The Cross House

Wanna Meet My Cat Fence?

A year ago I did a post about creating outdoor “rooms”.

Because the yard of the Cross House is minuscule, and because the house abuts a four-lane highway, creating a series of enclosed “rooms” is a really good way of mitigating both these issues.

I learned long ago that if one can see an entire yard at a glance, it will seem smaller than if one can only see bits at a time. Thus, by creating enclosed “rooms” one can walk from room to room to room and develop the sense that the yard is large.

Creating enclosed rooms will also help mitigate the noise from the highway, something I plan to further offset with a large waterfall.

While creating rooms will make the yard seem much larger than it is, and will mitigate sound, it will also, vitally, keep my cats safe inside the rooms.


The plan.


  • East Room. Currently a dusty parking lot.
  • Corner Room. Currently a dusty parking lot.
  • North Room. Currently a patch of lawn. Next to Highway 50.
  • Zig-Zag Room.
  • Fence around AC condensers.
  • Fence around garden equipment.

In 2017, at vast expense, I had eight-foot-high 6×6 posts installed to create rooms #4, #5, and #6. This year, I wrapped brown tarp around #5 to hide the AC condensers (people steal AC condensers).

And this is how things have sat.

The idea is that I would have more posts installed but there just hasn’t been the money.


Since buying the house in 2014, I have all along envisioned the fencing material as some sort of translucent plastic (cats cannot climb plastic). I had planned to place the plastic panels on both the inner and outer faces of the fencing post, and then install strips of LED lights inside the void so that the whole fence would gently glow at night.

I love loved loved this idea.

Note the past tense?

Because…I have been forced to abandon this idea.

After a two-year search, I finally found the perfect translucent plastic, which was a color which really complemented the house.

Then it developed that I would have to drive to California to get it.


So the search began again. And at this point I basically give up. Which is really unlike me. But knocking my head against a brick wall does sometimes make me wonder about being too stubborn.


Another issue was financial. All my available funds are earmarked for the massive south facade restoration, which is part of the 2017 Heritage Trust Grant work. Fencing, thus, is not critical even though the lack of a cat fence is now the only reason stopping me from moving in.

During the last few weeks however, cats across the land have been sending in money for the cat fence which I estimate at $8,000. About 30% has so far come in! Zounds! (I will be doing another update in a few days.)

With these miracle funds on hand, I am ready to place an order for some of the fencing material!!!!!!!!

And I have decided to do what I can do. I can easily order solid metal panels, the type normally used for roofing and to build all-metal buildings commonly seen on farms.


To my surprise, I like charcoal. It will complement the black sashes.


Desert is nice, too, but I think charcoal will be more dashing. And who doesn’t love a dashing fence?


The metal panels are ribbed, and I will install them horizontally so that they pick up the horizontal siding of the siding on the house.

NOTE: I cannot do a wood fence. Cats can climb wood. And nor am I interested in an elaborate iron fence of a type which might have been installed in 1894; I cannot possibly afford this, it will do nothing to mitigate the sound from the highway, and it will offer zero privacy. Nor can I possibly afford a stone fence (which cats could climb).

There are enough miracle funds now on hand to order metal panels for the two small rooms, #5 and #6, #4, and for a portion of room #1. With #1 eventually finished, I could move into the Cross House with kitties in tow, and could later build room #2. I have decided to forgo fencing room #3 with metal and will instead plant an evergreen hedge. But, obviously, the cats will never be allowed in this room.

The finished fencing will be quite crisp looking, and I also expect it to look…mysterious. The fence height is 8-feet, which is two-feet higher than normally allowed but the city gave me special dispensation. The color, too, is unusual. And I have never seen anybody create a fence out of solid metal panels. I expect the finished fencing to have a Richard Serra quality.

The entire Cross House is currently highly visible to anybody driving or walking past. This though offers the owner zero privacy. Being anywhere in the yard is like being on stage. With the fences in the rear yard however, the lower part of the house will become invisible to the public. But, the house is so large that more than enough of the Cross House will still be on display.



If your kitties would like to help Fence the Cats, their paws can click on the Go Fund Me button just above the comments, or they can mail a check to:

Fence the Cats!
POB 454
Strong City, KS 66869

(The check should be made out to Ross)


25 Responses to Wanna Meet My Cat Fence?

  1. Awesome that you have found a solution to moving forwards – and are another step closer to moving in! Metal fencing is quite typical in Australia – if you google search “colorbond fencing” you should get lots of images of different forms of the type of fence you are describing. Thank you for sharing your journey in this way, I always look forward to your updates. Desiree.

