Gardens make for a delightful way to decorate the exterior of a home. However, the possibilities expand greatly when you incorporate the vertical space that a fence provides. With some strategic planning and plant choices, your fence can be transformed into a blooming work of art. Take your fence from drab to fab with these ingenious garden designs.
Fences act as blank canvases when it comes to creative gardens. Whether you want a lush, cottage-style garden or a contemporary floral display, the plants you incorporate along your fence can realize your vision. Gardens fence-side not only look lovely but also serve practical purposes like boosting privacy. You’ll enjoy enhanced curb appeal and a more welcoming outdoor area.
Choose Plants That Complement Your Fence Height and Material
When designing your dream fence garden, one of the first considerations is the height and material of your existing fence. Luckily, there are suitable plant options for fences of all shapes and sizes.
- Vines are ideal for chain link fences, using the openings to climb vertically. Some top choices include clematis, morning glories, climbing roses, honeysuckle, and grapevine.
- For wooden privacy fences, you’ll want to incorporate bushes, shrubs, and small trees. Opt for plants like hydrangeas, boxwoods, hollies, and ornamental grasses.
- Match taller plants like arborvitae or elderberry bushes with high fences. Shorter picket fences pair well with low-growing plants like petunias, thyme, and phlox.
You’ll achieve a cohesive look by ensuring your plants suit the existing infrastructure. Let the design of your fence guide the selections for your garden.
Vines to Grow on Chain Link Fences
Chain link fences are ideal for vine plants that use the diamond-shaped gaps to climb vertically. Here are some of the best options:
- Clematis: A classic flowering vine available in purple, white, and pink varieties.
- Morning glory: Cheerful blue or purple blooms on fast-growing annual vines.
- Climbing roses: These feature the elegant roses you love on trailing canes perfect for fences.
- Honeysuckle: Fragrant, trumpet-shaped blooms will perfume your garden from this vigorous vine.
- Grapevine: For a woodsy look, let grapevines climb up your chain link with edible fruit.
Be sure to also incorporate trellises against the fence to support heavier vines and promote upward growth.
Shrubs for Wooden Privacy Fences
The solid structure of wood privacy fences make an ideal backdrop for an array of shrubs. Consider these attractive options:
- Hydrangea: Showy mophead flowers in shades of blue, pink, purple, and white.
- Boxwood: A classic formal hedge shrub that can be trimmed into shapes.
- Holly: Evergreen shrubs with glossy, spiky leaves and red berries.
- Spirea: Feathery pink or white blooms on this medium-sized shrub.
- Drift roses: Low-growing roses that flower abundantly in clusters.
Space shrubs out along the fence line and stagger them for a seamless, sculpted look. Leave ample room between plants for future growth.
Use Foliage to Soften Hardscape
One benefit of incorporating plants along a fence is their power to soften hard landscaping materials. Choose varieties with billowy flowers, cascading greenery, or bold leaves to create an eye-catching garden space.
Bursts of colorful blooms along a fence add cheer and curb appeal. Options like daylilies, coneflowers, lavender, astilbe, and sage introduce vibrant hues against wood or metal. For year-round interest, evergreen shrubs and trees give structure during the winter when other plants die back. Boxwood, arborvitae, holly, and spruce work well.
Vining plants lend a natural, romantic look as they climb fences. Let vines like clematis, morning glory, grape, or passionflower vine meander along the top and sides of fences. Their trailing stems and leaves soften rigid edges.
Maximize Privacy with Strategic Plant Selections
Another great benefit of fence gardens is their ability to boost privacy. With careful plant selection and placement, you can create secluded spaces right in your own yard. Here are some tactics to maximize privacy:
- Plant tall, dense hedges using evergreen shrubs like arborvitae, boxwood, photinia, or holly.
- Space plants close together so foliage grows into a tight screen.
- Choose fast-growing trees like leyland cypress or arborvitae to fill in quickly.
- Use layers of plants, combining trees, shrubs, and perennials.
- Plant in staggered rows to eliminate gaps and holes.
Focus the densest plantings in areas you want to screen, like along a neighboring property line. Then you can relax and enjoy seclusion in your garden oasis.
Hide Imperfections with Careful Placement
We all love the idea of a photo-worthy garden. But the reality is that fences face wear and tear. Fortunately, gardens can help hide imperfections in aging or damaged fences.
For chain link fences, vines are the perfect solution to disguise unattractive metal wire. Plant fast-growing annual vines like morning glories and moonflowers to quickly cover the entire fence. Clematis and honeysuckle work for a permanent solution.
If sections of a wooden fence are broken or weather-stained, use billowing flowers to mask problem spots. Plant drifts of blooms like hydrangea and spirea in front of rough areas.
Gaps between fence posts are another common issue. Fill empty spaces with compact shrubs like boxwood, rosemary, or dwarf holly. This makes the fence appear more complete.
