Garden fence ideas – 28 ways to ensure beautiful boundaries

Whether adding for privacy, structure or just to add interest, we've got plenty of garden fence ideas to inspire
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  • It might not be the first thing you think of when giving your garden a refresh, but garden fence ideas can go a long way to giving yours a brand, new look. Whether its just a lick of paint, or if you’re planning on swapping out your old fence entirely, we got lots of ideas to get you started.

    Knowing what your options are will help make the process easier, and depending on your garden landscaping  will indicate whether you need to start a fresh, or just give your current fencing a facelift.

    Garden fence ideas

    The best garden fence ideas can bring structure, texture, definition and joy to your outdoor space. After a long winter, it’s lovely to be able to get out into the garden again. But if you’re to enjoy the space at its very best, some work will be involved, whether it’s replacing or maintaining a garden fence, weeding and mowing, or redesigning some key features to give your garden a whole new look.

    The garden fence is one element of a garden that’s often overlooked and relegated to the realms of the practical. A fence’s main function might be to separate one garden from another, providing a handy boundary that we all respect, but we shouldn’t underestimate its importance. The type of fence you have can really affect the look of your garden.

    1. Turn things on their head

    Black painted wall trellis on outside of shed with plants and tools hung from it

    Image credit: Future Plc/Joanna Henderson

    Think outside the box when it comes to your fencing and get creative. You don’t have to use fence panels in the orientation they were necessarily intended, especially if it doesn’t suit your space. Here, fence panels with vertical panels have been turned on their sides and joined together to create fencing that works better for the space. It also allows the home owner to hang potted plants and gardening tools from the horizontal slats, creating storage space too.

    2. Break it up with bamboo

    Garden with bamboo screen behind colourful planters filled with flowers

    Image credit: Future Plc/David Giles

    Garden fences are not only used along the boundaries of your space, but can also be used to zone different areas within your plot too. Bamboo screens are great for this as they are lightweight so you can install them yourself, plus have a malleable quality to them, making them great for all spaces. They can also be cut to the size you need, and any off-cuts make lovely flower bed borders.

    3. Take it back to black

    Wooden fence painted black with fairy lights along top

    Image credit: Future Plc/Colin Poole

    Black might seem like a bold choice for garden fencing, but by painting yours in this shade, will actually make the greenery around it seem greener! Fresh green shades up against the black of your fence will make them stand out even more and gives a contemporary look thats easy to achieve. Finish the look by hanging a string of fairy lights along the top, which at night will create a cosy glow against your fencing.

    4. Encourage ivy to grow in abundance

    Brick and garden fence wall covered in ivy in courtyard

    Image credit: Future Plc/Colin Poole

    If it’s not an option to replace your fencing, perhaps you can try and disguise it a little instead. Creepers and climbing plants like ivy, will happily grow up and over walls, fences, panelling and more, so while it’s fine to plant it up where you want this to happen, be aware that ivy can spread quite quickly and cause some damage to walls over a long period of time. That might sound a bit scary, so while with maintenance ivy is easy to grow and live with, you could always opt for some panels of faux greenery to disguise ugly fencing instead.

    5. Pop up a potting bench

    Blue fence panel with bird box, barometer and shelf with plants, blue table with strawberry plant in box. Potting table.

    Image credit: Future Plc

    Turn your garden fencing into the backdrop for a potting station. Instead of your garden ending with just a solid fence, break it a bit by setting up a potting bench and work station to enjoy all summer long. Fixing up a couple of shelves will give you space to display potted plants and garden accessories.

    6. Echo your fencing around the garden

    Curved bench topped with wooden blocks beside a cobbled area with a flower bed, tree and slatted wooden screen in the background

    Image credit: Future Plc/Annaick Guitteny

    If you have chosen a contemporary fencing that creates a feature in your garden, why not echo that feature to other areas too? Here the homeowner has made a bench with similar slim panels of wood as the fence behind, tying the whole space together. Thin, horizontal slats of wood are a modern, fresh look for fencing and whether painted or left bare, are perfect for courtyard and turf covered gardens alike.

    7. Take it up a level

    Sloping garden with wooden fence that also slops to fit the boundary

    Image credit: Future Plc/Cece Wilden

    Use traditional lap fence panels to align the different levels of the perimeter of a garden. Run the design alongside an incline or stepped paving to create a continuation of the fence, rather than adding different height levels – making it feel disjointed.  Rather than staining or painting the panels, simply seal them with a coat of wood preserving varnish for an understated finish.

    8. Paint a feature wall

    painted garden fence in sunset colours

    Image credit: Sadolin

    Update an old fence with new season trends with a splash of paint, creating a feature wall within your garden.  Try creating an ombre effect by choosing several colours in the same paint family. This delicious earthy colour palette is a mix of ‘Bleached Rose’; ‘Sandbank’; ‘Gingerbread’ and ‘Sharon Fruit’ all by exterior paint specialists Sadolin.

