Walls are commonly thought of as (1) separations between other rooms and (2) background settings for furnishings. However, exterior walls can be incorporated to serve other uses. Figure 11-90 illustrates nine different heights and uses.
When designing walls or fences for outdoors, it is strongly suggested that the designer incorporate them in a variety of heights to provide heights similar to those used each day indoors. This will make walls more usable, and thus more appreciated.
Transparency and Degree of Privacy
Walls and fences, regardless of height, can also be designed to provide varying degrees of openness. By allowing vertical planes to have openings in them, walls and fences provide opportunities for viewing beyond, as well as for adding character to the space. Windows are very important parts of interior walls and should also be so for outside walls.
A solid fence is best for cases where complete privacy is needed (top of Figure 11-91). It is recommended that changing patterns be explored to create special
places along the fence to serve as focal areas to display a special plant or sculpture. The center of Figure 11—91 shows a privacy wall with some open pattern in it. This area, because of its design, provides an accent area where vines can grow, as well as a place to have a partial view into the distance.
The bottom portion of Figure 11—91 shows a wall with varied heights and patterned openings. These small open areas can provide places for small pots or outdoor knickknacks.
The degree of transparency will vary depending on how much open area is planned for the wall or fence. Some localities, like those adjacent to large bodies of water, may specify the minimum amount of openings for fences or walls. Some codes require at least 50 percent openness in a vertical screen to allow breezes to travel throughout the neighborhood. Figure 11—92 illustrates several examples of varying percentages of openness in fences that are constructed of 2 X 2 wood. The smaller the open pattern, the lower the percentage of openness in the fence.