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I've got 2 little children who are now getting to the age where they can play in the garden.  We have a lovely large green area (it's going to be life times work to get it where we want it), but the problem is that the round the sides of the wall is a 20 ft drop!  There is a stone wall all the way round the garden which is about 3ft tall, and as you can see in the photos all blends nicely with the house.  The 20 ft drop leads to a river on one side, and a waterwheel on the other.  Both a real hazzard for the kids!

So, I wonder if you have any ideas on how to increase the safety.  A local firm came out and have suggested putting a fence all the way round.  While that probably is the safest option, i'm loathed to hide the lovely wall which is a feature of the garden i think.  In addition, i will cut beds out all the way along and plant some suitably jaggy plants!

Have you any ideas on how i can keep the babies safe, but also keep the lovely wall?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts


Well Natalie 4 , you seem to have a beautiful site ( though I can't see any pictures).

If you are putting in unfriendly plants that sounds like the most obvious answer if you don't want a fence. Short of putting the kids on leads tied to a stake in the middle of the plot I don't know what to suggest. 

Could you not just think of the fence as a temporary safeguard that can be removed when they are older?


Unfortunately with no picture I can't tell what kind of wall it is.  Instead of fence could you put trellis up on top of the wall?

Whoa! I see your problem! Definitely leads tied to a stake!


sorry i realise the picture did add first time around.  Yes waterbutts i could just do the fence temporarily, but the amount of fence required is going to make this an expensive job, so its another reason to try and think of something except fence.  it's a tricky one!


oops, posted just before me... sneaky...

Wow, that's a big drop!  Not sure if it would be just the kids that need protection.

You could put trellis up along the wall with the wheel.  Potentially you could cap the other wall with flagstones and put trellis along there too.  


Ah cost! And of course prickly plants will take time so much time to grow that your kids will be teenagers before they are doing their job properly.

Need a fence cost a fortune? Ask around at farmers' suppliers for wire mesh stretched on poles. You could grow climbers up them.


Certainly a problem natalie! A fence really is the best solution as waterbutts says, and could be removed at a later date, and you could mount it on top of the wall as FG said too, although if it has to go one stone topped part as well that would be difficult. What about putting a more informal, simple  fence using mesh? It would allow you to still see the wall just now but would provide a physical barrier for safety,and as you intend planting in front of it, it would disappear quite quickly as they establish. You can remove it more easily  than a solid fence as time goes on.

The wall will disappear too of course if you plant in front of it! 


As a long term I would look at putting a short iron railing fence on top of the wall.  I think it would be in keeping with the character.

Something for them to tie ropes to and abseil down when they are older a la St Trinians.


Personally if I'd lived somewhere like that when the kids were younger I would've shipped them out and enjoyed those views and not worried about a fence


How about digging a trench inside the wall? Labour intensive but relatively cheap, it would keep the wall and make it higher.


A trench would fill with water and then we'd have a whole new problem on our hands...


We were posting at same time there wb!

I don't think there is a cheap way of doing it natalie unless you can do it yourselves. I'd offer my services but I'm up to my eyes with my own fence!

Is it mainly the water wheel bit that's an issue? The rest of the wall just look like it leads on to 'normal' height land. Could you just  fence a small area for the children?


..not if there were drainage holes drill through the wall..

I was thinking about one that was wide enough for a path.  


Be me to it Fg I was going to suggest a "pen"

I was born and lived most of my younger years on a farm mother and father pointed out all the places we had not to go or play on from a very young age and none of us our anyone elses kids that vistited had any nasty accidents. The farm had a main road right outside and across the road a large wood area plus all the dangers of a farm father would walk around the farm and show us the dangers we had all the freedom except those places it worked.