How to hide an ugly garden wall - 5 expert-approved ideas for a boundary wall or outbuilding

Turn the eyesore into an eye-catching feature

Blue painted rendered garden wall with climbing plants, ferns and hydrangea in front of it
(Image credit: Future PLC/Jamie Mason)

Whether it acts as the boundary of your property or it’s the side wall of a garage or outbuilding, a garden wall is often a practical and necessary addition to your outside space. But most of the time, they’re also an eyesore, which is why knowing how to hide an ugly garden wall can work in your favour. 

Although you can spend time and money on your landscaping ideas, it’s often impossible to remove an ugly garden wall from your property. Of course, you could replace a boundary line with a garden fence or another privacy screening idea, but this can be extremely expensive. It’s much cheaper to hide the wall, instead. 

To help you hide an ugly garden wall, we’ve consulted with garden experts to see what they had to say. And with their expertise, we’ve been able to compile 5 cheap and affordable ideas that’ll cover up this eyesore in no time. 

How to hide an ugly garden wall 

While there are many ways to hide an ugly garden wall, you first need to make sure that this is the correct (and legal) option for you. For starters, you need to be 100% sure that the wall belongs to you. If you plan to make any changes to the height or size of the wall, you also need to make sure that this won’t cause any problems with your local council.

1. Re-paint or re-render it

Corner of a garden with white rendered walls and a black wicker-style dining set

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Sometimes, the best solution is often the easiest option, and there’s nothing easier than painting a garden wall. By doing this, you can turn what was once an ugly and boring garden wall into an eye-catching feature. Plus, you can tailor it to your own tastes. 

Emma Cottrell, marketing manager at BoConcept says, ‘Use paint to give the wall a more aesthetic colour. When choosing your paint, use your samples on the walls you intend to paint and observe the colours in day and evening lighting.’

‘If you’re not sure where to start, safe colours include white, grey and brown. However, don’t be constrained by safe tones - if you prefer a bold colour, go for it! Choose colours you genuinely love and stay true to your personal taste for an interior that will stand the test of time.’

If your garden wall is in particularly bad shape and is full of cracks and imperfections, however, paint alone might not cut it. In this instance, it might be worth going one step further and rendering or re-rendering the wall.

Similar to rendering a house, rendering a garden wall will neutralise the whole surface and allow you to add your desired finish - whether that be completely smooth or textured and aged. And while you can buy coloured renders, a freshly rendered garden wall can also be painted afterwards. 

Our guide on how to render a garden wall also has all of the steps you need to do this yourself. 

2. Plant underneath it

Blue painted rendered garden wall with climbing plants, ferns and hydrangea in front of it

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Planting underneath an ugly garden wall is a win-win situation. On the one hand, you’re adding more flowers, herbs, and edibles to your outdoor space. At the same time, the plants will hide the garden wall from view.

In fact, you could create your very own garden border or raised beds underneath the wall, filling it to the brim with taller plants that will continuously grow larger and larger as the years go by. There are also many fast-growing climbing plants out there that you can train to climb up the wall. 

Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench, explains, ‘There are many ways to hide an ugly garden wall. Climbing plants are a really good option, with plants such as climbing clematis, climbing honeysuckle, climbing roses, and climbing jasmine, which are all great choices. You could also opt for trailing plants such as ivy, although with ivy, you always have to keep on top of it to prevent it from growing out of control.’

‘I recommend setting up a trellis for climbing plants, although some can grow directly against the wall. Any climbing plant is a good place to start, and don't be afraid to buy young plants instead of seeds. Bamboo is a great option too and is relatively fast-growing, so covers a wall quite quickly.'

If you don’t want to plant directly into the ground, you could also add a container garden next to the wall. This is especially effective if you have an older wall, as you won’t affect the integrity of the wall but can still strategically place the plants to hide unsightly areas.

3. Buy garden screens or cladding

Corner of a garden with walls and cladding in front of a round bistro set

(Image credit: Future PLC/Alisdair Macintosh)

If you really hate the sight of your garden wall and wish it wasn’t there at all, covering it up completely is probably more appealing. 

Andy McLaughlin, Paving Specialist at RF Paving, explains, ‘Often, some sort of covering will be needed to mask the wall. This can range from a simple lick of paint up to a total rebuild with a different material, but the most cost-effective way of achieving the desired look is to use some sort of wall cladding.’

