Lots of interest, it seems, in exterior issues. I received this email from Beanik Babe Ginny a few weeks ago and have had had it queue’d up waiting for spring to sprung here in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Hi Pam!
Love your website! Just bought a 1959 California atomic ranch in Yellow Springs, Ohio after living in cavelike craftsman bungalows for the past 25 years. Your website has been soooo helpful. But I can’t find anything anywhere on what type of yard fencing, both privacy and front yard, was used in the 50s. With four rescued dogs, we want to be good neighbors and enhance the look of our new house. And ideas or suggestions? Thanks.

Ginny Friend / beatnik babe

Thanks, Ginny. I know that Femme 1 is working on some custom fencing, basket-weave style, that sounds fabulous. I’m sure we can get her to send us a photo.

Meanwhile, I have been on the lookout. Not a lot of photos of fencing as far as I can tell, in my vintage materials. I’ll tell you – it seems to me that chain link was pretty darn common in the 50s. Remember, they weren’t so Fancy then.

Nonetheless, I did find these great style options from the 60s — which I think that everyone will like a lot. Isn’t it clever how they made mix-and-match pieces so you could create your own design?

I’ll keep watch for other fence options, and exterior issues in general. Meanwhile, Ginny, let us know how it goes. And send pics of your four lucky dogs — and oh yeah, the 1959 atomic ranch in Yellow Springs, Ohio, too. Beatnick Babe, it sounds like you are livin’ the dream!

Note: All these images scanned and inserted at 300 dpi, so click on them to enlarge for all the riveting detail.

  1. Mariele says:

    What about a white picket fence? Were those ever common? They always seemed so distinctly ’50s to me… I always heard “move out, go to college, get a job, then buy a nice brick ranch with a white picket fence to raise 2.5 kids in!”, along those lines, when people were describing “the way things were”, so I always got it in my head that white picket fences went along great with brick ranches! Please help me on this… I think they look very cute.

  2. Paula says:

    Sunset Magazine published many books about such things (they still do). They do have a book about fences – see if you can find the vintage books (I recommend bookbinder.com). All of the vintage Sunset books are fabulous.

  3. Andrew Milmoe says:

    I have an Eichler, and the previous owner put in some custom made “Japanese” style gates… they are nice and match the house well, but very heavy.

    The gates have giant stainless steel hinges, but I’m not happy with the gate latch as it’s for a much daintier fence… and so I’m constantly replacing them.

    Know if any good sources for minimalist beefy mid century gate hardware?


  4. Deirdre Kosky says:

    My neighbors (not mid century design people) have erected a hideous vinyl white fence that spans a good portion of my backyard. Any thoughts on how to counteract this visual assault?

  5. Barbara Standing says:

    The “Mix and Match” fencing idea is just fabulous! It solves just about everyone’s fencing desires! I suppose a carpenter could build the same now, but for a lot more money. Probably worth it!

  6. Pam Kueber says:

    Thanks, Joe! The sun is shining here in Lenox, Mass. today. I can’t wait to start working again to landscape the forest in my backyard!

  7. Pingback:Retro Renovation » 50s fences — some great ideas courtesy of Laura B.

  8. Alice says:

    Pam – I too, could benefit greatly from some exterior fencing design help. I loved the mix and match samples that you found…anything else you can come up with please share!

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