Driveway Gates

31 Oct

DRIVE Dallas

Are you one of those folks who’s “living large”?  You dream BIG . . . “average” just doesn’t work for you.  You don’t have a yard, you have a lawn.  And not just a pool with a fence around it; you want a statement that surrounds the perimeter.  Well then, we have a gate befitting your dreams!  (Cue “Dallas” theme song …)

DRIVE ornate

DRIVE longhorn  DRIVE estate

DRIVE double DRIVE doubleBRNZ

 

Driveway gates are not only impressive looking, but also quite functional in protecting your property.  Choose from single gates, double gates, swing gates, and cantilevered gates.  For today, we will focus on the singles and doubles, which are available in a variety of styles and colors, with as many or as little embellishments as you want.  Your driveway gate can be part of a continuous line of fence, or incorporated into a brick, stone, or landscaped wall.

If you’re interested in knowing more about entrance gates, we invite you to visit our online store or give us a call at (215) 362-8200.  We are FENCE CITY, a privately owned fence and gate supplier and installation company since 1961. Located at 619 Bethlehem Pike (Route 309), in Montgomeryville PA.

Outdoor Bling

21 Oct

CLOSEUP estateFences don’t have to be just functional, you know.  They can also be quite glamorous.  (Glamorous? Really?)  Yes, really!

FlagNfence    GATE poolCloseup

Add a little bling to your fence project, especially if you’re looking at aluminum fencing.  Choose from a whole list of options such as ball caps on the posts, circles or butterflies along the top rails, ornate scrolls on the gates, flat top or arched gates, and finnials or spear tips on the pickets.

Convex Beige Concave

Decorative FinsCirclesThere are also several varieties of spear tip options to choose from:  alternating pickets, traditionally straight (level across top of fence section), or concave/convex.  And did we mention colors?  (not yet, but we are now.)

Ultra_colorChoices

Aluminum fences aren’t just black and white anymore.  Now you can also choose from Beige, Satin Khaki, Forest Green, Black, Satin Black, Bronze, Satin Bronze, White, and Satin White.

To see what each type of fence, decorative item, and color will look like, try our Design Studio app — have fun mixing and matching ’till you find the perfect combination that suits you. (You can upload an actual photo of your own home, or use one provided in the app.)

Related Posts:  Dreaming of SpringAdd Beauty

If you’re looking for a little indoor bling, visit our sister company’s blog — Closet City — for some incredible home interior inspiration!

Happy Autumn!

16 Oct
Autumn fence beauty

Surrounded by an elegant aluminum fence, your pool can look beautiful in any season!

Most folks think that the spring and summer seasons are the only time you can install fencing here on the East Coast — wrong!  As long as the ground is not frozen, fence can be installed well into the wintertime. In fact, the months of October and November are the perfect time to get new fencing installed, as that tends to be a less busy time for most fence installation companies. Late season rainfall helps keep soil softer and makes digging post holes easier — especially compared to the packed-hard, dry, cracked dirt of July!

So if you have been contemplating getting a new fence on your property — don’t wait till spring — get an estimate now!  The folks here at Fence City would be glad to help — give us a call at (215) 362-8200, stop in our office/showroom at 619 Bethlehem Pike in Montgomeryville PA, or visit our website.

Related Posts:   Do It Yourself Fence Installation

Related Links:   Your online fence source!

History of Fence Laws

3 Oct

Ultra aluminum fenceWow, we found even more information that relates to the history of “fences” — if you missed our earlier posts in this series, check out “A Bit of History“.

Today’s history lesson is all about early fencing laws —  how things were done “waaaaay back when”, before the modern-day regulations were established to keep local communities safe when it comes to fencing in your yard or pool.  Read on history buffs!

History of Fence Laws:  In the United States, the earliest settlers claimed land by simply fencing it in.  Later, as the American government formed, unsettled land became technically owned by the government.  Programs to register land ownership developed, usually making raw land available for low prices or for free, if the owner improved the property, including the construction of fences.

Distinctly different land ownership and fencing patterns arose in the eastern and western United States.  Original fence laws on the east coast were based on the British common law system, and rapidly increasing population quickly resulted in laws requiring livestock to be fenced in.  In the west, land ownership patterns and policies reflected a strong influence of Spanish law and tradition, plus the vast land area involved made extensive fencing impractical until mandated by a growing population and conflicts between landowners.

The “open range” tradition of requiring landowners to fence out unwanted livestock was dominant in most of the rural west until very late in the 20th century, and even today, a few isolated regions of the west still have open range statutes on the books.  Today, across the nation, each state is free to develop its own laws regarding fences.  In most cases for both rural and urban property owners, the laws are designed to require adjacent landowners to share the responsibility for maintaining a common boundary fenceline, and the fence is generally constructed on the surveyed property line as precisely as possible.

