Fenced in

Slideshow: From wrought iron to cedar, fence styles vary in Central Oregon

By Marielle Gallagher / The Bulletin

Published Nov 12, 2013 at 04:00AM

A fence around a yard or along a property line can provide a first impression for what lies beyond. A white picket fence conveys a classic all-American look, a wrought-iron fence provides an antique and artistic quality and a corrugated metal fence has a contemporary effect.

We took a look around Bend to find some unique and eye-catching fences. In Northeast Bend, a yellow picket fence appears conventional, until you pass by and see the side view of the fence, which is painted the colors of the rainbow. The traditional looking picket fence got a fun update when homeowners Kim Plummer and Doug Ward decided to paint the side of each picket a color of the rainbow and the tops of each post gold. “It seemed like a fun idea. ~ Not too serious. There's enough seriousness in the world,” said Plummer. “We painted the house a Big Bird yellow, and then my husband and I had the idea that we could paint the tops of the fence and it wouldn't bother the neighbors. You would see it only when you were offset (from the front of the fence),” said Plummer.

At The Lot, a food cart pod in Northwest Bend, a modern industrial-style fence delineates the seating area. The owner and developer of The Lot, David Staley, said many people think the fence is reminiscent of a gabion wall-style fence. But Staley hadn't heard of a gabion wall before sketching up a design that included steel posts and beams and steel mesh panels filled with rounded rock. “My wife and I spent many hours doing the rock work. We hand-picked the right size rocks from the Shevlin rock pit,” said Staley.

Although the finished product looks simple, Staley laughs about how much work went into designing and building the fence. “A lot of people say it looks so easy to put together. ... But there's a lot of hidden design and thought that went into it,” said Staley.

One of those hidden design elements is a pattern of pins welded in between the rocks to keep them from spreading and settling.

Another singular look we spotted around town was a metal fence with Victorian-era flair. Jon Sargent, who remodeled a lot in Bend and installed a metal fence around the perimeter said he was able to find the wrought-iron fencing at Iron Horse Antiques in Bend. “I wanted to do metal fencing so people could see through it and it would last forever. ~ I wanted to go for something ornate,” said Sargent.

Eric Storjohann, owner of Bend Fencing, said his clients tend to either choose their fence style based on what they see in their neighborhood or they'll go online for inspiration. “Usually the customer comes to us knowing what they want,” said Storjohann. “We've had a couple people ask for a similar fence to the McMenamins fence ~ All the tops are cut at random angles.” Storjohann says the most common reason people decide to install fencing is to create privacy or a perimeter to contain children or animals.

Among the most common styles of fencing Storjohann installs is cedar privacy fences. There are multiple ways to add a design element to a cedar fence that Storjohann says he builds on-site, including lattice work along the top of a fence or an arbor over the gate. Sometimes homeowners have a specialty gate they want to use, and Storjohann incorporates it into the fence design.

Chain-link fencing is also a common choice and is available in a variety of colors. “Chain link is cheaper than cedar. ~ We've installed it for people who have an open lot and they want to keep their view so we'll do black, brown or green and it blends in with the landscape,” said Storjohann. Chain-link fencing is available from 3 to 6 feet in height and is galvanized to prevent rusting and then powder coated.

Another popular choice in Central Oregon is ranch fencing, which has round posts with round rails made from pressure-treated posts, which Storjohann sources from Round Tree Lodgepole Products in Tumalo.

Vinyl fencing is another choice, but Storjohann is wary of using vinyl in Central Oregon because of the dramatic changes in temperature. “The problem around here is with the big temperature changes ~ it'll break really easy if it gets really cold because it gets brittle,” said Storjohann.

Winter can be a good time to have fencing installed because Storjohann's business slows so there's less of a wait. Typically, it's a two week wait in the winter, whereas in the spring, summer and fall Storjohann schedules clients three and four weeks out from installation. “I think a lot of people think you can't put up a fence in the winter. There are days we don't work in the winter, but for the most part we're putting up fences year-round,” said Storjohann.

Storjohann prepares holes in the ground for the fence posts with an auger, unless a rock shelf is discovered under the soil and then it may require a jackhammer. The posts are then set in concrete, which takes a few days to set. Installation of the fence takes another few days for a typical sized city lot.