  2. Hi Ross Charcoal would be my vote!Are you planning to put the metal on the outside,than cladding the post?may I suggest to put interlocking bricks underneath level withe soil this makes for less trimming and the cats can’t dig underneath .

  3. I looked at some of those colorbonded fences in Aus and wondered if a 2 tone fence, charcoal and desert for example, would be effective! Just a thought…some of those fences looked much more stylish than I expected!

  4. As promised Ross I am sending money tomorrow (finally)! I hate once a month pay days but it’s better than no pay days! Not sure if I can send money in December, Christmas for my grandchildren has to come first but can in January. I’m hoping you will be able to move in by January. What about the fish? I like the charcoal too but would that draw in to much heat?

  5. Neat! This is an excellent solution to your fencing dilemma.

    Charcoal would be a color choice, as it will clearly distinguish your enclosures from the house by not being matchy-matchy, and it shouldn’t obscure the texture of the panels. (It’s a bit of a shame that they don’t offer your porch-ceiling color, but oh well.) If you still intend to put up a double-sided fence, then I would suggest that you clad the interior sides of the enclosures (any side not seen from the street) in white or a light color to keep the enclosures, and the metal itself, from getting any hotter than necessary. What is the color to the left of “Light Stone”? This would help to protect the cats from hot metal, make rooms 1 and 2 easier to surveil in dim light, and make it easier to see to work on the condensers and to find things in the garden equipment room.

  6. The fence is great, but I’m worried that the hedge will cover up too much of the house. That north face is just too beautiful!

  7. California readers of ‘Restoring Ross’, are any of you willing to help drive Ross’s number one choice to Kansas? (We don’t know if we don’t ask!)

  8. I rather like desert. It’s more organic and subtle and I worry that the darker charcoal would keep in the heat. This was an issue when we painted our pool fence black.

  9. You have created and awesome snowball effect in you community!

    Sending a donation for kitties and koi. The fish are coming too, yes? Not sure if they are koi or goldfish. I have always wanted a koi pond.

    What about some open lattice at the very top for ‘air”? I saw that when I googled Colorbond. They seem to make that. You know I am an art director and can’t help myself!

    • Hi, Karen!

      Yes, the fish are coming to the Cross House! I need to build a pond for them, add a pump, filter, and create a waterfall feature to aerate the water.

      But….at the moment all my focus is on the fence.

      • Hi Ross! I was quite sure the fish would be coming. I look forward to hearing about the pond when you are at that stage. Waterfall! Yes!

        Totally understand about the lattice. Gotta keep those kitties safe, and I understand your design decision to go with the contemporary (and mysterious) contrast of the fence in relation to Cross House.

        So happy for you that this is happening and you will be able to move in soon!

  10. Well this is exciting! That being a pretty massive under-statement, lol.

    I can’t actually express how happy I am that an affordable means to get you into the house NOW (well, soon-ish) is now a reality. ​😍 Thank you Mary Carol, and Tinker! for getting this going. ​❤️ ​​

    Charcoal to pick out the sash colour is definitely an excellent choice, I think, it will have the same kind of effect as colour #5 did on the house. I don’t see you be swayed by desert, it’s too MEH, and Ross doesn’t do MEH, the drama of the dark fence is what the house demands.

    Will there be room for eventual planting outside of the fences? Bold greenery would look AMAZING against the foil of a dark fence. This fence may just be an interim thing – a means to an end – but it feels right. Because once you’re ensconced in the house… that’s going to be a real watershed moment and there’ll be no stopping you, we’ve not forgotten about the books you’re going to publish you know. ​😉 ​

  11. Yes! All of my farm buildings are clad in this stuff and my house sports the charcoal version as roof! it should be very effective in terms of kitty security! Underside of this material is typically white.

  12. Hello Ross!
    I have been working my way through your blog and am greatly impressed. To follow the tradition set so far, I will save my long comment for when I catch up to your current posts.
    This post is to provide you with two potential sources of the corrugated fencing.
    It is probably too late at this point to switch fencing, but maybe one or both links can help you achieve your glowing fence in the future!
    (Found your blog through JMG where I lurk currently.)
    Keep up the awesome work!!!

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