And go to Inishmore if you want to see a lot of rock fences. It looks like honeycombs made of rock, had to put them somewhere so they use rock walls to build fences to keep in the cows and horses, sheep and goats. And we loved being there so much, we are going back again next spring. I will be driving, and this time we get an automatic transmission, not a straight shift, which put my hip out of joint about three inches. I could barely walk when we got home. Too much clutching on those narrow roads, don't chaknow.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 1:02PM
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marti8a

I'm partial to the plank look myself. Dh & I put up Hardie plank & it's pretty easy. I think he had to buy a special blade for the saw though. I love the way it's holding up.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 5:20PM
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enigmaquandry

marti8a did you really put it up yourself???! I would love to do this ourselves but most places I've read say that fiber cement is not a diy sort of project...while we both have remedial carpentry skills I don't think either of us know anything about siding. We could probably replicate whatever we take off in vinyl...

Is it something you would recommend trying on your own? I really would hate to spend the money on the supplies just to put it up incorrectly and compromise the integrity of the house...but I would LOVE not to pay a contractor!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 5:56PM
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enigmaquandry

I said I'd never do vinyl, but lately I've been REALLY impressed by some vinyl shake siding that I've seen around town...do you think it would look alright to have shakes on the whole house instead of just the gables? I'm thinking of a greyish color.

These are not the vinyl that is super fake looking with over the top textures or anything, these are subtle and look EXACTLY like really precise shakes.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 10:59PM
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Shades_of_idaho

KIKI I am sorry I missed your request on pictures of the head board fence. If you start at this first link and keep clicking through the album there are several shots of the fence.

I still just love the little gate with short wings on the sides the best. I have not seen the vinyl shingles so no idea. In my mind I think they would look really nice.

Chris

Here is a link that might be useful: Head Board Fence

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 10:32AM
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marti8a

enigmaquandry, yes, I helped dh put it up. It wasn't hard at all. We just had to get a certain kind of blade for the saw from the big box store. We also borrowed a nail gun to make it go faster (I'm not very accurate when it comes to hammering and have been known to miss the nail and dent whatever I am working on) but dh used a regular hammer. We used nails that were kind of ribbed so they can't back out of the boards.

It's not brittle and nails go in just like regular wood. You also have to have a level and chalk box to keep the boards level and straight.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 11:49AM
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Moccasin

Enigma, in a post above, you mention how much landscaping people put into their tiny capes.

And you say that much of it is stone?
Well, it would also work if you had only stone columns punctuating a timber fence line. I cannot describe all of the options.

But to give an example, a stone base. about a foot high. Go down however far you need to hold it secure in place regardless of freeze heave. Then maybe every 15-16 feet or so, a stone column with the timber in between. Only two horizontal timbers, not high at all. It is only a visual barrier to keep traffic headed to the correct spot that you have designated for your entry.

Not all fences have to be continuous around the property. Look at Arizona.......that border fence only runs along a boundary and is nothing but a demarcation line. I suppose time will tell if it serves any purpose at all.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 1:05PM
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kiki22

Enigma, thanks for bumping the thread! What did you decide about the front of your house fence-wise?

Shades, thanks for the fence photos -- what a clever idea!! Love the look!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 12:26AM
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patty_cakes

I absolutely LOVE your inspiration photo with what looks to be climbing Roses! The trim color also adds to the beauty, but the house itself is definitely cottage material, and the stone would completely it.

Do you ever look on craigslist? In the 'for sale' column, there is a 'free' catagory. I see landscaping materials~dirt/rocks/sand/gravel/plants~for giveaway almost everyday in my city. Check out your local CL. ;o)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 6:05PM
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