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4 Unusual Fence Options

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If you went to a lot of time and trouble to create a custom-built home that matches your specific tastes and lifestyle, the last thing in the world you want to do is enclose that unique property with a ho-hum generic fence. Look around your neighborhood and you're likely to see the same old stone walls, wrought iron gates, and wooden picket fences everywhere. Here are three unconventional alternatives to show you just how fascinating fences can get.

1. The Door Fence

The door to a home usually presents a warm welcome to visitors -- so if you have a quirky sense of humor, why not amplify that welcome message by building an entire fence out of doors? Old doors of various colors, styles, and provenances can be hammered together on a fence frame, making an instant conversation piece. (Of course, you'll probably want that conversation occurring in and around your back yard, as opposed to shocking the neighborhood association by installing it out front.)

2. The Bamboo Fence

Ordinary wooden fences bring nothing new to a property, but bamboo is another thing altogether. This beautiful material, which is technically a grass and not a form of wood, adds a touch of exoticism, suggesting luxurious tropical locales or peaceful Zen gardens. There are two ways you can create this look for your home:

  • Attaching rolled bamboo to an existing fence frame is the quickest and easiest way to enjoy the beauty of bamboo fencing. You can purchase bamboo that has been joined together in rolls of various lengths at many home improvement stores. Fence contractors can attach the bamboo onto a wooden fence frame for you.
  • An even more dramatic (and permanent) method involves planting actual bamboo into the ground and letting the shoots grow into a dense organic fence. The main issue here is to avoid "running" bamboo, which lives up to its name by sending roots deep into your neighbor's land, in favor of the more manageable "clumping" variety. Click here for more information.

3. The Glass Bottle Fence

Do you get of throwing out unwieldy glass bottles? If so, then think about the unusual visual effects you can achieve by incorporating glass bottles of various sizes and colors into your fence. This eye-grabbing form of artistic expression can assume many forms. One method involves stringing the bottles end to end onto vertical metal wires positioned at regular intervals along the fence frame. You can also attach the bottles in tightly-packed rows onto a fence's crossbeams. If you are truly ambitious, assemble bottles of varying colors so a mosaic pattern is formed by the bottoms of the bottles!

4. The Bicycle Fence

You can bet that most fence contractors aren't asked to install this unique option, but if you're a cycling enthusiast or just a compulsive hobbyist, you may have a lot of fun constructing it yourself. Yes, with a little ingenuity and patience you can actually build an entire fence out of bicycle parts or even whole bicycles. First, of course, you'll have to round up as many bikes as demanded by the square footage to be fenced. Fortunately, you can find old, unwanted or unrideable ones for nothing (or next to nothing) at junkyards and through online ads. 

  • Once you have your bicycle collection, it's time to get to work on making them into a decorative fence. If you just want to link the bikes together without doing a lot of disassembly, simply dig pits deep enough to bury each wheel halfway into the ground. Insert each bike's wheels into the pits, perhaps with the aid of some quick-drying cement, and cover the pits over. Repeat this step for each bike one at a time, placing the bikes end to end.
  • You can also disassemble the bikes and use just the frames to create fencing. For example, you might stand the frames sideways, planting the rear dropouts of the frame into the ground, and then run metal piping through the empty handlebar stems. You could also attack the frames in their normal orientation so that they span wooden or metal posts.

These are just a few examples of ways you can enhance your property with your very own work of landscaping art. But unless you live in a remote area, make sure your choices won't upset the people who have to live around you. With luck, you might just inspire your neighbors to display some creativity of their own!