Landscaping Along a Fence: Ideas

by Justin Case 3 Comments

Your fences create a border, as well as a peripheral shape to your yard’s landscaping. Equally important is the safety and privacy they provide for you and your family.

Typically, fences are drab and not much to look at. But why should that be the case when they’re such an integral and highly visible portion of your yard?

  • 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

Let’s explore some attractive and functional ways to “dress up” your yard’s perimeter. What purpose might the plants serve, that you place along it?

Landscaping Fence Lines

privacy fence tall shrubs curved bed

We’ve got three great reasons for you to consider planting along your fence, to enhance your landscaping:

  1. Lighten or soften the fence’s appearance.  Adding grasses or shrubs alongside a brick or wooden structure 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 brighten up your yard’s borders.
  3. Privacy Shrubs. Fences can be visually porous. This where privacy hedges and trees have become popular, as they solidify the barrier and block prying eyes and curious neighbors.

Types of Fences

The materials used in building fences will depend on the pre-existing landscape conditions and the homeowner’s preferences. 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 aesthetic of cottage gardens, whether you have the classic wooden type or a PVC vinyl fence. Large wooden picket fences offer minimal privacy, but they do add a charming touch to your landscape.

garden-fenceFences offer varied temperatures and lighting possibilities, due to the position of the sun and the shadows created.  This is why you should be mindful of plants and their sun requirements to maintain optimum growth.

One of the benefits of vinyl fences is that they’re low-maintenance. With a wood fence, it can become weathered more quickly, needing regular touch-ups and refinishing to remain attractive and sturdy. when it becomes weathered.

What kind of fence do you have already? And what kind of improvements would you like to make to your landscape?

It’s a good idea to install new plants far enough away from the fence to allow yourself access for maintenance and pruning. 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

Finding the right plant for your fence line should not be too difficult. With a wide variety of flowering vines, shrubs, and trees, you’ll surely find something that compliments your yard’s existing structure. Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Clematis – Clematis grow well on fences and trellises due to the winding leaf stalks.
  • Honeysuckles – Honeysuckles have a long blooming season of clustered tubular flowers in reds, orange shades, yellows, cream, and purple.
  • Climbing Roses – There are many varieties of climbing roses that bloom repeatedly. Climbing roses feature abundant, single red blooms with striking white centers and yellow stamens. Plants reache 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, as this plant’s growth habit is taller than it is wide.
  • Cypress Tree –  Cypress tree grows tall and narrow, thus making them perfect for planting in a row to create an opaque 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 colors.

Here are some tips for avoiding color gaps during summer and winter:

  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?”  There are as many ideas for fence line landscaping as there are fences.

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

In landscape edging, use soft lines of fencing through the use of plants. Some 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.

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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