‘There are numerous products that can be used to clad a garden wall, and which is used is generally dependant on the materials being used within other parts of the garden, budget, and the existing surface of the wall that is being clad.’

There are so many different types of cladding out there, from wooden trellis that look like fencing to stone slips that will turn an ugly wall into a modern feature. If you have a larger wall and a smaller budget, you could even opt for small garden screens that will avert the eye from the eyesore bricks underneath. 

Richard King at Dino Decking is particularly fond of composite cladding. He says, ‘This can be applied to the ugly wall, fundamentally altering its appearance. This innovative material presents a contemporary and polished solution for concealing unattractive surfaces.'

'With a diverse range of colours, textures, and finishes, composite cladding provides the flexibility to select an option that harmonises with your outdoor design vision. The sleek lines and modern aesthetic of composite cladding also have the transformative potential to rejuvenate your ugly walls, adding freshness and refinement.’

4. Cover with natural screens

Living garden wall with climbing plants and ferns

(Image credit: Future PLC/Annaick Guitteny)

Similar to those looking to hide an ugly fence, those who are looking to hide an ugly garden wall can also take advantage of natural screens. These do the same job as cladding and composite garden screens but also have the added bonus of bringing wildlife into the garden and adding a more natural touch to your space. 

If you choose to cover your fence with natural screens like the best privacy trees, you have two options: you could leave them to grow wild, or you could opt for more structured options. 

For example, Italian cypress trees would easily hide an ugly garden wall but are likely to grow wild and out-of-shape. Because of this, they’ll require regular pruning. 

On the other hand, pleached trees are trained on a supportive frame and will grow where you want them to grow. This makes them much easier to maintain, but we do understand that these options are still fairly high-maintenance. 

James Scott from The Home and Office Stores says, ‘If maintenance is a concern, artificial green walls provide a lush look without the upkeep. They come in various styles and can be a practical solution for challenging conditions.’

5. Decorate it

Grey garden wall with vintage step ladder in front dressed with plants and accessories

(Image credit: Future PLC/GJ WATKINS)

If the above options don’t float your boat, why don’t you decorate your ugly garden wall instead? By doing this, you can make it less ugly while also adding more visual appeal to your garden as a whole. 

Emma says, ‘Distract using accessories. This can be done by adding an outdoor rug or simply adding a few throw cushions. Hanging some curtains can cover the wall and diffuse harsh sunlight, creating the ultimate comforting vibe.’

‘You can also add more artistic and interesting things to cover your wall whilst giving it a contemporary feel. Think outdoor mirrors, clocks and hanging artwork.’

This is echoed by Danielle Le Vaillant, Head of Photography & Film at Cox & Cox, who says, ‘It's tempting to disguise an ugly wall with paint, but this can have the reverse effect and make imperfections even more prominent.’

‘Instead, draw the gaze forward with a decorative piece, just as you would a striking piece of art indoors. A large clock like this outdoor clock from Cox and Cox or wall compass makes a perfect addition to a garden wall, being both practical and aesthetically appealing, and offering a nod to classical landscaping where a sundial would often have featured as a focal point.’

Of course, you can never go wrong with some fairy lights, either. 


How do you hide an unsightly outdoor wall?

Ultimately, this depends on the state of the wall, your budget, and your own personal taste. The easiest options are to paint or decorate a garden wall, as this will be the least invasive and often the cheapest. 

But if you’re looking for an option that will provide more coverage, opting for cladding or garden screening will suit you better. This is often more expensive, but it can cover the whole garden wall if that’s what you’re after. 

If you want to add more greenery to your space, hiding an unsightly outdoor wall with plants is also an option. You can create a garden border or container garden to hide the bottom section of the wall and choose plants and trees that will ultimately grow to cover the whole wall. 

What is the cheapest way to cover garden walls?

The cheapest way to cover a garden wall is to paint it. Simply painting an old and ugly wall can make a huge difference, but it’s important to note that it might not give you the results you’re after. 

If the garden wall is ugly or old, you may need to render it or choose an alternative screening option. Alternatively, you could work with what you’ve got and simply hide it with your garden furniture. 

Caron Grant, Brand Manager at Bridgman, says, ‘Well-placed furniture is the perfect way to hide an unattractive wall. By opting for a large modular rattan set, you can help obscure the wall whilst creating a comfortable and attractive seating area for hosting guests.’

How will you be hiding your ugly garden wall?

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.