Traditionally, fences, hedges, walls, defined land boundaries, contained pets and livestock, adorned the landscape, and secured property. Fences are often a status symbol of wealth and standing in the community.
The ferns growing from this brick wall add a touch of softness. It makes the fence living and inviting. Fences were often used to protect flower and vegetable gardens. These gardens are not always hidden away but placed in the front yard where everyone can enjoy the beauty.
Not all brick walls are solid. Different patterns with an open weave are perfect for growing ivy and other vining plants. The fence above is adorned with Creeping Fig.
This stone wall is built to retain the soil. It’s also a barricade and privacy barrier against the street traffic.
Brick or stone walls are often combined with decorative iron fencing. The picture above shows a retaining wall made of brick topped with an iron fence serving to set boundaries and display a decorative addition.
Part of this property has a solid brick wall for privacy. It extends to the front of the house becoming more ornate and combines both brick and iron.
Creeping Fig is growing on this picket fence.
Wide open fences are more boundary defining than containing. They allow you to peak through at the treasures beyond. They welcome you in to the world of the homeowner but keep you at a distance also.
This fence is open but can contain pets or children.
Plants grown closely together set boundaries and the one pictured above has a nice white gate as its focal point.
Here is a wall that serves as a fortress, retaining wall, defining a boundary, and setting a status.
The more ornate and elaborate the fence it is likely the owner of the property was prosperous. Here this gate shows class and invites you beyond the gate.
Why not make the gate a completely different color!
The photos above were taken during my trip to Wilmington, NC. Many of the boundary walls in this town were built with ballast rocks. Ballast rocks came from ships traveling to Wilmington to pick up goods for trading. Ships need weight for balance and smooth sailing.
It is interesting that China did not load ballast rocks but instead delivered china to Wilmington. The china weighed as much as ballast rocks and made the trip less wasteful. Many of the pieces of china are still found in the museum homes and antique shops of Wilmington.
Once in Wilmington, they would unload the rock to the shores. The local people began to make walls and build small buildings from them. Ships today still use ballast materials to evenly distribute weight but are no longer allowed to empty those foreign materials on our shores.
Ballast material can be water or solids and must be dumped so many miles from our shores to ensure that any marine life included in the ballast will not contaminate the area. Marine life from foreign waters can cause havoc because they have no natural enemies here. It can upset the natural balance of the shore life and cause some species to become extinct.
It helped that Wilmington had an ironworks in town. It would cost a small fortune today for such elaborate work. Within the original one square mile of town, almost every home has a fence or wall of some form or fashion. It is a charming touch.