Long-lasting, beautiful, and compatible with most designs, yakisugi “shou sugi ban” can improve outdoor living spaces dramatically over standard materials
Fence and Screen Design:
Most residences in Japan and North America have some kind of fence for security, privacy, or to corral animals. They are a large landscaping expense, and in North America we have a culture of building them as cheaply as possible. But why allow something so prominent in your visual space to be an eyesore that must be replaced every 20 years? We recommend drawing from Japanese fence and wall design, and surround yourself with beauty.
White picket fences generally look great when made from wood, but the ubiquitous flatboard cedar and treated pine fences here are a travesty. Some modern privacy fences have improved design and thankfully this is a trend. More and more of our customers are purchasing additional material from us to build matching fences and gates clad with yakisugi after they see how beautiful it is installed on the main house. However, it is more efficient to plan in advance and match the landscape design materials to create continuity between the main structure and outdoor living spaces.
Although yakisugi originates in Japan, it can be used in almost any fence design. Square-edge and shiplap boards are available in a broad range of finishes per design aesthetic. Classic fence layouts such as basket weave, shadow box, and flat board are shown below.
Basket Weave Fence
Shadow Box Fence
Flat Board Fence
Here are a few project photos we have received back from customers in North America.
Have you heard of Japanese ko-ushi?
Ko-ushi are tastefully designed and uniquely Japanese outdoor privacy screens that enhance curb appeal by hiding mechanical fixtures, giving privacy to those inside, and being a creative outlet for the applied trades. They are almost always creatively designed, whether planned in advance by the designer or fabricated on site by a local carpenter to match the regional aesthetic. They are an applied art, creating visual play and making each house or building unique while also tying them into the overall neighborhood or regional aesthetic, often interacting with fences or other surrounding architecture. They are generally added as a remodel or spiff to hide new mechanical fixtures or shade private areas as household living patterns develop over time.
Why settle for a commodity privacy fence when you can have a beautiful wall that lasts generations?
Also popular throughout Japan are incredibly well-built privacy walls. They range from well-constructed two-sided fences to a substantial privacy walls with a narrow roof on top for longevity and to convey a sense of permanency and strength. Well built walls also function as a sound barrier in urban areas.
Traditional Japanese Yakisugi Fencing, Ko-ushi, and Privacy Wall Gallery
Any of our surfaces and prefinish options can be used for cladding fences or screens. The wood can be ripped and cut and mitered on site, same as any wood. We recommend using stainless waffle-head ring-shank or screw-shank coil or hand-drive nails 16″ on center for best long-term appearance. Since it is not possible to burn thick-dimensioned materials and get long-term result, structural components need to be steel, pressure-treated wood, or regular lumber. Red cedar oiled to match or contrast the fence color is the most popular option for exposed posts and rails. Modern aluminium posts and rails, or fabricated steel structures can have yakisugi planks dropped into the baluster slots.