Embrace Vertical Gardening
Transform plain fences into vertical gardens to maximize planting space. Besides adding greenery and beauty, you can grow flowers, herbs or vegetables on the fence for easy access.
One simple vertical gardening technique is installing mounted planters that attach to fence tops or sides. You can buy ready-made hanging planters or make DIY versions from plastic buckets. Then plant with cascading flowers or trailing herbs.
For climbing plants, add trellises against the fence. The lattice or wire supports give vines a structure to cling to and promote upward growth.
Green wall systems take vertical gardening a step further. These mounted panels have integrated irrigation to support plants. Though pricier, they allow you to cover large fence sections with lush greenery.
Experiment with Colors and Textures
A garden presents the perfect opportunity to play with colors, shapes, and textures. Combine blooms and foliage for an artful, cohesive planting scheme.
Stick to a coordinated color palette for a serene look. For example, white flowers popping against green foliage evokes freshness. Bold purples and reds make for drama. Pastel pinks, blues, and lavenders are soothing.
Contrast fine, wispy textures like ornamental grasses with big, bold leaves like hostas. Add whimsy by tucking in edible plants like peppers or trailing strawberries.
Repeating plant groupings along the length of a fence ties everything together. It creates an intentionally designed garden that delights the eye.
Accent With Decor Items
Now that you’ve created a beautiful planting scheme, accessorize with garden art and decor. This provides finishing touches to take your fence garden to the next level.
Incorporate sculptures, decorative pots, sundials or birdhouses on blank fence walls and posts. Paint or stencil fun patterns onto boring backgrounds. Line walkways alongside beds with solar-powered path lights.
Install trellises, obelisks, or arbors draped in vines as striking focal points. Weatherproof outdoor curtains on sections of fencing add privacy and a softening effect.
Thoughtful decor makes the space more inviting. Keep accents simple and cohesive with the style of your garden for a polished look.
Maintain Your Fence Garden
While fabulous in full bloom, gardens do require regular care and maintenance to stay that way. Make a habit of tending to fence plantings so they remain lush and healthy.
Pruning and trimming plants keeps growth contained. For vines, train the stems along supports and prune wayward shoots. Weed around plants when they’re young so they establish well.
Check for signs of pests or diseases and quickly treat any issues that arise. Apply organic fertilizer and mulch in spring and fall. Amend soil with compost to keep plants thriving.
For gardens along permanent wood or wire fences, plan when to divide crowded perennials and shrubs. Rotate out annuals each season for fresh color.
Fence maintenance like sealing cracking wood or repairing sections goes hand-in-hand with garden upkeep. Address issues promptly to keep your space looking tip-top.
Transforming Different Fence Types
While design principles remain constant, the specifics will vary in planning gardens for different fence materials.
Wooden Picket Fences
These classic fences with their pointed posts and horizontal slats beg to be adorned with flowers. Options include:
- Planting delicate-looking plants like larkspur, foxglove, and coral bells along the base.
- Training sweet pea vines or pole beans to wind up posts.
- Tucking pots of cascading petunias or lobelia on top of the horizontal slats.
Chain Link Fences
Perfect for vertical gardens, chain link fences can disappear behind walls of green. Ideas include:
- Planting fast-growing annual vines like morning glories, moonflowers, and scarlet runner beans.
- Installing trellises for persistent vines like honeysuckle, jasmine, grapes, or wisteria.
- Weaving strips of privet or espalier fruit trees through the diamond-shaped holes.
Wood Privacy Fences
These solid fences provide the perfect backdrop for layers of plantings:
- Plant shrubs like hydrangea and viburnum a few feet out from the fence base.
- Add medium-height plants like lavender and rudbeckia behind the shrubs.
- Include tall plants like hollyhocks, sunflowers, and elderberry right against the fence.
Metal or Wire Fences
Create screening and color to counter the hard lines:
- Use evergreen vines like English ivy and Carolina jessamine to cover the metal.
- Install window boxes or hanging baskets along the fence top for pops of color.
- Plant low-growing, spreading plants like phlox, thyme, and sedum at the base.
Short Garden Fences
Perfect for informal, cottage-style plantings:
- Plant delicate vines like clematis and passionflower to climb the fence.
- Include old-fashioned roses, lavender, and hardy geraniums along the base.
- Add large foliage plants like hostas and astilbe for volume and texture.
Fence gardens present endless possibilities to express your unique style. With the right plant choices, thoughtful design, and proper care, your fence will transform into a beautiful botanical asset. Free your fence from its mundane existence and let your creativity run wild!
The vertical spaces, structure, and blank canvases fences provide are ripe for beautification. A mix of vines, shrubs, perennials, and decorative touches will bring any fence to life. Fence gardens boost aesthetics, functionality, and privacy in outdoor living areas. We hope these tips and inspirations empower you to showcase your fence in full bloom.