A community garden, or one that is shared by multiple gardeners in the community, is a great way to beautify a neighborhood and bring residents together for a shared effort. Churches, schools and neighborhoods throughout Portland have developed dozens of co-op gardens, and some of them are visually stunning as well as enriching for the community.
As a grassroots effort, initiating a community garden requires a lot of planning, from securing the land to designing the beds to determining how participating gardeners will be chosen. One of the questions planners often ask is, “What are the best fencing options for a community garden?”
Community garden fencing can be as simple as a do-it-yourself chicken wire barrier to keep out small animals, or it can be a decorative element that complements the garden’s design or blends into the foliage. Following is a look at some of the considerations to keep in mind.
Fencing Questions to Ask
When choosing the right fence materials for a Portland community garden, it’s a good idea to first identify your goals, budget and other important considerations. Each type of fencing has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to know what your priorities are. Ask yourself the following questions:
What purpose will the fencing serve? Garden fences serve a variety of goals. Some are built solely to keep small animals from munching on the plants, while others simply to provide a visual boundary or design accent. Depending on the neighborhood, some community gardens may need fencing to control access and keep out vandals, in which case a taller fence with a locked gate may be necessary.
What is your budget? Community garden projects often have limited budgets, and some groups may decide to solicit donated materials from a Portland fence installation company. Keep in mind that on the spectrum of fencing materials, wire or chain link are among the more affordable options, while vinyl fencing lies at the more expensive end.
Popular Community Garden Fencing Materials
Chain link fencing. Chain link fences may not have a reputation for looks, but it’s a popular option for many community gardens because it’s relatively inexpensive, requires minimal maintenance and is strong enough to keep out most intruders. Although chain link won’t necessarily deter a resolute vandal, it will keep out most people and allow you to control access with a locked gate. And while it’s not the most decorative fencing around, it’s an unobtrusive fencing material that can be easily masked with strategic plantings.
Picket fencing. On the more decorative side, picket fencing provides a classic garden aesthetic that complements both flower and vegetable beds. It’s also a style that provides plenty of opportunity for customization, as you can choose the height, picket size and how big the gaps between pickets should be. A well-planned picket fence will keep out most animals and provide a pleasant visual boundary for the garden. If price isn’t a concern, vinyl picket fencing provides all of the benefits of this fence style, without the maintenance associated with wood.
Good neighbor fencing. Typically made of cedar, good neighbor fences are popular because they look equally good from both sides. They are generally taller than picket fences and offer more security. On the downside, a cedar fence requires regular restaining and other maintenance, which could put a strain on your budget.
Learn more about starting a community garden.
[Photo by: Samuel Mann]