Middle Class Problems: How to tackle the terraced-house fence

Yolanda Zappaterra is caught between two approaches: wanting to create something that works well for her, but also for her neighbours

Yolanda Zappaterra
Friday 22 January 2016 18:31 GMT

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


It's on our left as we look out of the kitchen window, so it's our responsibility, and it's falling down, so we have to replace it.

Yes, the dreaded predicament of the terraced-house fence has reared its ugly head, and has to be dealt with before the whole rickety thing collapses on to our very nice neighbours' strawberry patch. But how to tackle it? To our right, the other very nice neighbours dealt efficiently with the same situation a few years ago, building on to the low brick wall a row of rather fetching weathered wooden slats. To our far left, the neighbours in danger of the unwanted trellis in their fruiting area went the Modernist concrete slats route, creating a very different but equally appealing aesthetic.

We are now caught between these two approaches, wanting to create something that works well for us, but also for them. We could, of course, simply replace the existing cheap bog-standard fence and trellis that have served us surprisingly well for more than 20 years, but that option seems, well, unimaginative compared with the high bars set either side of us. Or we could match the nice wall and slats on the right, but that seems a bit copy-cattish (and insulting to the people on the left, for not aping their decision); not to mention pricy, given the cost of reclaimed London brick.

All of which brings home the glum realisation that had we bought the neighbour's house when it was on the market 18 years ago for a tenth of its current value, as we'd idly considered, there would have been no fence problem there at all.

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