14 Garden Fence Ideas for Pretty and Practical Fencing

By   | Last Updated :   February 24, 2021 | Filed In :   Garden Furniture Ideas

a row of tulips growing in front of a simple wooden fence

The biggest mistake you can make when it comes to garden fencing is believing that it’s only there to separate your garden from other gardens. Try being just a little bit more creative with your garden fence ideas, and you’ll find that your boundary can be so much more than a line around the edge of your property.

Your fence has an important part to play in the style and atmosphere of your garden, and controls both who can see in and what you can see out. Fencing also plays a massive support role – literally. Climbing plants, hanging baskets, pergolas and sun shades might all rely on your fence to provide a stable piece of garden scenery.

The wrong fence will be something you notice every time you step into your garden. In contrast, the right fence will be so harmonious you could forget it’s there at all. If you’re looking for ways to give your garden a facelift, find the perfect style among these garden fence ideas.

Garden Fence Ideas to Create Character

Your fence is the first thing visitors will see when they approach your front garden, and it will set the tone for the rest of your property. In your back garden, your fence is the subtle canvas that lets your plants and decor express the personality and mood of your space. If you’re wondering how a fence can have character, take a look at these next few ideas.

1. Classic picket fencing

The white picket fence is a symbol of an idyllic life. In America, it’s typically found surrounding comfortable suburban houses, and in the UK we tend to associate it with picturesque cottages and quiet villages. If you want your home to feel traditional and welcoming, a picket fence will do the trick.

Picket fences are conventionally white, but really any shade looks nice, especially if it matches your front door or contrasts against the flowers in your garden borders. They’re perfect for a rustic aesthetic, like a cottage garden, or British-themed garden.

You can make a picket fence even more charming by adding lanterns, flower boxes or playing with height.

14 Garden Fence Ideas for Pretty and Practical Fencing 1

2. Iron railings

Iron railings are mostly associated with traditional townhouses of the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras. You’ll find them in the historically wealthier areas of cities like London, Edinburgh, Bristol, Bath, Cambridge and Brighton. They’re elegant, secure and a little bit intimidating!

Iron railings can be made in two ways: using wrought iron or cast iron. The main difference is that wrought iron is manually hammered into unique shapes, while cast iron is shaped using moulds. Wrought iron is stronger, but cast iron is more uniform (and generally cheaper).

If you would like your home to look sophisticated and traditional (and, yes, a bit imposing), a set of iron railings might be up your street. I actually found some nice information about the differences in iron railings through different periods, if you want to find some to match the dates of your home.

a black, iron fence with a silver Fleur-de-lis at the top of each bar

3. Rope fences

Certain garden aesthetics look better without fences at all, but you might still need something to show the edge of your garden or flower beds. Lashing a length of rope across a series of posts is a simple but effective way of marking out an area. This low-key style of fencing is particularly effective in breezy, beach-style gardens or decorative Japanese-inspired landscaping.

a garden water feature behind a decorative rope fence

4. Modern, slatted fences

Contemporary homes tend to look their best with minimalist fences. Crisp, fuss-free panels made from uniform shapes and colours create a sleek, fresh backdrop for all kinds of pared-back garden styles.

The direction of your fence material can create an illusion in your garden, so choose wisely. For example, the continuous horizontal slats of this fence encourage the eye all the way down to the bottom of the garden, making a weeny space appear longer.

In this garden, the effect is supported by the lines in the table and seating, and also by leaving the middle of the garden unobstructed. The slender table legs, low gravel bed and minimalist trees all help the space feel open, but not empty.

Ideas to Cover up an Ugly Fence

Feeling “meh” about a bland fence that would be too expensive to replace? Here are a few garden fencing ideas that will save you some time and money.

5. Train climbing plants

You can literally add some life to a dull fence by training climbing plants to grow across it. Bonus points for flowering varieties and a gold star for blooms with fragrance. Jasmine and honeysuckle are my favourites.

This patio is a stunning example of obscuring a fence with foliage. Climbers can easily attach to a fence that’s slatted or made from mesh, while raised planters with tall flowers cover the lower half.

6. Add hanging baskets

Hanging baskets are one of my favourite ways to spruce up a space you don’t want to permanently alter too much (like a rental garden). Check out our hanging basket tips to get started, as well as our edible hanging baskets post. If you’re nervous about your fence supporting the weight of a hanging basket, try using those plant pots with holders instead, or make a hanging planter box.

You Might Also Like: How To Grow Annuals In A Hanging Basket

7. Cover it with a green wall

Green walls, also known as living garden walls or vertical gardens, are much more interesting to look at than a plain old fence. Use natural climbers, specially-planted succulents or even just artificial coverings to achieve the effect you like best.