PRIV domeSolidOur staff is knowledgeable in today’s fencing laws, otherwise known as local township codes, and can help direct you to the proper authorities to ensure your fence project is OK.  (You’ll want to double check with your township BEFORE installing fence.)

Related Posts:
A Bit of History,   Even More Fence HistoryA Bit More History

Related Links:   About Fence City

A Bit More History

22 Sep

Fix GateAs we mentioned in earlier posts, we found an obscure blog site featuring the “history” of fences.  Part One was “A Bit of History“; Part Two was “Even More History” which featured a humorous look at the many meanings of the word “Fence”.  Now it’s time to share a bit more of that information … this portion focuses on the early American settlers.  Interesting!

Private property.  An English observer of farming once said “Give a man the secure possession of a bleak rock, and he will turn it into a garden. Give him a nine years’ lease of a garden and he will convert it into a desert.”  Ownership is different from leasing, and such thinking has, in many ways, defined several societies.

Further, in 7th century England, the King of Wessex added a new function for the fence … the business of protecting crops from cattle, and the land-owner’s responsibilities.  He proclaimed that a homestead must be fenced winter and summer.  If it is not fenced and his neighbor’s cattle get in through his own gap, he has no right to anything from that cattle; he is to drive it out and suffer the damage.

Now, getting back to America, several interesting historical notes.  First, visitors to Jamestown, Virginia in the early 1600s were amazed to see a style fence they had never seen before… a worm fence… logs just laid atop others at an angle eliminating the need for posts of any kind.  It was, of course, something to do with the spare logs yielded when clearing the land, but it was unique.  And then, John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, justified his enclosure policy saying: “That which lies common, and hath never beene replenished or subdued, is free to any that possess and improve it.”

That idea (though hardly uniquely American) — if it’s unoccupied, it’s free to anyone who will improve it — had enormous implications in the settling of the American west.  In the 1880s, a war of fences flared as settlers arrived in 11 western states between the 100th meridian and the Rockies, only to find that rangers had fenced off huge pasture terrains.  They, the settlers, discovered they could not buy and farm the land, even if it was suitable (water, soil) for farming.  It also affected the migrating Indians who followed the buffalo, the cattle drives of the Texans driving their steers to Kansas markets, sheep vs. cattle people as it influenced water, railroaders whose tracks crossed the cattle ranging, and other settlers in the west.  These “range wars,” roughly from 1875 to 1895 or so, define the Hollywood movie genre of “the western.”

The conflict between the rangers, the cattle drivers, the farmers and the Indians coincided with the boom of barbed wire, invented in 1873 and thriving as a cheap and efficient tool for enclosure.  The range wars were often cited as “fence-cutters war” and it greatly affected the development of those 11 states.

GATE walkwayIf you missed either of our previous posts on the “History of Fence”, be sure to check out the links provided here and get caught up!

Related Posts:
A Bit of History,
Even More Fence History,
And Liberty for All

Related Links:    A source of modern-day fences

Today’s blog post source:   Fence History

Even more Fence History

10 Sep

Fencing ComicContinuing with that article we found on the “History of Fence” (see our post from August), here are some much more humorous facts that may or may not relate to the type of fence that goes around your back yard!  (Again, we have no idea how accurate any of this info is, but it’s entertaining to read, nonetheless.)

A fence by any other name…

One thing we do when searching for the news for FenceWeek is weed out all the stories about “fencing” that have nothing to do with the kind you install.  There are homonyms, fencing with different meanings, and many stories related to those other meanings.  And like you, we sometimes get curious… so we started reading.

The word itself comes from Middle English “fens,” short for “defens” which, of course, means defense.  “Archaic : a means of protection.”  We’re not sure why Merriam calls this meaning archaic.  The kind of fencing you install has a history, discussed elsewhere, that goes back to the beginnings of mankind, where among other uses, it certainly was for defense.  In the beginning, however, it was also an important factor in developing agriculture, and the cultural understanding of private property.

In modern times, your kind of fencing is a security barrier to keep people and animals in or out, a definition of property lines, an augmentation of the appearance of a home or other building, a safety device for children, a shield for privacy, a barrier to noise, and so forth.

But “Fence,” or “Fencing,” is also the name of a rock band, a middleman in the distribution of stolen goods, a sport of swordsmanship in colleges and the Olympic games, an arguing technique (stop fencing with me,) a breed of lizard, a town in Wisconsin…

…and it is word at the heart of a series of expressions from “not taking sides” to “swinging a baseball bat as hard as you can.” And it is a key word in proverbs from sources as diverse as China, France, and England among others.

