It’s that time of year when people start thinking about sprucing up their homes and gardens, and a white picket fence makes a crisp backdrop to set off a flower-filled landscape. Ahh, the good life, billowing roses, huge-blossomed peonies and vibrant purple Bearded Iris.
While white picket fences are more commonly seen in cottage gardening, this post shows numerous gardens with white picket fences at homes of different size and design. From a small village home to a great mansion, the white picket fence can make a welcoming statement.
Not all white picket fences are used to protectively delineate the boundary of the home from the street though. Above is a summer example of the fence enclosing the home and separating the garden between public (street) and private space. The flowers have no regard to public and private space as they bend, stretch and peek out between the rails.
Some fences protect a rear garden with valuable collectibles, like a large train set, rather than flowers.
In most cases, the white picket fence is used traditionally for the front gardens without floral adornment. This helps to compliment the architecture.
Occasionally, it can enclose a parterre or livestock pasture.
In these creative examples from mostly May gardens, the fence is used a bit differently, yet each is very welcoming to the visitor.
You will find many design “rules” telling you how to plant around your fence, but as you will see in this post, there are many ways to plant along a fence equally appealing.
Form and color lend a pleasant contrast against the crisp white of the fence readily seen from both inside and outside of the garden. Flowers are the actors and the fence the theatrical backdrop of the stage, creating the “scenery” of both stages – inside and out.
Shown in the above gallery, vining and trailing plants look great draping a fence or arbor. Trees planted adjacent to the fence, over-hanging branches spilling over the fence is also a nice designer look.
You can see many spring bloomers in the majority of these images, but look closely and you will see the summer flowers just starting to appear in among the plants in bloom. Keeping blooms sequencing through the seasons is recommended to keep visual interest throughout all four seasons. Often you see Christmas wreaths decorating white picket fences in winter.
The garden above is at Montpelier Mansion in Maryland. The theme of this garden is to tell the time by the sun. The mansion is shown below. The white picket fence garden is free-standing in the lawn area – a formal parterre garden with gravel paths. Although formal in design, it has a looser informal, almost cottage feel.
Below is the remarkable garden of Charles Cresson, a renowned plantsman in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.
The fence helps to keep overzealous growers contained in addition to creating a border for the garden to aid in defining the space on both sides of the fence.
Separating an entryway from the lawn and garden, a white picket fence creates an airy garden delineation, shown below.
The Lewiston garden is owned by a friend of mine. She is a garden club member and her fence was done up beautifully in spring bulbs. Many summer bloomers are on the way also.
Another thing a fence can do is frame a view like shown at Montpelier. Here the house is on axis.
Don’t you just love the iris against the white fence? One thing you might notice in this post are plants you may have seen in your grandmother’s gardens. Nostalgia slips in, but it is also that these flowers just look “right”. Look at the roses in front of fences in a gallery above. They seem so naturally “right”. But so does many other flowers and shrubs. No need for strict design rules when the fence helps to relax the scene…
So get the garden ready for Spring and add a bit of nostalgia.