What To Do About the Rock Wall?

There is a fence around the property.  It’s a gothic looking fence made of concrete and rocks and capped with red brick.  The fence was built around 20 years ago by Jim Scheirbeck , the previous owner.

Jim was passionate about rocks.  When we first looked at the house, there was evidence of this passion everywhere we looked.  In several of the rooms, glass display cases full of rocks lined the walls.  There were boxes of rocks everywhere.  There were buckets of rocks on the side of the house and under the porch.  There were crates of rocks in the yard.  There were rock saws, sanders and tumblers all over the property.  There was the largest rock tumbler I’ve ever seen in the yard.  It was large enough to tumble a yearling cow inside of it.

When Jim built the fence, he embedded his love of rocks into it.

Not only rocks, but also amazing specimens of petrified wood.

He also used busted up pieces of old sidewalk, concrete, pebbles and the occasional metal object.

It’s an amazing public display of a person’s individualism and love of something.

We’ve been thinking about this rock wall a lot.  We have been on the fence about what to do with the fence.  At times, we feel like it’s wonderful and we should preserve it.  Other times, we’ll feel like it’s a heavy, dark and brooding wall that won’t go well with what we want to create here and is a bit of an eyesore.

As to be expected with something like this, everyone has an opinion about the fence.  Some neighbors have come by and expressed their feelings about it.  Some people love it.  Some people hate it.  In one case, we spoke to a husband and wife, one of whom was encouraging us to get rid of it and the other wanted us to know about the love that went into creating it and would be sad to see it go.

Tim, our contractor, is pretty clear where he stands: get rid of it.  He wants a place to stack lumber and this shitty wall is in his way.

Jenny and I have gone back and forth about it.  It’s a big decision because the rock wall dictates the layout of things inside of it. The landscaping, garden and layout of the garage and associated driveways are all dependent on the decisions we make about this fence.

My gut feeling is that we should keep it.

I pressure washed a section of it so we could get a better look.





It is dark, heavy and prominent.  It takes focus away from the property.  But I think we can change that.  I think we can lighten up it’s mood.  I think we can open it up and make it compliment the home.

We have a few ideas.


We could replace the wood panels with wrought iron.


We could commission artists to paint the panels.

(Lino in the above example if from Erik Rewitzer, 3 Fish Studios, San Francisco)

We could get a computer operated plasma cutter and replace the panels with metal plates cut with quotes from people we admire.  Maybe I’ll start with this one from Elon Musk:


“I’d like to die on Mars, just not on impact.”