Each of these meanings have colorful stories… including the kind of fence you install.  We were surprised, for example, to discover that the hidden “fence” protecting the Washington Monument is called a “Ha Ha” fence, installed below ground level so that the view of the lawn is not “spoiled.”

Fencing Comic2We greatly admired the rules of dueling with sabers, where only hits above the belt are counted.  Sabers were originally real weapons of war, but mostly fought on horseback, and it was unchivalrous to hurt the horses!  Foil and epee dueling allows larger targets.  And in the spirit of equality, we admire the Olympics decision to include a women’s division for fencing.  The knights would have loved that.

Among criminal fencing, the big news is the internet where stolen items can be sold (with caution) on eBay.  Criminal fencing is now much more organized than it used to be.  Fences provide lists of things they want, often tell thieves where to get the items, and of course, set the prices.  A good laptop computer would get the thief about $350 a few years ago (and the fence, about $1,000 when shipped to South America.)  And we haven’t even mentioned the kind of fencing that used to put scars on the faces of German aristocrats who wanted to prove their manhood, or the fencing with long “swords” by the Japanese Samurai.

Or the analogies:

Sitting on the fence.
Mending fences with your enemies.
Swinging for the fence.

Or the proverbs:

Everyone pushes a falling fence.  (Chinese)
Don’t fence me in.  (Cole Porter)
The secret to fencing (with swords) is to give, and not to receive.  (Moliere)
There is no fence around time that has gone.  You have memory.  (John Locke)

FlagNfenceHope you are enjoying this series on the “History of Fence”; there’s one more post to be shared soon!

Related Posts:
A Bit of History,   And Liberty for All

Related Links:
Today’s source of fence products

Blog post source of info:  Fence History

A Bit of History

29 Aug

Ultra Aluminum fenceWe found an old blog site that consisted of all of two articles … both regarding the “history” of fences.  How cool!  We’ve wondered for a long time how fences as we know them today ever came to be, and now (if all of this is actually true), there are answers to our questions!  So for you history buffs, enjoy!

In the beginning – there were no fences

You wouldn’t have thought anyone could really do a “history” of the fence. After all, where does it begin? At the walls of Jericho? With the Chinese wall? From the beginning of man-on-earth?  Well, believe it or not, it’s been studied, and the most interesting writings about it were by Christina Kotchemidova, a professor at New York University, much of which is referenced here.

Dr. Kotchemidova made the point that fences do more than provide a physical function (like keeping someone in or out) — they actually have a cultural function.  In fact, she says that the history of civilization is closely tied with the history of the fence. Human civilization is imagined as emerging from agriculture, family and property.  And all of these evolved with the serious help of the fence.

The fence is identified as a key to understanding the idea of private property.  Fences, she says, define ownership, and societies that did not have individual ownership, such as early European farming, (harvesting, and moving-on societies, and many American native tribes,) did not have fences.  That plant-cut-and-run farming technique, however, was enormously destructive of the land.  The coming of the fence marked the transition from a pattern of one-time looting the land to a pattern of taking care of it and farming it for years.

Some American Indian tribes had man-constructed fences, but only for defense… not ownership.  As a result, they never encircled the Indian camp, but were on one side of the camp, behind which the warriors could shield themselves.  While no one knows the name of the inventor of this technology, philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who writes about social contracts, wrote: “The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said ‘This is mine,’ and found people naive enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society.” The fence helped institutionalize one of the most important elements of the social contract – the collective recognition of private property.

Privacy scallopSolidSo there.  The history of the fence reveals it as the beginning of serious farming, conservation, and the beginning of recognizing private property.  (There’s more, which we will share next time!)

Related Links:    A source of modern-day fences

Today’s Blog Post Source:   Fence History

Do-it-yourself fence challenges

15 Aug

DIY

Almost everyone who has ever tried a Do-it-Yourself project has a story to tell … and a few extra parts that somehow didn’t make it into the final assembly!

While it can be funny to share the stories once everything is completed, it’s frustrating to reach a point in a project where work has to stop to purchase additional tools or parts — or worse — work has to be undone to correct a mistake.

Tackling the job of installing your own fence might not seem terribly complicated, but there are a number of potential pitfalls to try to avoid.

Purchasing a fence as a Do-It-Yourself project requires the selection of many related items.  All of the items must be related in order for the project to be completed successfully.  All fence sections must be the same sizes, styles, and colors.  Fence posts must match in size, style, and color as well; however, keep in mind that corner posts and end posts have different configurations than line posts.  (Gates and gate hardware have the same requirements.)

