Tres and the fence she built from “pickets” thinned from the forest.

I love looking at people’s front gardens. Unlike the back garden, the front yard is the “public” garden, and it says a lot about the gardener.

Tres, one of my coworkers, has created a remarkable city garden that begins right where the sidewalk ends. She’s built a whimsical fence that she made with hardwood poles from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, a heavily forested part of the state. “My husband and I were looking at fences online and we really liked the old garden fences that are built out of the small trees that get cut when the surrounding forests get thinned. My sister lives in the Northeast Kingdom and has much forest to thin. Se we made a trip up there and cut many poles and built the panels ourselves. I love having a interesting fence and a unexpected garden here in the city.”

The narrow strip of land between Tres’ house and the sidewalk — no more than 6 feet wide — was once occupied by a decrepit porch. “Originally, it seemed like the porch just needed a facelift, but when we started to do the work last summer, we realized the whole thing needed to be replaced — or it needed to come off.”

In the end, they decided to lose the porch, but they gained more garden space on their small lot. When they moved in, there was little more than a driveway and lawn. In just a few seasons, Tres has filled the yard with several raised beds, adding a few more each year. At the back is a chicken coop, home to some hens.

“I am a planner and we have big plans for our little piece of ground. I am always trying to improve upon what we have already done.”

Tres' fence

Tres’ fence really stands out on her street.

Chickens are part of the scene in the backyard.
Raised Beds

Each year, Tres adds a few more raised beds to grow vegetables and flowers.

David Grist, Online Content Coordinator, Gardener’s Supply