Friday, 20 April 2012

Six Ideas for Disguising Unattractive Fences

One of the most annoying things I find about gardening is that it can look shabby in no time at all. Take a look at some of these ideas for disguising fences in your garden and you'll improve your garden really simply -- especially great for those of us who like things in the garden to look pretty but lack much gardening know-how.

Where to Start?

Reed screening is a quick and effective option
The best landscaping methods for disguising fences largely depends on what kind of fence you are trying to disguise. Some ideas you might want to use, include:

  • Climbing plants
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Trellis
  • Reed screening
  • Painting a mural
  • Turn the area into a feeding area for wildlife - bird feeding station etc.
Obviously if you have a wire mesh fence that needs disguising, an open option like a trellis isn't going to help hugely, and painting a mural certainly wouldn't be viable.

If you are looking at disguising a wooden fence or cement block then most options are open to you, but extra consideration would need to be given to the type of plants you use, as they will have some of their sunlight blocked.

Clematis is a quick grower
Use Planting - The Best Climbing Plants & Ornamental Grasses

When disguising a fence, one of the easiest landscaping ideas to use, is using climbing plants. There are so many different kinds available, that you should be able to find a suitable option that is in keeping with the rest of your garden.

If you have a solid fence you will need to construct some kind of feature for them to climb on, such as trellis, a decorative obelisk, or just some bamboo canes. The disadvantage to this option is that you will need to wait for the plants to grow, before they totally disguise that unsightly fence. Some of the best climbing plants to use are:
  • Wisteria
  • Hydrangea
  • Clematis - a popular flowering vine plant.
  • Climbing rose
  • Jasmine
  • Ivy
  • Chilean Glory Flower Eccremocarpos scaber
  • Vines - Virginia Creeper, Boston Ivy
There are also shrubs you can use, that although aren't strictly climbing plants, can be trained to grow as such - Pyracantha varieties such as Firethorn are a good option to use.
There are also many ornamental grasses that you might want to consider, as these are extremely low maintenance, don't need any additional support, and survive year round.
  • Feather reedgrass - grows up to 6 feet, and grows in partial shade. A popular perennial grass.
  • Fountain grass - grows up to 5 feet and grows into a soft shape, offsetting the harsh fence behind.
  • Switchgrass - grows to 5 feet can handle shade, and is a happy home to wildlife.
  • Hardy Pampas grass - grows up to 12 feet tall - large white flumed flowers provide a good screen.

Trellis is easy to install and can
be used in a practical way too
Use Hardcore Elements - Screening & Trellis
It's surprising what a difference some trellis or reed screening can make to a garden. Not only is it a great idea for disguising a fence, it also adds texture and more visual appeal to your garden. In addition to this, the use of an item like a trellis also offers the option of using it for climbing plants, or hanging bird feeders from too.

The biggest advantage of this option is that the results are instant, and need not be complicated. For a trellis or screen with a difference, you could paint it in a suitable exterior paint, paint a mural onto it, or make your own garden sign, using the trellis to hang it from. The effects even when you keep the natural finish are still appealing, and in the case of using a reed screen, the color will alter with age, making it look more a part of your garden.

Murals are easier than you think
and are a low cost option
Alternative Ideas
If none of the more conventional landscaping ideas above, appeals to you for disguising an unsightly fence, then you may want to consider some alternative options.
  • Creating an outside mural on a fence isn't as difficult as you may think, though is strictly the domain of wood fences and cement blocks. Sketch out a natural picture of trees and birds, or something else in keeping with your surroundings, and paint with suitable exterior paints. For a more detailed guide, and some pictorial inspiration, see our article on garage door murals.
  • You could take advantage of the situation and create a wildlife environment, or bird garden in your backyard. You don't have to do anything fancy, even hanging halved coconuts, bird feeders and nesting boxes, and bunches of berries from a wire fence will transform it instantly. You can paint the nesting boxes, make an insect hotel, or even some small shelves for birds to rest and feed on, would make a difference.
Taking into account the fence type, and your environment, will mean that using one of our landscape ideas for disguising fence problems — like unsightly or unattractive fences — should be an easy operation.

Headline Image Credit -
Climbing clematis -
Trellis -

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