Some fences have style options to be included, such as finials, decorative caps, privacy inserts, arbors and more.  Additional materials are often chosen to improve fence function, such as vinyl coated wire (popular with post and rail), electric wire (for livestock), razorwire (for security), and automatic closures (for convenience).

Homeowners often purchase fences to enclose a pool and to comply with local safety code requirements.  Unfortunately, some do-it-yourself homeowners have completed an installation only to find that their fence fails to meet the pool safety codes standards.

Retailers who offer fence materials for sale should be aware that their buyers would benefit from expert assistance as they shop for the items they need to complete their project. While most retailers group their items into logical areas (whether in the store, or online), so that similar items are visible to their buyers, this assumes each buyer has a full understanding of what they need.

We believe there is a better way to present the information about fences, where that expertise is built in to the system. Let our expertise help guide you so that your project can be a success. We hope you find our Fence City website provides information quickly — and that your experience with us is a happy one!

Related Posts:   DIY Crafty Fences: Privacy Screens,   What do the Neighbors Think?

Pool Safety: Swimming Lessons

31 Jul

POOL Ultra PrivacyWe shared a post on Pool Safety earlier this summer, and now we found another interesting point to mention — most folks don’t know how to swim!  This is a major safety factor when it comes to having a backyard pool or if visiting a community pool.

If you have been swimming for a long time you may not remember the fear of going into the water.  Stats show that more than half of US adults don’t know how to swim, and the current stats for kids is staggering:  70% of African American children, 60% of Latino children and 40% of Caucasian children have low or no swimming ability. (www.usaswimming.org)

With summer approaching, young and old alike should gather courage and take the plunge.  There are many qualified, affordable professionals in our backyard that would be happy to teach you.  Age is not a factor!  Learning how to maneuver off the mainland can save your life, and you might save someone else’s.  —  Sharyl Volpe, Living Local magazine, May 2013

As the author of this little blurb mentions, there are many local places that offer swim lessons (the YMCA, for example).  Taking lessons as a family is certainly a fun adventure for kids and parents alike, and is a “must” if you have your own pool and actually don’t know how to swim.   And as the summer winds down and chilly temperatures settle in, taking lessons at the local Y extends your swimming fun – indoors!

POOL Ultra3rail SpearsAs mentioned in our Pool Safety: Gadgets post, knowing CPR or having a pool sensor alarm are also good things to consider for keeping your family and pets safe around water.

POOL Ultra Aluminum Closeup

Related Posts:   Pool Safety,
Pool Safety: Gadgets

Related Link:
Swimming Pool Fences

Going Green: garden tool tips and tricks

18 Jul
Pretty planter box constructed in hardscape materials.

Pretty planter box constructed in hardscape materials.

Being a fence company, we’re all about things “outdoors”, even if occasionally it doesn’t directly apply to fences, gates, and deck railings.   And, as opposed to an older “Going Green” post that featured synthetic grass and hydroponic gardens, this article is all about maintaining your tools and seeds needed for traditional gardening.  So for those of you who like to dabble in the flower beds, grow veggies in containers, or raise your own herbs, here are some simple-but-effective tips …

Lost and found:

If you tend to misplace tools among your plants and flower beds, consider marking them in some way.  Either paint the handles a bright color, or attach a neon-colored ribbon – use whatever strategy you prefer to help make those tools “stand out” among the plants and soil.   Hopefully this tactic will ensure that you’ll never leave another hand tool out in the weather all summer again!

Over-winter storing of hand garden tools:

Fill a container, such as a dishpan or old plastic bucket, 2/3 full with sand mixed with a little bit of oil (used motor oil works well).  After cleaning off your tools (trowels, clippers, etc), plunge them into the oily sand.  Clippers should be in the open position.  Do this as winter starts, leaving the tools in the sand mixture, and you will find your tools clean and sharp by next spring.  You can also keep your hand tools in the sand mixture year round, for it cleans and protects the metal surfaces.

GARDEN plantsReference materials:

For the gardening “book worm” – dedicate a bookshelf somewhere to only garden-related books.  This way you can find them when you need to look something up.  On this same shelf, keep your empty seed packets in a binder, in clear divided-pocket sheets (like those used for photos), for easy care and maintenance references throughout the season.

If we can be of help to you in regard to fences, gates, deck railings, or related hardware, please contact us at (215) 362-8200 or visit our online store.  Thanks!

Related Posts:   Going Green! (part1)

Related Links:   Fence City website

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