    9. Make a playful statement with a two-tone panel

    Garden fence painted in two-tone colours of grey and black

    Image credit: Cuprinol

    ‘Create a striking look for your fence in two tones,’ advises Cuprinol & Dulux creative director, Marianne Shillingford. ‘Keep the darker colour at the bottom to show off brightly coloured furniture and to make floral arrangements pop. All it takes is a bit of masking tape to get a sharp line between the divide.’

    10. Soften the look with spacing 

    Lush, green garden filled with plants and slatted fence in background

    Image credit: Future Plc/Annaick Guitteny

    If your property is not over looked you may not wish to erect a solid fence panels. This slatted fence is a soften approach to setting the boundaries of a garden, without making it feel enclosed. The slim gaps between the slats allows a glimpse of the greenery beyond, in a sense extending the view of the garden – while still framing the grounds.

    11. Create a country vibe with woven willow twigs

    Rustic willow garden fence behind wooden crates stacked to create storage

    Image credit: Future Plc/Spike Powell

    Give your garden a country-style feel with the addition of woven willow branch garden fence panels. Enhance the look by using vintage fruit boxes and crates stacked to form open storage shelves, storing, flowerpots and wellies.

    12. Bolt-on a neon pink trellis

    Pink painted trellis in front of wooden garden fence

    Image credit: Future Plc/Jamie Mason

    Give an old brown wooden fence a splash of colour with a colourful trellis. Fences are perfect for attaching trellis for climbing plants too. A vibrant trellis is a cheap and easy way to give your fence an easy, yet practical facelift.

    13. Repurpose old shutters as fences

    Painted grey shutters used as garden fences with buckets of plants displayed in front

    Image credit: Future Plc/Tim Young

    Create an innovative garden fence that has plenty of eco credentials by repurposing old shutters. Start by giving the shutters a coat of paint. Grey is a good colour for a backdrop, as it pretty much goes with everything, but white would look fab, too, especially when it starts to become rougher and less pristine. Add hooks to your shutter fence and use them to display pretty potted plants – buckets work well, as their handles make them easy to hang.

    14. Pick trellis-style fencing that climbers will love

    Trellis fencing with climber plants growing up and over it

    Image credit: Future Plc/Colin Poole

    A trellis fence is ideal screening one part of a garden from another without losing too much light. And if you’re a fan of climbers like magnolia, it’s also a cost-effective two-in-one option.

    15. Create privacy with a fence extension

    Urban garden with low brick wall topped with slatted fencing

    Image credit: Future Plc/Colin Poole

    This beautiful low wall has so much character, it would be a shame to cover it up with full fence panels. Similarly, building it higher to give the owners more privacy would be costly and could make the space feel too institutional. This fence ‘extension’ has been carefully selected in a colour that complements the brickwork, and its horizontal slats have a contemporary feel to chime in with the landscaping’s mix of traditional and modern.

    16. Mount on an outdoor kitchen

    An outdoor kitchen created and hung on dark green garden fencing

    Image credit: Cuprinol

    A slatted fence panel can be so much more! By adding a protective pergola above, a countertop and a shelf for storage, you can build up an outdoor kitchen for next to nothing. A little imagination, basic DIY skills and some timber can go a long way – add baskets for storing pots, pans and fuel for your outdoor cooker, and hang festoon lights so that you can cook well into the evening.

    17. Paint your garden fence to make it colourful and cheery

    Painted wooden garden fence of blue, green and yellow

    Image credit: Future Plc/James Merrell

    Let your garden fence stand out from the crowd with a stylish colour clash. If you’re a brave sort, give your garden furniture a makeover at the same time. This picture shows that there are no rules. You could go for just one bold shade or divide your fence up into multiple panels – make masking tape your friend to achieve a perfectly straight line.

    18. Camouflage in green

    garden with green fence and bunting

    Image credit: Future Plc/Jeremy Baile

    If you don’t want your garden fence stand out from the crowd with bold colours, make it blend in with a coat of green paint. A serene shade of green helps to make this garden fence camouflage into the foliage. You can add colour through other mediums, from a string of decorative bunting and jolly striped outdoor cushions.

    19. Go for an on-trend grey fence

    Grey painted garden fence with outdoor kitchen

    Image credit: Future Plc/Simon Whitmore

    Use your garden fence as part of an outdoor kitchen. Take your barbecuing as seriously as the Aussies by moving your kitchen into the garden during the fine-weather months and using your fence as a handy place to store the bits and bobs you need. Hang utensils in close reach of the action, along with a rack for all your favourite sauces. You could even place a clock on the ‘wall’, so you can make sure burgers and steaks don’t get cremated.

    20. Open the boundaries with rustic materials

    willow garden fence with open gate covered in chicken wire

    Image credit: Future Plc/Claire Richardson

    To prevent a garden fence from feeling too imposing or constraining it’s an idea to use rustic materials to break up the design. A willow twig fence design is given a softer edge thanks to infilled panels of chicken wire – providing a secure design but allowing a view through. Use this for doora and gates, teamed with willow woven fence panels for the main fenced area.

