Garden fences and other boundaries are essential for providing shelter and privacy in a garden, but as one of the largest single elements in a plot, they can set the tone of the whole space, so don’t let their functionality prevent them from being an element of beauty.
With care, it’s possible to turn fences from faded to fabulous, walls from worn out to wonderful and hedges from ailing to amazing. All it takes is a bit of know-how and some time.
Bear in mind that all garden boundaries will require some form of maintenance so it’s vital to allow access to do this. Walls, of course, require the least input, while timber fences require treating every few years and hedges clipping at least once a year.
More on fences and other boundaries
Grow climbers up your fence
Fences and walls can easily be upgraded by adding climbing plants, such as roses, clematis, jasmine and honeysuckle. Simply fix wires or trellis to the fence, which climbing plants can use for support, and which you can tie stems into as they grow. Choose fast-growing climbers like Clematis montana, rambling roses and honeysuckle. Annual climbers like morning glory and sweet peas can be grown to fill gaps while the perennials grow. If you don’t want to fix wires or trellis to your fence, choose self-clinging climbers such as ivy and climbing hydrangea.
Paint your fence
Fences can look quite bedraggled if they’ve not been maintained in a while, but upgrades are fast and inexpensive. A lick of paint or stain visually revives a fence in a flash. Pale hues make a space feel larger, while bright colours add excitement. But if you want your fence to disappear, go dark. This might be in the form of an emerald evergreen, such as yew, or a dark paint that blends into the shadows.
Plant a hedge in front of your fence
This is a long-term option, but a thin hedge planted in front of your fence will add depth to your boundary, offering additional protection from noise and wind, while looking more pleasing and providing a valuable habitat for wildlife, too. Bear in mind that, once established, you’ll need to trim your hedge at least once a year.
Add hanging planters to your fence
Adding hanging pots or other planters from your fence can be an inexpensive way of hiding it. This is a particularly useful option if you want to cover a fence in a rented home, or while you wait for slow-growing climbers to get going. For an even cheaper fence facelift, you can upcycle old containers or use guttering to grow shallow-rooted plants like salad leaves.
Plant a border
A well-planted border, comprising small trees and shrubs, tall herbaceous plants and low-growing perennials, will create depth and interest in your garden, taking the focus of attention away from your fence. Choose plants of different heights, that flower at different times of year, and throw in a few evergreens, too, for winter interest. Over time, you won’t be able to see your fence at all.