Courtyard HouseMidcentury Exterior, Seattle
Contractor: Prestige Residential Construction; Interior Design: NB Design Group; Photo: Benjamin Benschneider
What Houzz contributors are saying:
Check before you build: From underground utilities to tricky property lines, you don’t want to be blindsided by any unforeseen issues, so be sure to check before you begin work.Check local building codes and apply for a permit if necessary.Check with your homeowners association, if you have one. There may be specific guidelines on color choice, height or materials.Find out where your property line is. Hire a surveyor to map it out for you if you are unsure.Be sure there are no underground utility lines in the way. To check this, call 811 — a free service that exists in every state.
Preliminary QuestionsThe first four questions consider the particulars of your situation and what design elements are already in place. 1. What do you want from your fence design? If the fence’s function is to define the property line, keep in children or animals, or be an aesthetic complement to the house, then the best choice may be a lower fence that is both functional and can connect visually with the entire house. If you’re looking for privacy, a higher fence is needed — 6 feet is the typical height for a privacy fence. A privacy fence will have a less direct visual connection with the house and usually engages more with the second story.Hreno also asks, “Is [the fence] intended to be a strong visual, or should it disappear? Does it have a dual purpose, or should it be an art object?” Considering your overall aspirations will help narrow your fence options from the start. Also research local regulations before you begin your fence design. Know height restrictions and where, legally, the fence can be set.Shown: A horizontal board-on-board privacy fence blocks the home’s first-floor view but connects visually and stylistically with the second story.See more photos of privacy fences
The house sits between Lake Washington and a narrow street, so DeForest had to choreograph a balance between privacy along the street and opening up to the views. On the public side he created a series of screens that give the exterior interest and rhythm, while also providing privacy. A fence at the ground level provides a first layer of privacy from the street, while a wall of glass opens the house to the courtyard; at the bedroom level, a ribbon of channel glass is modulated by periodic windows to afford views of the hillside from the upper hall, and a large sheltering roof ties it all together.