    21. Decorate your garden fence with colourful tealight holders

    Garden fence covered in colourful glass lanterns

    Image credit: Future Plc/Mel Yates

    Take a garden fence with a trellis top and jazz it up with jam-jar-style tealight holders that look super pretty even during daylight hours. Use secure but unobtrusive nails to hang them so that they look almost like they’re floating. A variety of shades will work well, but clear jam-jar tealights would also look great. At night, enjoy their warm glow from the comfort of a nearby garden chair – bliss.

    22. Create a secluded dining area with willow fencing

    Corner of patio with dining set and parasol, plus willow fencing in background

    Image credit: Future Plc/Brent Darby

    Go for a garden fence that is extra high so that it will provide all the privacy you could ever need – especially if you have curious neighbours. This fence features narrow lengths of willow that create a bamboo-style effect, ideal for screening an existing fence if you don’t want to start completely from scratch. Willow screening fence panels can also add height to a short wall or fence, or you could even use it to keep the compost heap hidden from view.

    23. Opt for a modern, low horizontal design

    Wooden garden fence with colour lanterns hung in front

    Image credit: Future Plc/Winfried Heinze

    Mount a wooden garden fence on top of a concrete border for an elegant and modern scheme that has the feel of a room, complete with ‘skirting board’. Not only does this contemporary garden fence look great, but it will also keep the gravel neatly in place. Go for horizontal wooden panels so that everything is flowing in a similar direction – a smart mid-toned varnish will be the perfect finish.

    24. Decorate your garden trellis

    white garden fence trellis decorated with a sign and floral bag

    Image credit: Future Plc/Simon Scarboro

    Paint a garden fence white to create a pretty country look that will really brighten up your garden. The gaps in this trellis fence have been used to hang some characterful buys, such as a ‘Welcome to my garden’ sign. A garden trellis has other advantages, too, from providing a helpful place to train climbing plants to offering privacy without blocking rays of sunlight.

    25. Paint your picket fence in an array of colours

    Garden fence painted in a variety of colours in front of a blue painted front door

    Image credit: Alun Callender

    Use a fence to create a front garden with a difference. This design has been painted in colourful shades that make passers-by feel that bit happier. We all dream of a white picket fence, but if you’re lucky enough to have one, why not take the plunge and go for something a little more daring? Paint your fence in pastel hues for a pretty, rather than garish, look.

    26. Mix your materials to create an unique look

    Garden fence of half wooden panels and half stacked stone

    Image credit: Future Plc/David Woolley

    For a unique take on a garden fence, combine stone and wood in a Jenga-style arrangement. Here, this has been done not just for the effect, but also for practical reasons – stone will endure a good soaking from the outdoor shower far better than wood. With a garden fence like this, the emphasis is on quality natural materials with an innate beauty of their own.

    27. Match the woodwork

    Raised flower bed in garden of greenery with blue painted fence behind

    Image credit: Future Plc/Paul Dudley

    Uniform the look of your garden by matching the colour on all the woodwork, from the garden fence to the raised beds and planters.

    28. Charm with a picturesque picket fence

    white picket fence lining the dge of a garden on a hill, with bench of watering cans in foreground

    Image credit: Future Plc/Adam Wallis

    When it comes to garden fencing you can’t get much more idyllic than a traditional white picket fence surrounding the property. A charming picket fence in white is ideal for both front and back gardens to create a picturesque enclosure for your home. As picket fencing only offers a low level partition it might not be suitable for homes that require more security – such as households with children and pets.

    What’s the cheapest fence to build?

    The cheapest fence to build is most commonly one made of chicken wire with a wooden frame, but it of course depends on how big the building requirements are. Standard fence Lap panels from any major DIY retailer are the most affordable and most popular choice for gardens of all shapes and sizes. More decorative fence panels will cost you more but they do add an extra style element to your garden design.

    Essentially you can make garden fencing using any panels of wood, whether bought new or reused from a previous project. You could also try and source left over wood from sites such as Gumtree or FreeCycle.

    How can I make my garden fence look good?

    You can transform an existing garden fence easily with a fresh coat of stain or a paint colour. This method also means you can change the look of the garden with each season, as colour trends change. You can choose to paint the entirety of the fence or simply paint panels or even patterns to add interest. Adding decorative touches such as overlay panels or signage can add character to a functional garden fence.

    You could also dress your fencing with lights, bunting or garlands.

    What fencing is best for gardens?

    It totally depends on what type of garden you have and what style you want to opt for. Urban gardens might benefit from simple, contemporary style fencing, while country gardens can carry off a more ornate design. If you live in a rural location, you might need fencing that keeps wild animals out, (or small pets in!) or you might need fencing that enhances a view, but still makes your feel secure. If you’re going to invest in quality fencing, be sure to do your research first as well as check with your neighbours that they are happy for the changes to be made first!


    Additional words: Holly Walsh

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