Garden fence ideas – add privacy and structure to your plot in style


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  • The best garden fence ideas can bring structure, texture, definition and joy to your outdoor space. After a long winter, it’s lovely to be able to get out into the garden again. But if you’re to enjoy the space at its very best, some work will be involved, whether it’s replacing or maintaining a garden fence, weeding and mowing, or redesigning some key features to give your garden a whole new look.

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    The garden fence is one element of a garden that’s often overlooked and relegated to the realms of the practical. A fence’s main function might be to separate one garden from another, providing a handy boundary that we all respect, but we shouldn’t underestimate its importance. The type of fence you have can really affect the look of your garden.

    Stylish garden fence ideas

    1. Take it up a level

    Image credit: Cece Wilden

    Use traditional lap fence panels to align the different levels of the perimeter of a garden. Run the design alongside an incline or stepped paving to create a continuation of the fence, rather than adding different height levels – making it feel disjointed.  Rather than staining or painting the panels, simply seal them with a coat of wood preserving varnish for an understated finish.

    2. Paint a feature wall

    Image credit: Sadolin

    Update an old fence with new season trends with a splash of paint, creating a feature wall within your garden.  Try creating an ombre effect by choosing several colours in the same paint family. This delicious earthy colour palette is a mix of ‘Bleached Rose’; ‘Sandbank’; ‘Gingerbread’ and ‘Sharon Fruit’ all by exterior paint specialists Sadolin.

    3. Make a playful statement with a two-tone panel


    Image credit: Cuprinol

    ‘Create a striking look for your fence in two tones,’ advises Cuprinol & Dulux creative director, Marianne Shillingford. ‘Keep the darker colour at the bottom to show off brightly coloured furniture and to make floral arrangements pop. All it takes is a bit of masking tape to get a sharp line between the divide.’

    3. Soften the look with spacing to provide a view beyond

    garden with slatted fence

    Image credit: Annaick Guitteny

    If your property is not over looked you may not wish to erect a solid fence panels. This slatted fence is a soften approach to setting the boundaries of a garden, without making it feel enclosed. The slim gaps between the slats allows a glimpse of the greenery beyond, in a sense extending the view of the garden – while still framing the grounds.

    More thoughtful design ideas: Garden landscaping ideas – how to plan and create your perfect garden

    4. Create a country vibe with woven willow twigs

    willow garden fence

    Image credit: Spike Powell

    Give your garden a country-style feel with the addition of woven willow branch garden fence panels. Enhance the look by using vintage fruit boxes and crates stacked to form open storage shelves, storing, flowerpots and wellies.

    5. Bolt-on a neon pink trellis

    garden fence ideas 1

    Image credit: Jamie Mason

    Give an old brown wooden fence a splash of colour with a colourful trellis. Fences are perfect for attaching trellis for climbing plants too. A vibrant trellis is a cheap and easy way to give your fence an easy, yet practical facelift.

    6. Repurpose old shutters as fences and paint them your favourite colour

    Garden fence ideas

    Image credit: Tim Young

    Create an innovative garden fence that has plenty of eco credentials by repurposing old shutters. Start by giving the shutters a coat of paint. Grey is a good colour for a backdrop, as it pretty much goes with everything, but white would look fab, too, especially when it starts to become rougher and less pristine. Add hooks to your shutter fence and use them to display pretty potted plants – buckets work well, as their handles make them easy to hang.

    7. Pick trellis-style fencing that climbers will love


    Image credit: Colin Poole

    A trellis fence is ideal screening one part of a garden from another without losing too much light. And if you’re a fan of climbers like magnolia, it’s also a cost-effective two-in-one option.

    8. Create privacy with a fence extension


    Image credit: Colin Poole

    This beautiful low wall has so much character, it would be a shame to cover it up with full fence panels. Similarly, building it higher to give the owners more privacy would be costly and could make the space feel too institutional. This fence ‘extension’ has been carefully selected in a colour that complements the brickwork, and its horizontal slats have a contemporary feel to chime in with the landscaping’s mix of traditional and modern.

    9. Mount on an outdoor kitchen


    Image credit: Cuprinol

    A slatted fence panel can be so much more! By adding a protective pergola above, a countertop and a shelf for storage, you can build up an outdoor kitchen for next to nothing. A little imagination, basic DIY skills and some timber can go a long way – add baskets for storing pots, pans and fuel for your outdoor cooker, and hang festoon lights so that you can cook well into the evening.

    10. Paint your garden fence to make it colourful and cheery

    Garden fence ideas

    Image credit: James Merrell

    Let your garden fence stand out from the crowd with a stylish colour clash. If you’re a brave sort, give your garden furniture a makeover at the same time. This picture shows that there are no rules. You could go for just one bold shade or divide your fence up into multiple panels – make masking tape your friend to achieve a perfectly straight line.

    11. Camouflage in green

    garden with green fence and bunting

    Image credit: Jeremy Baile

    If you don’t want your garden fence stand out from the crowd with bold colours, make it blend in with a coat of green paint. A serene shade of green helps to make this garden fence camouflage into the foliage. You can add colour through other mediums, from a string of decorative bunting and jolly striped outdoor cushions.

