Offering up equal parts functionality and eye-catching aesthetics “coyote fencing” is an ideal complement to the home styles we love in Las Cruces. These boundary fences, constructed of thin, roughhewn logs (we know them in these parts as latillas), may just be the missing Southwestern touch your home is missing.
While these rustic fences are quite popular in northern New Mexico, especially in the Santa Fe area, they’re less common in the southern part of the state where the rock wall reigns supreme. Landscape and fence installer Andy Avilla says they only account for about 30 percent of the fences he installs and most are at rural homes out in the farmland spread out around the Mesilla Valley. He creates his coyote fences the traditional way, binding each log tightly to the next with rustic wire ties.
Theories about the origins of coyote fencing vary. One New Mexico blogger surmises that they were originally used by ranchers to keep coyotes out of barns and stables. OJ Hernandez of Hernandez Fencing has been in the industry for almost 20 years. He guesses that since these fences don’t really provide a whole lot of actual security, they were more likely created as boundary markers.
“If you think about it, back in the day, if someone wanted to mark off what land they owned, they probably didn’t have a whole lot of options to do that. So, they used what they could find. They probably collected sticks out in the desert and bound them together with whatever was available. That’s where I think they originated,” OJ explains.
While it might seem like an easy DIY project, if you want a fence that’s going to stand the test of time, get it done by a professional. To make sure it’s fully stabilized OJ says support beams and posts need to be installed, along with a horizontal “backbone” running the length of it for good measure. Another option is to bury the bottoms of the latilla posts into the ground, in which case they’ll also need some cementing to maintain good form.
Aesthetically, these fences are an ideal complement to a Southwestern or Spanish-style home. “It’s not something that you can just throw up anywhere,” OJ notes. “It needs to be somewhere where that rustic, old-world style fits in.”
That said, don’t expect them to actually keep coyotes—or any other mammal for that matter—out. For homeowners that want the look and the peace of mind, OJ recommends taking a cue from some of the restaurants in town and opting for a small strip of the fence along the front-facing exterior with something a little more secure in the less noticeable areas in the back.
The really good news? The coyote fence is a much more economical option than both the rock wall and wrought iron. For homeowners looking to round out their truly New Mexican abode, this chic Southwestern design element may just be the answer.
Where To Find It
Quality Firewood & Materials
6015 Las Alturas Blvd.
575-522-2852 | qfmnm.com
Andy Avilla | 575-571-3694
575-524-1973 | 575-680-6901