How to Decorate a Privacy Fence


Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall" ends with the phrase, "Good fences make good neighbors." But sometimes you have to wonder, what are you walling in? If it's a bland fence, there are so many suggestions on how to camouflage, decorate or enhance your yard perimeter, there's no excuse for a shameful fence.

Things You'll Need

  • Iron art, garden gates, metal antique headboards Hanging artifacts (See list in Step 2) Cup hooks, screws, shelf hangers Climbing plants or growing shrubs Garden clips, wire, string Trellis unit (optional) Urns Statutes Birdhouses Canvas sailcloth, grommets, wire and stakes

Think of the Fence as a Backdrop

  • Hang iron art. Not only does it weather well but objects made from iron juxtaposed against wood create another layer of design. Look for iron or metal garden gates, metal wall sculptures, or antique metal headboards (yes, for beds). You don't even have to mount them, just lean them up against the fence for a artsy-looking contrast.

  • Think about hanging objects; affix them to the fence with cup hooks, screws, decorative metal hooks, whatever. Some suggestions of things to hang: wire baskets, old bicycle baskets---lovely filled with sphagnum moss and flowers---urns, Mexican tiles, iron crosses, grapevine wreaths, cast faces, suns and other objects like gargoyles for a menacing look, or drama faces for a theatrical bent.
    Fill pot-like hanging devices with flowers, decorative grasses or twinkle lights.

  • Grow plants or train them to climb the fence. Some climbing vines are: ivy --- which is first year sleeper, second year creeper, and third year leaper --- climbing hydrangeas, and clematis to mention a few. Plant them at the base of the wall, fasten each shoot to supports with string or vine clips and let 'em go.
    Place shrubs in front of the fence to block areas out, and think about "pruning shrubs" which can be trained as espaliers --- a plant framework similar to a tree formation.
    Trellises placed in front of a fence with beautiful climbing flowers or fruits will totally distract from any fencing behind. Try wisteria floribunda, Virginia creeper, or bougainvillea to hug the trellis with a blanket of flowers.

  • Stack containers on top of each other for a sculptural look. If you keep the top one open, fill it with a beautiful straight-growing grass.
    Is your fence flat on the top or does it form a shelf? What a great place to rest a collection of birdhouses or decorative lanterns on top---make sure to wire them down to prevent them from being carried away in storms.
    Stack a statute on a pedestal; it makes a nice background for a flowerbed audience of adoring plants below.

  • Place an outdoor umbrella in front of a fence with a nice seating area underneath.
    Tack sails: place grommets into the corners of large pieces of sailcloth and anchor them to different surfaces for a windbreak or just panel decoration (See: vendor links below).

Tips & Warnings

  • We know that things inside frames are art, but the frames can be art themselves. Hang a variety of large frames, you'll soon see symmetry and design. • If you have some good-looking antique garden tools, think about hanging them in an arrangement. • Get a steel bottle tree and hang bottles on the branches in beautiful colors: the bottles will captures evil spirits---an African tale---and your tree will never die. • Know a man with a forklift? Find huge boulders and arrange them in hills and then train moss to grow over them for a green carpet sculpture. • The old standby, lattice, takes on new dimensions painted in colors.
  • Don't forget to add twinkle lighting in trees, uplights from the flowerbeds or motion-sensor lights in seating areas for the ultimate nighttime landscape.

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