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Old 11-13-2005, 09:38 PM
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Vegetative fences around ponds

Following some unfortunate events in our area many municipalities drafted new laws regarding ponds and fencing. Where it used to be that a pond was a pond and a pool a pool, a few years ago a pond deeper than 24" was treated the same way as a pool, requiring fencing 44" inches high around the entire perimeter.


Recently a local man was fined for not having a fence around his pond and he fought it. As part of his defense he questioned why detention/retention ponds on every commercial property didn't have the same requirement. Further, he had fencing, just that it was less formal and took the form of dry stacked stone walls and plantings.

Shortly thereafter the municipality the fence-fighter lives in announced they will amend their law to include "vegetative fences," with the requirement that to a height of 44" the fence need be dense enough to prevent the passing a 6" sphere.

My first thought is - Huh? 6" sphere? That's going to have to be some mighty dense planting.

Then something else crossed my mind. I'm not a fan of the government interfering in affairs, particularly ones where people have to expend time and dollars to protect others from themselves. But maybe pushing this concept a bit further would be a big benefit to our industry.

Imagine every commercial property having to retroactively fence their de/retention ponds with fences or plants, and all new construction having to do the same. That's a lot of trees to plant, my friends....
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Old 11-14-2005, 12:08 AM
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That sounds like a ridiculous rule Jeff!! Passing a 6" sphere? With what force behind it? If you push hard enough, it will pass through any shrubbery. very few are uniformly dense either. They've opened a can of worms!

Does this apply to natural ponds as well? Lakes too? What about recreational access? This sounds like an attorney's field day to me!

As for your suggestion about this being good for our industry, just remember the phrase "What goes around comes around." Over regulation hurts everyone.
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Old 11-14-2005, 06:35 PM
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Here on Long Island, in the Hamptons, they solved that problem long ago.

Just about every estate in the Hamptons has either a pool, a pond or both. Since the laws require that such features be fenced, to prevent casual trespass and possible injury, fences around either the feature or the property were required.
The only hitch was that the owners of these estates didn't particularly like the idea of an ugly fence surround theirs and other's properties as it would detract from the overall appearance of their homes.

The solution was to first erect a wire fence of some type, (usually a grid-style with small 3" or 4" openings), about five-feet in height and then plant privet on both sides of the fence all along its length. As the privet grew, they would intertwine with the fence and other plants resulting in a dense, vegetative border, with no visible fencing, but still providing the benefit of a mechanical barrier of approved height which brought them into compliance with the law.

Over time, the plant varieties increased and such fencing is now used with almost any plant which bears leaves to the ground, (to fully disguise the fence). Gates and other entry points are simply accomplished with a set of posts as they normally would be.

So now the water features are protected from trespass, laws are satisfied, the area looks natural, no ugly fences break up the views and everyone is happy.



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Last edited by John Palasek; 11-14-2005 at 06:37 PM..
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