Landscaping Along A Fence Ideas

Landscaping Fence Lines

privacy fenceA fence is a border, a barrier, and the shape of our landscape, however the most importantly a fence represents privacy and security.  Typically fences are drab and not much to look at, yet the fence is a major part of the landscape, so why not  dress up our fences by adding some plants? What purpose a planting will serve? Three potential reasons for growing plants and landscaping along a fence are:

  1. Lighten or soften up the fence.  Adding grasses or shrubs along a brick fence will soften up the fence line.
  2. Sometimes fences make you feel like you are locked into your yard.  Adding rows of flowers will liven up your fence and shave of the rough edges.
  3. Fences can be visually porous. This where privacy hedges and trees have become popular by blocking prying eyes and curious neighbors.

Types of Fences

The materials used in building fences will direct or adjust the landscape conditions. For example chain link fences don’t offer much in terms elegant appearance, and do not offer any privacy into your yard.  White picket fences often have the notion of cottage gardens, whether you have the classic wooden type or a PVC vinyl fence. Large wooden Picket fences offer a some privacy, but add a charming touch to your land landscape, in addition to plants and flowers.

garden-fenceFences have varied temperatures and lighting possibilities due to the position of the sun and the shadows that are created.  This is why you should be mindful of plants and their sun requirements to maintain optimum growth. Some plants will benefit as a result, but others might have issues with mildew.

What kind of fence do you have? One of the benefits of vinyl fences is that they’re low-maintenance, however if you have a wooden fence, you’ll have to paint or stain it when it becomes weathered. It would be a good idea plant material far enough away from the fence to allow yourself access to your wood fence for maintenance. , as well as giving yourself enough space for plant care tasks such as pruning shrubs.  If you can tie the fence planting in with rest of your landscape, it will look like a seamless part of the yard as a whole.

Seasonal Planting

It is important that you plan your planting for all four seasons. Make sure you have some of those wonderful spring flowers as well as a variety of shrubs for fall color. Most gardeners understand that it’s the two, longer in between seasons to which we sometimes  don’t pay sufficient attention, especially winter.  Here are some tips for avoiding color gaps at these times:

  1. Summer, grow long-blooming perennials and late-blooming bushes such as rose of sharon and bluebeard shrubs.
  2. Winter, in addition to evergreen shrubs, grow plants such as red twig dogwood. The latter looks great in winter against a fence that basks in ample sunlight.
More Lawn Tips:  Fruit Tree Landscape Design

The Opposite Side of the Fence?

Does your separate your yard from a strip of land that borders the street, perhaps a grassy rectangle that you have to mow but that you otherwise ignore? Then don’t be one sided with your thinking, instead landscape both sides of your fencing.

On the street side, your landscaping may be something as simple as laying down a bed of landscape mulch, 2 feet wide or so. The goal here is to avoid having to use a weed eater to keep down vegetation growing up against the fence. Mulching the area will eliminate the need for this task.

Beyond that, other factors that potentially come into play include:

  • Pollution – More plants provide fresh air to breath.
  • Theft – It sure is difficult to get over a fence and some tall hedges.
  • Vandalism – Plants provide a second barrier to your barrier.

Some Final Thoughts

Perhaps you’re thinking, “All of that is fine, but how do I actually install the plants, and what if I want to grow something besides flowers?  While there are as many ideas for fence line landscaping as there are fences.

Beginning with the mechanics of planting a bed. Loosely layer your flower beds for optimal visual effect. A composition with three rows often works well, thus short plants in front, tall ones in back, and medium-sized ones in the middle.

In landscape edging using soft lines of fencing through the use of plants. Some of you will want to take that idea to its logical conclusion and install the plants in a curving bed, similar to the one shown in the picture above.

Some homeowners like the idea of such plantings so much that they dispense with the hardscape altogether. In addition to formal hedges, looser groupings of shrubs and/or trees can also be used to promote privacy. If you don’t have a fence yet but would like one call TLC Landscape for more information and a custom quote.

PDF: Lanscape along a fence

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Outdoor Hardscape Ideas

Comment ( 1 )

  1. ReplyLisa Bieri
    I love the look of classic wooden fences, so I'm glad that you discussed them in detail. When I get a house, I would love to get a wooden fence to encapsulate my entire landscape. Then put in a beautiful garden area!! Thank you Alvarez for sharing your valuable thoughts with us.

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