If a property is visible from the street most homeowners will want to create a frontage that has ‘street appeal’. What surprises me, is that while trying to create this, many Christchurch homeowners opt to build a ‘six foot’ high timber or concrete block fence right across their property.
Next time you’re out and about have a look and see how many of these high fences there are. The obvious difficulty that exists is balancing a sense of ‘street appeal’ with a sense of privacy and security that most people will require. The irony is that in trying to create security for their home, building a tall fence out front creates a place for an ‘unwanted someone’ to hide with no ‘passive visibility’ from neighbours or anyone passing by on the street.
With some thoughtful design you can balance the need for street appeal, privacy and security for your property. Consider stepping your fence back from the front boundary by a metre or so. This allows space for planting on the street frontage which will create some softening to a high fence and gives something back to the street. A step back in the fence can create enough space for some tree planting which can be designed to frame your property for street appeal and screen out private spaces otherwise visible from the street. A section of your fence can be of an open material that allows visibility into your property, but only where you allow it. Vertical iron or aluminium fence panels are a design element which will achieve this.
If your home is in a new subdivision, you will likely have a set of covenants governing your fencing. These covenants protect an open, spacious feel but can leave living spaces exposed to the street. With some considered garden design, you can use trees and shrubs to create privacy where its required.