6 Fantastic Eco Fence and Wall Ideas

After six months of living in our (very basic) house you would have thought that we would have nailed all aspects of refurbishment. Not so, last weekend whilst sitting out in the garden soaking up the first real sun of the year, Brown piped up with “How did we say we were going to finish the boundary of the garden”, “We didn’t” was my reply. Over the last few days we have been browsing books and surfing the eco-web looking for inspiration. The below are the 6 best solutions we found for building a fence or wall for our eco project.

1. The Recycled Pallet Fence

Whilst pallets are not necessarily eco friendly in their own right due to the chemicals that are applied to preserve them, they are at least already made, so no energy is expended in cutting down more trees. I also think that when painted black – against the correct backdrop they can look pretty striking.

Painted Pallet Fence

2. The Recycled Glass Wall (Using Gabions)

I’m not sure if this design will be possible for our scheme, but I love the structural concept, which I have seen used before in Whitstable at Deadmans Corner. Galvanised steel meshes (a gabions) are filled with a product of your choice, in our case we would choose to use something surplus to requirement such as building rubble or used glass bottles. The great thing with glass is that you can install light boxes around the edge of the structure (LED of course) and create a fantastic feature wall.

Recycled Glass Wall Using Gabions

3. The Bits n’Bobs Fence

It you find yourself with plenty of old tiles, floorboards or other bits n’ bobs like corrugated steel you could make a bits n’bobs wall. In order to lend the structure some element of style you probably need to draw it out (at least loosely) before you start so you don’t end up with something butt ugly. Unfortunately in the past many good-natured eco warriors have lacked design credentials and subsequently put people off trying this type of thing with their Frankenstein like creations. Check out the below for an example of how to do it right!

Recycled Fence Bits and Bobs

4. The Woven Chestnut & Hazel Fence

Originally brought to the UK by the Romans, chestnut has been used to construct enclosures and hop gardens for centuries.  It makes a fantastic raw material for this type of construction because it is is coppice friendly, growing strongly between the typical 10 year cycles of coppicing.

Near to Whitstable there is a large supply of Chestnut in the well managed Blean Woodland, one of the South Easts most notable ancient woodlands.  The traditional fence design most associated with this type of tree is the chestnut pale, you may have seen it around sand dunes in the past, people local to us can purchase this type of design from Torry Hills, just down the road in Sittingbourne.

Personally we prefer a woven chestnut & hazel fence design and are looking for somebody who can help us construct something like the below:

Woven Sweet Chestnut and Hazel Fence

5. English Willow Hurdles

Willow when alive grows in beds of rich peaty soil, unfortunately it is not found locally near our house. It does however grow within the UK in managed rural areas such as The Levels in Somerset. Willow Hurdles are a traditional method of enclosure, which had been in decline for sometime. More recently craftsmen and women have been rediscovering the skills required to make this lovely natural product, meeting the growing demand from eco-conscious gardeners. Whilst more expensive than many fencing systems, considering most suppliers hand make them willow hurdles compare favourably with expensive FSC certified panels.

Willow Hurdle Fence

6. Bamboo Screening

Bamboo grows fast, so fast according to our architect that if you go to a plantation you can actually hear it expand! There are a number of suppliers that offer traceable stock these days, so you should be able to buy with confidence. One thing to note though is that on its own, much of the bamboo available in the UK will not be enough to form a fence in its own right. The best thing to do is to use it as a covering for an existing ugly wall surface. I can see potential to use it to screen and existing concrete wall at the bottom of our garden, which whilst looking a little wonky, can probably be modified to last another 20 years!

Eco Bamboo Screen

Thanks for tuning in, It would be great to get your thoughts in the comments!

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Kitchenspiration

You wouldn’t normally think of Gatwick Airport as providing inspiration for anything much, it used to be lumped in with the Bullring Shopping Centre (Birmingham) and Streatham High Street as the kind of place you’d never want to spend much time.  Needless to say things change, The Bullring has been re-built and Streatham is now up an up and coming area – something to do with a big Tesco project… 😦

So where can you find inspiration in the North Terminal?  Well Jamies Union Jacks Bar did for me, when I say inspiration, I don’t mean anything spiritual (that happened way back in Patagonia), I mean Kitchenspiration, and thats important, because I love food, so does Laura – I’ve never seen somebody so small happily eat so much!

Why did I like Union Jacks?  Well appart from the fact that they have Chapel Down’s Curious Brew on tap (its getting more well known), for a new bar (in an airport) the design is really nice.  I like the retro tiling, painted boards and metal work surface finishes, I thought that it gave some nice pointers for how some second hand furniture / DIY elements could be combined.  What do you think?

Dickensian by Design

As well as being the Garden of England, Kent surely has to be up there as one of the best places for local festivals and days out… this weekend we headed over to nearby Broadstairs to catch the end of the Dickens festival.  You don’t have to squint your eyes too much to imagine that beardy gent heading out for leisurely stroll after putting the finishing touches to David Copperfield…

Back to reality, just after a visit to the fantastic Morelli’s Ice Cream bar who did we happen to see?  Miss Havisham no less… We saw the diminutive figure heading down a little alley and ran after her; as we turned a corner we walked right into a live street performance of Great Expectations.  You don’t even get this kind of thing on the Southbank in London! (unless you pay for the Globe).

We stayed for the whole performance and then headed for a bevvy.

Though made popular during the Victorian holiday boom, Broadstairs was already on the map, The Royal Albion Hotel first opened its doors in 1760, and still looks great thanks to a recent renovation by Shepherd Neame Brewery  of Faversham.  In 2010 they spent over £1millon bringing it up to date, we really enjoyed the new details, while there we spoke to the manager who told us they used Farrow & Ball throughout, its better stuff, so needs less coats and water based so its good for the environment too.