If You Come Across a Purple Fence, Don’t Walk Through It Without Permission

You may have come across a purple fence or two in your travels, and oftentimes it's not just a design choice. So what does it mean?

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

Aug. 16 2021, Published 11:10 a.m. ET

There are plenty of hidden practices and "indicators" that we come across on a daily basis that hold significant meanings to those who are in the know. Putting coins on a grave is a common one; it's a very specific way folks honor the military.

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Additionally, the color orange in Ireland indicates whether or not one is a protestant Christian. James Joyce cleverly implemented this color choice in one Dubliners story, in which a particular character is noted as wearing an orange tie, thus giving further insight into his character and the type of life he leads in the city.

Depending on what color you're repping in a particular part of the world, you could also be transmitting some valuable information. Lately, purple fences have been popping up here and there, and people are wondering: What does a purple fence mean?

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What does a purple fence mean?

If you're ambling around one day and find yourself coming across a purple fence, then it's probably in your best interest not to move past said fence. That's because the color is meant to indicate a simple message: No trespassing.

Sure, someone could just staple a bunch of signs to a fence to indicate that they don't want someone on their property, however, that's not an all-encompassing solution. If the entire fence is painted purple, then that means that the individual about to trespass on the property has a fairly good chance of seeing it.

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Why was the color purple selected for "no trespassing" fences in particular?

It's important to note that some states don't really participate in this practice, like New Jersey, but there are dozens of states that absolutely abide by these rules.

NJ 101.5 writes that one of the main reasons fences are painted purple is due to the fact that nearly everybody can perceive the color.

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"Purple seems to be one of the only colors even color-blind people can distinguish, and it usually catches everyone's attention," the site reports. "Other states around the country [with purple paint laws] include Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Idaho, Arkansas, Montana, and Arizona."

"Lots of people from New Jersey vacation in North Carolina and Maine. Those are the two nearest states to have purple paint laws. This means if a property owner has marked a fence, consecutive fence posts, or trees with purple paint, you a being warned not to trespass," the outlet continues.

There are other advantages to painting fences purple over just posting signs, too.

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According to NJ 101.5, people tend to tear down signs so they can convincingly claim they didn't know about the rules while trespassing on someone's land. These "purple paint laws" make it so landowners don't constantly have to replace signs.

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It can also help to save lumber. Sometimes nailing a bunch of "no trespassing" signs to trees can impede a tree's growth or provide an opening for harmful insects to burrow deep inside and eat the tree out from within. So painting a huge purple beacon letting folks know trespassing isn't cool can also potentially help the environment.

It does sound like a lot more work than just nailing up a few signs, but what do you think? Would you rather see a bunch of purple fences? Or do you think that's a waste of precious violet hues?

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