Is Diagonal the New Horizontal? The Evolution of the “Flipper” Fence


We’re in the midst of what seems like a new real estate bubble here in Los Angeles. Houses get so many bids that buyers have to write letters to the owner to beg for the privilege of buying their dilapidated bungalow.

To take advantage of this market, house flippers have developed a new architectural vocabulary based, I think, on a kind of mash up of stuff from Home Depot and ideas from back issues of Dwell Magazine. One of the most persistent flipper memes is the horizontal fence:

Photo via The Eastsider.

Photo via The Eastsider.

I spotted a unique variation on the flipper fence a few weeks ago–the diagonal fence at the top of this post. I kind of like it but when I posted it in Facebook I got a mixed reaction. One thing I don’t like about it myself is the height. Personally, I think it’s unfriendly to the neighborhood to have a front yard fence higher than four feet (not to mention that it’s a code violation, as well). That said, I think this diagonal arrangement might look good in a backyard (though it does waste the bit of wood you have to saw off the top).

Some other Facebook comments noted the sad state of the parkway, a.k.a “hell strip.” To be fair to the owners I don’t think they are finished with the job (which, if they are actually house flippers, will involve gravel and agave).

What do you think? Should good fences be vertical, diagonal or horizontal?

Leave a comment


  1. I grew up with a horizontal, weaved redwood fence in the 60’s. Made for an easy way to climb the fence and head for new areas.

    I like the diagonal, and agree it’s too high for a front yard, unless they are building a fortress. I wouldn’t saw off the top triangles, but leave them like a new version of a dog-eared fence board. Gives me ideas for a fence I’m working on now.

    • Oh yeah, I remember those weaved fences–perhaps the ancestor of the flipper fence? And not sawing off the ends is an interesting idea.

    • The woven wood fence was not only for design purposes. Any fence that allows wind to flow through it as opposed to around or over prevents turbulence that can damage the landscape as well as the the fence itself.

    • Except that that unrelieved stretch of wood is so boring. It would have been better if they’d left, say 4″ or 6″ gaps either randomly or on some grid.

      And, as you say, it’s too bloody high.

    • I like the gap idea! Someone joked in Facebook that it isn’t high enough to hide those electrical lines.

  2. I’m in favor of variety, too. Someday, though, cliched or not, I’d like to have a horizontal fence with narrow, well-spaced boards for veggies (like beans) to climb.

  3. I think the horizontal fence looks like a giant headboard. The diagonal one is… interesting. Too high definitely. I live in Denmark at the moment and this style of fencing might be used for a back fence or to separate neighbors, though a woven fence is more common. But definitely not for a front fence! Looks very asocial.

  4. That fence looks like it fell to the side and no on bothered to fix it. And do the flippers seriously think that anyone will give them good money for a house next to a power plant or whatever those towers are? If that is the fence for the front yard it feels like it must also be in a very unfriendly, dangerous neighborhood.

  5. I saw the power lines first. So, since I would never live there, I would not even see the fence.

    The thing that bothers me is the fact I could not have a ten foot fence if I wanted it. That does look a little antisocial, but maybe they are trying to cut out noise or lights from cars. That fence would not stop a burglar or murderer, just give them a place to do what they wanted in peace.

    Since I have dogs coming to attach me and chickens trying to escape the yard, I have become a fan of tall, strong fences. And, razor wire around the top is looking better everyday. But, realistically, that is one hideous front yard fence. The owner could lie dead there in the front yard in until the stench made people curious.

  6. I like it, except that it’s a front fence, which I agree should be either shorter or let people see through (like ironwork). But both the diagonal and horizontal look modern and cool to me. Not sure I would choose it, but it seems like a good look for certain houses.

  7. The horizontal fence would look better if they had offset the vertical joints.
    I really like the diagonal fence. I know it may seem anti-social, but it could also be the only way for some privacy. And if the fence is in the LA area, how long before it is covered in graffiti?

    • I’d agree that any type of big wall in front of your house is a graffiti magnet. You’d save work by having a shorter fence.

  8. The horizontal version just erupted in our neighborhood (haven’t seen diagonal yet). I wonder if it will weather as well as vertical or whether the horizontal grain (that was meant to be vertical) will warp faster. Reason this pops into my head is the odd horizontal fence cropped up to replace a really beat up, falling-apart fence, and I suspect this one is headed the same “direction” as its predecessor.

    • Joanne, I’ve been seeing quite a few of these horizontal fences breaking down after a couple of years–warping, etc. Now, this may just be because they were poorly made in the first place. All I know is that if I were to put in a wooden fence, I’d opt for the vertical arrangement.

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