Landscaping Along a Fence Ideas

by Justin Case 3 Comments
  • privacy fence tall shrubs

    Shrubs in Two Layers

    Tall privacy shrubs and shorter shrubs curved along a fence.
  • white gravel beds on fence

    Gravel Bed Along Fence

    White gravel with plants and ornaments, Asian style.
  • Suspended Potted Plants on Fence

    Hanging Flowers on Fence

    Suspended potted plants on fence
  • tires landscaping fence

    Kids Playground Fence Corner

    Tires on corner, rocks, fence ornaments
  • wooden fence landscaping mulch

    Mulch Beds Along Fence

    Planted flowers and shrubs in mulch along fence.
  • Rock gravel along fence tall shrubs

    Shrubs Around Fence

    Gravel rocks and shrubs along the fence


Landscaping Fence Lines

privacy fence tall shrubs curved bed

Curved Bed around Privacy Fence with Tall Shrubs

A 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. Add Rows of Flowers. Sometimes fences make you feel like you are locked into your yard.  Adding rows of flowers will liven up your fence and shave off the rough edges.
  3. Privacy Shrubs. 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, 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.

Types of Plants For a Fence Line

Fences take different shapes and lengths to enclose a yard.  Finding the right plant for your fence line should not be too difficult. With a wide variety of flowering vines, shrubs and trees, finding the right plant to suit your needs is attainable. Listed below are a few examples.

  • Clematis – Clematis grow well on fences and trellis due to the leaf stalks winding around the fence.
  • Honeysuckles – Honeysuckles have  a long season of clusters of tubular flowers in reds, orange shades, yellows, cream and purple.
  • Climbing Roses – There are many varieties of climbing roses that bloom repeatedly. Climbing rose features abundant, single red blooms with striking white centers and yellow stamens. Plant reaches 15 to 30 feet if not pruned.
  • Italian Buckthorn – Italian Buckthorn is perfect for placement in front of walls or other structures that don’t need complete coverage because it’s taller than it is wide.
  • Cypress Tree –  Cypress tree grows tall and narrow, thus making it perfect for planting in a row to create a screen.

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.

The Opposite Side of the Fence?

Does your fence 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.

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 Landscapes for more information and a custom quote.

PDF: Landscaping along a fence

Related Articles:

Outdoor Hardscape Ideas

Fast Growing Flowering Vines



Comments ( 3 )

  1. ReplyCindra@lifewithafarmer
    What an ingenious idea on the playground corner! My grandkids would love to have their own special area in our backyard. Thanks for the idea!
  2. ReplyJasmine Hewitt
    I so needed to read this! I've been looking for new plants for the backyard
  3. 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 Justin for sharing your valuable thoughts with us.

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