I have a fence that was built about 4 years ago. There was a large oak tree that I wish to keep on the fence line. The fence was built around the tree; it not only removed the tree from my yard, but I didn't like the look of it: (not to scale, obviously)

fence--> -------[]-----------[]---[]  00
                                  |  0000  <--Tree
                                  |  0000
                                  |   00

So I had someone come out and redo it to be like so:

fence--> -------[]-----------[]-----  00  ---[]-----------[]-----[]
                                     0000  <--Tree                |
                                     0000                         | 
                                      00                          |

Notice the chunk of fence that is connected to the posts [] and just floating next to the tree. Those are starting to come apart...

I'm looking for a good solution to maintain this design better. The floating pieces are actually connected with a crazy contraption of 2x4's behind the tree where you can't see it, but it's not very solid. I'm hoping to find a solution that will last more than a year or two.

  • 1
    Do you own the property behind the fence, so that you could build something there if you had to?
    – Niall C.
    Dec 18, 2010 at 0:40
  • 5
    What is your goal with the fence? Stop deer from eating your garden? Let you send your kids outside without worrying about them running in to the street? Block non-paying neighbor's view when nude sunbathing?
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Dec 18, 2010 at 1:19
  • @Niall: No, I don't own the property behind it. The fence is pretty much on my property line.
    – morganpdx
    Dec 20, 2010 at 17:33
  • @Jay: :ahem: Privacy and dog containment :)
    – morganpdx
    Dec 20, 2010 at 17:33
  • Is the trunk of the tree on the fence line, or just branches? Depending on how high the lowest branch is on that side, could you put a piece of fence in with the top cut down to allow for the branches? Can you limb that side of the tree up to make this possible without ruining its overall look?
    – TomG
    Nov 30, 2012 at 4:28

4 Answers 4


Build a wrought iron ring either around the back or depending on how big the tree is or around the whole thing.

Make a half circle with two horizontal 1" strips and 1/2" iron posts. 1 post every 8 - 12" would be enough. The two outside posts can be longer and set in concrete. You can easily make the diameter of the ring big enough to leave 6-8" of space for future growth. If you want to still block it off more you can string it with vinyl straps used on balconies or something that fits your style. Tabs welded to the outside posts would allow you to connect the boards coming from the wood posts to support them.

It would be a fairly simple build for someone with a welder.

  • This seems like a really great solution! I'll mark it as the answer even tho I probably won't be able to try it until the springtime.
    – morganpdx
    Dec 22, 2010 at 0:37
  • that's great, I hope it works for you
    – Renshia
    Dec 22, 2010 at 20:20

I had a similar problem. I had a wood privacy fence up to within three feet either side of the tree and closed the gap with the tree with chain link and planted flowering vine on the chain link portion. Works for me both functionally and cosmetically. Good luck.


I have the same problem with a fence I am building. Wooden privacy fence, wooden fence posts in concrete. My neighbor suggested that I cut the fence beams (the horizontal 2 X 4's) in half and attach them together using hinges. That way the fence could "bend" around the tree. I haven't tried it yet, but perhaps something like that could work for you.


Ok, you didn't describe what kind of fence you had installed. regardless, the posts should have been secured in concrete below ground level. If you are in a region that has frozen ground issues, then the base needs to be 3 to 4 feet deep in holes at least 8 to 10 inches in diameter, in southern climates at least 2 feet for ballast. If you properly secure the posts in a firm foundation in the ground, then a normal span of no more than 8 feet should stand secure. Can you elaborate a bit more on what you have done and type of fencing? My other concern is terminating a fence so close to a growing tree. The roots and trunk are going to expand. If the fence is too close, it will be displaced as the tree grows.

  • 1
    I'm in the pacific NW, so it doesn't usually get cold enough for long enough for the ground to freeze all that deep. It's a wooden fence, wooden posts. The posts (for the most part) were put in concrete, and are fairly secure. The problem comes with not being able to run an unbroken span past the tree, since it's directly in the fence line; since the goal of the fence is privacy, I'd like to get as close as possible to the tree.
    – morganpdx
    Dec 20, 2010 at 17:36

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