8. Give it a coat of colour

It’s incredible how much difference colour can make. Crisp white will make everything seem cleaner and brighter; moody greys and black are super trendy and edgy. Pastel shades are fresh with a hint of fun, while bright jewel tones will make a big statement that livens up an otherwise ordinary space.

9. Whip out a paintbrush for a mural

Do you prefer a more eclectic, artsy or bohemian vibe? Garden murals aren’t for everyone, but they’ll certainly make your space more vibrant and interesting in a unique way. We did say your fence is a canvas, after all!

A quick search of the phrase “fence mural” brings up some incredible floral artwork (which makes sense in a garden, of course), but look up geometric and minimalist ideas too. An alternative is to paint your fence with chalkboard paint or pale matte colour and let your kids go to town with chalk paints that can wash away.

10. Light it up

Lighting is an essential part of garden design, and can make an otherwise boring fence seem more exciting. Try using directional lights, or strings of patterned or coloured fairy lights to cast more interesting shadows across a plain surface. Check out our full list of garden lighting ideas.

Practical Garden Fencing Ideas

Do you need a practical fence to keep your home secure? Are you looking for a fence that can provide a bit of privacy from your neighbours, or shelter from the elements? These examples of practical garden fencing ideas should help you out.

11. Garden fences for security

The best garden fences for security will be tall, difficult to climb and, ideally, solid. Look for vertically-directional styles that make it difficult to get a foothold, and designs that would be uncomfortable for someone to pull themselves over the top.

Solid fences not only stop opportunists from seeing your possessions from the street, but make it harder for them to assess how they could get in and out of your home. Of course, make sure your gate is equally secure.

12. Privacy fences

One of my favourite things to do in summer is to grab a book and head outside for some escapism. Nothing brings me crashing back to reality faster than a noisy neighbour suddenly appearing or – even worse – someone emerging from my own home having spotted me from a window.

The perfect solution to this is installing a couple of decorative fencing panels that you can simply hide behind. I like the pallet fencing on this decked area – the two heights mean it’s not completely anti-social, and the flowers are both decorative and noise-insulating.

You can create a similar effect by adding an extension to the top of your existing wall or fence. This can be a great way to keep the character of an older brick or stone wall, but give it a modern facelift that still lets some light through.

I also like green curtains for balconies. That’s where you use a trellis or twine to encourage plants to grow floor to ceiling, creating a delicate floral partition between you and whatever is on the other side.

13. Wind-break fencing

A bracing breeze is a wonderful thing. Trying to have a conversation, hang washing or tend to delicate plants in a garden that’s overly exposed to the wind or rain? Less so. Screens and windbreaks can create a more sheltered area to enjoy the things you love.

It might seem counter-intuitive, but a solid wall or fence isn’t the answer to reducing wind. At best, they’ll simply angle the gusts towards something else in your garden. At worst, they’ll be blown over in high winds and potentially cause serious damage (my mum’s garden wall came down in the winter storms last year… and the bricks hit her car).

Instead, choose a slightly open-weave fence that will shield you from the worst of the weather and greatly reduce the amount of air blowing through.

14. All-natural hedge borders

Hedges offer an environmentally-friendly way to get more greenery AND more privacy in your outdoor space. You get some gorgeous green walls, and your local wildlife will appreciate a new place to forage and shelter. Popular hedge plants include: blackthorn, bramble, hawthorn, holly, honeysuckle, ivy, rose. Take a look at these fast-growing hedges for more ideas.

the front of a house with a neat hedge along the boundary

Birds can nest among the branches, hedgehogs can tunnel through the stems and all kinds of beneficial bugs will make a home in the undergrowth. Plus, flowering hedges and shrubs encourage essential pollinators like bees and butterflies.

And, before you balk at the thought of constant hedge maintenance, it’s worth remembering that most creatures will thank you for letting your plants get a little bit overgrown. Put away the secateurs until the end of winter and you’ll find that lots of varieties actually produce more flowers, and will offer better coverage for birds and bugs to take cover.

a bench painted in a bright shade of fuschia sits on a patio in front of a hedge


In most cases, your garden fence isn’t going to be the centre of attention in your garden, but don’t underestimate the size of the supporting role it plays. Try any of these garden fence ideas and you’ll see just how much of an impact it can have. If you’re planning a complete garden overhaul, why not take a look at these patio ideas too, or think about adding a fire pit or garden swing chair?


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By Kirsteen Mackay

Kirsteen is a professional writer who traded a tiny garden for an even smaller balcony when she moved to Brighton in 2015. Her interest in gardening stems from a keen desire to turn her simple slab of concrete into a lush urban oasis, complete with cosy-but-practical garden furniture and delicious edible plants.

View All Posts By Kirsteen Mackay »

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