Backyard Fences a Hundred Years Ago

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, April 15, 1914: Nothing much doing today.

1914-03-44-aThe picture above shows the simplest variation of an old fence. The boxed in posts are finished with a square board with a ball placed on top of each one for decoration.

Ladies Home Journal (March, 1914)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Now that spring is here, I’m taking stock of my yard. It needs work. . . a fence might be nice.

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share some backyard fencing suggestions from the March, 1914 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

1914-03-44-bThis is a good fence if the view beyond is particularly pleasing. and does not, therefore, need to be shut off.

1914-03-44-dIn the fence above the monotony is broken by connecting two fence posts with a trellis on which a pretty hardy shrub can be trained.

1914-03-44-cSome of us possess yards in which plants will not grow. The fence above is a happy solution. Gay boxes of flowers are placed between the posts and ivy or other vines on top.

14 Responses

  1. Some very modern looking fences there.

    • I had similar thoughts when I saw them in the old magazine. Maybe fence styles are just one of those things that don’t change much over time.

  2. Well, aren’t they pretty fences??!

  3. I think out door decorating is something more modern, but it seems it was happening early on!
    Diana xo

    • There are numerous articles in the old hundred-year-old Ladies Home Journals about creating attractive gardens and yards–so I guess they cared about landscaping even way back then.

  4. Lots of great ideas for fences and flowers.

  5. My grandparents just had a plain wooden fence around the backyard. I’m pretty sure they never had anything as fancy as this one. I wish I had their plain fence around my so exposed city yard.

  6. These look like town fences, for sure. Rural fences seem much more utilitarian. These are really attractive!

    • I had similar thoughts. Even by the early 1900s, the US was becoming more urban–and people who had houses on small lots wanted some privacy, but they also cared about making the fences attractive.

  7. Fences have been around for a long time and there are some effective and great looking fence designs that we still use today. Certain fence designs and materials are better for certain environments.

  8. These fences are beautiful and elegant. In my opinion, they have a modern, yet retro style. I love the way they look! Thanks for sharing!

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