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Like many undertakings involving design, architecture is subject to fashion. Beyond certain basic characteristics, architectural styles come and go, and sometimes return.

The style of a residential building can permeate the design from the broadest features to doorknobs and internal detailing. The question of a suitable fence for a house, however, is often overlooked. Modest cottages which were built with a low timber picket fence are carefully restored, then finished off with a fence of gigantic, faux sandstone piers and cast iron railings that would do Buckingham Palace proud. It’s not being too superior to see the effect as inappropriate at best, or jarring at worst.

To be fair, sometimes security is an overriding consideration, requiring a fence that is hard to cross other than by legitimate invitation. Even so, there are secure fencing solutions for every house which are at least neutral in style with respect to the property they protect.

One way of looking at the suitability of a fence for aa particular building is to consider whether the building and the fence look comfortable together. Are they speaking the same language?

Ideally, fences should look right in frontal elevation – in a postcard picture of the house. The fence should also be pleasing from inside the property, After all, that is the usual view of the occupants. As a finishing touch, the fence should appeal to passers-by on the footpath.

So if the fence suits the house stylistically and in scale; if it looks right from inside and outside, and it fulfills any requirements for security, longevity and cost, then you have succeeded in the small but important aspect of home renovation.

toomuch2Too much of a good thing? Elaborate cast iron fencing in front bof two reproduction Late Victorian villas has been continued between the two properties, creating a visual maze of ironwork.

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