Our yard needed a lot of pruning when we moved in this fall. Snip snip the Japanese maple, the Pussy Willow, the rhododendrons, the nameless (to us) shrubbery bordering our property and giving us such wonderful privacy, for the most part. We were left with piles upon piles of brush.
When I lived in the country we’d just burn brush on a good day. Less easy in the city. And I really didn’t want to ‘dispose’ of the stuff off-site – why waste those nutrients?
I thought of composting them slowly in subterranean mounds (oxymoron?). But lucky for us, Jennifer Carlson, a local landscape designer was featured in Seattle magazine for the many sustainable features of her yard, including a lovely composting fence.
It was the perfect solution. Not only did we need to use/dispose of our plant trimmings, we also needed a fence to block some ugly views in a few spots of the yard. One of these I have been proposing we expand – the view of the nearby intersection – by removing a large round pine tree that that blocks said intersection (+), but looms over my garden site (-).
So we decided where, I decided how, and off we went to the hardware store. We came back with some 4″x6″x8′ posts, a 100′ roll of 3′ tall galvanized wire mesh (2×4″), and some bags of crushed gravel. We buried the posts 8′ apart and 2′ down, packed beneath and around with gravel. We then strung up, pulled tight, and stapled on the wire mesh to the front and back of the posts, one layer at a time so we could get the goods in there.
Labour-intensive to fill the fence with our goodies, but fun too as we creatively layered with holly, then pine, rhododendron, cedar, twigs, shrub x,y,z, etc. After a few hours we had a half-fence. That was Sunday. Today in the warming sun, we tacked on the second tier of mesh and filled it to the top. Presto! Interesting, functional, composting fence!
We may yet top it with a trellis. A little light filters through, which we plan to make use of to grow some edible vines such as kiwi or hops!
CONTINUE reading about the composting fence.
subterranean mounds… sounds like a punk band.
Really neat, Jen! We’re thinking of creating a trellis-type thing along our sunroom wall to help absorb sun in the summer – this would be neat but maybe encourage rodents too close to the house? Maybe we’ll stick with burning this far out in the country!
Yeah, Google, this wall would probably keep moisture up against your house too. Go with the vines!
This seems like such a brilliant solution to me! I would be interested to know how long it would take for the first filling to break down.