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Carmel-by-the Sea’s architectural  richness is due in part to it’s unique fences and walls. I am not sure how this keen desire for privacy developed. It many just be that the 20 by 40″ lots are so small that you and your neighbor can carry on a conversation from your kitchen windows. So fences around wonderful front gardens soften the contact to a peek through the rose bushes or over the ivy.  We routinely chat with our next door neighbors from our front porch while they sit in their front yard.

Fences and gates are constructed out of wooden stakes ( most common)

wrought iron

or masonry made of mortared granite, shale, and sandstone

or inventive combinations of any of the above.


Although fence heights are typically limited to 4 feet, Carmelites seeking more privacy often encourage climbing vines to add more height.  We grow ivy, potato vine, passion flower and taller shrubs to allow us privacy. Our house is on a corner lot and our patio is well screened from view by plantings.

I love the front garden gates that allow me a peek of my neighbors homes.

As I walk the streets with my camera, I photograph over the gate. Interested home owners often come out to see what I am up to and will share a story or two about their home.

I have started a correspondence with the owner of this  home down the street from us. The author , Debbie Macomber, saw my photo of the home and contacted me about using it for a cover of one of her novels. As it turned out, it was not to be- but look at the cover of “Hannah’s List” and see if you see the resemblance to this gate.

Many residents put  welcoming details on the gate

There is also a tradition of hanging bells on the gate. The original “door bells” of Carmel.

In Carmel it is oh so true that “the fence that makes good neighbors… needs a gate to make good friends.”


Leave a Comment
  1. Jo-Ann Fantino Ruffolo / Sep 19 2012 5:05 pm

    Hi Linda,

    I want to send a friend the archived piece that Roberta Montgomery did on Carmel, The Village, but I can’t seem to get into the archives. How might I do that?


  2. Lady Locust / Aug 6 2018 11:11 pm

    Hi Linda,
    I just want to say “Thank you” for sharing your beautiful pictures with us. I have been having ‘coastal cravings’ and no visit in the near future. I’ve stayed in Monterey a number of times but have only visited Carmel. Your photos let me enjoy the perfect Mediterranean climate and flora from afar. The virtual reprieve is much appreciated. I hope you are enjoying summer and spending some quality time with your camera.
    Have a splendid day~

    • Linda Hartong / Aug 7 2018 3:18 pm

      Thanks so much for you kind comments. We are looking forward to going out next week and escaping the hot Kansas weather. It has been in the 60’s there and 50’s at night. Another reason to LOVE Carmel

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