    12. Go for an on-trend grey fence

    Garden fence ideas

    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    Use your garden fence as part of an outdoor kitchen. Take your barbecuing as seriously as the Aussies by moving your kitchen into the garden during the fine-weather months and using your fence as a handy place to store the bits and bobs you need. Hang utensils in close reach of the action, along with a rack for all your favourite sauces. You could even place a clock on the ‘wall’, so you can make sure your burgers and steaks don’t get cremated.

    Related: Outdoor kitchens – ideas, designs and tips for the perfect al fresco space

    13. Open the boundaries with rustic materials

    willow garden fence

    Image credit: Claire Richardson

    To prevent a garden fence from feeling too imposing or constraining it’s an idea to use rustic materials to break up the design. A willow twig fence design is given a softer edge thanks to infilled panels of chicken wire – providing a secure design but allowing a view through. Use this for doora and gates, teamed with willow woven fence panels for the main fenced area.

    14. Decorate your garden fence with colourful tealight holders

    Garden fence ideas

    Image credit: Mel Yates

    Take a garden fence with a trellis top and jazz it up with jam-jar-style tealight holders that look super pretty even during daylight hours. Use secure but unobtrusive nails to hang them so that they look almost like they’re floating. A variety of shades will work well, but clear jam-jar tealights would also look great. At night, enjoy their warm glow from the comfort of a nearby garden chair – bliss.

    15. Create a secluded dining area with willow fencing

    Garden fence ideas

    Image credit: Brent Darby

    Go for a garden fence that is extra high so that it will provide all the privacy you could ever need – especially if you have curious neighbours. This fence features narrow lengths of willow that create a bamboo-style effect, ideal for screening an existing fence if you don’t want to start completely from scratch. Willow screening fence panels can also add height to a short wall or fence, or you could even use it to keep the compost heap hidden from view.

    16. Opt for a modern, low horizontal design

    Garden fence ideas

    Image credit: Winfried Heinze

    Mount a wooden garden fence on top of a concrete border for an elegant and modern scheme that has the feel of a room, complete with ‘skirting board’. Not only does this contemporary garden fence look great, but it will also keep the gravel neatly in place. Go for horizontal wooden panels so that everything is flowing in a similar direction – a smart mid-toned varnish will be the perfect finish.

    Want more garden ideas? READ: Brilliant budget garden ideas

    17. Decorate your garden trellis

    Garden fence ideas

    Image credit: Simon Scarboro

    Paint a garden fence white to create a pretty country look that will really brighten up your garden. The gaps in this trellis fence have been used to hang some characterful buys, such as a ‘Welcome to my garden’ sign. A garden trellis has other advantages, too, from providing a helpful place to train climbing plants to offering privacy without blocking rays of sunlight.

    18. Paint your picket fence in an array of colours

    Garden fence ideas

    Image credit: Alun Callender

    Use a fence to create a front garden with a difference. This design has been painted in colourful shades that make passers-by feel that bit happier. We all dream of a white picket fence, but if you’re lucky enough to have one, why not take the plunge and go for something a little more daring? Paint your fence in pastel hues for a pretty, rather than garish, look.

    19. Mix your materials to create an unique look

    Garden fence ideas

    Image credit: David Woolley

    For a unique take on a garden fence, combine stone and wood in a Jenga-style arrangement. Here, this has been done not just for the effect, but also for practical reasons – stone will endure a good soaking from the outdoor shower far better than wood. With a garden fence like this, the emphasis is on quality natural materials with an innate beauty of their own.

    20. Give your garden fence a contemporary appearance

    Garden fence ideas

    Image credit: Paul Raeside

    Pick fence panels with a pale-wood finish for a contemporary look. If you’re a fan of low-maintenance gardens, go for wooden decking instead of a lawn. Use the same finish on the fence and decking for a cohesive feel, but don’t worry about lining up all the planks. You don’t want it to look too planned out. Hanging a mirror will reflect sunlight and add interest to your fence – it’s also a neat trick for making a small garden appear bigger than it is.

    Only a little plot to work with? Small garden ideas to make the most of a tiny space

    21. Match the woodwork

    Image credit: Paul Dudley

    Uniform the look of your garden by matching the colour on all the woodwork, from the garden fence to the raised beds and planters.

    22. Put in place wooden supports

    garden fence

    Image credit: Robert Sanderson

    The supports between fence panels can alter the look dramatically. Cement pillars lend an industrial touch to a rustic wooden fence, so opting for a wooden support can go along way to finish the look.

    23. Charm with a picturesque picket fence

    white picket fence

    Image credit: Adam Wallis

    When it comes to garden fencing you can’t get much more idyllic than a traditional white picket fence surrounding the property. A charming picket fence in white is ideal for both front and back gardens to create a picturesque enclosure for your home. As picket fencing only offers a low level partition it might not be suitable for homes that require more security – such as households with children and pets.

    What do you think of these garden fence ideas? We’d love to know how you’ve revamped your garden fence!

    What’s the cheapest fence to build?

    The cheapest fence to build is most commonly one made of chicken wire with a wooden frame, but it of course depends on how big the building requirements are. Standard fence Lap panels from any major DIY retailer are the most affordable and most popular choice for gardens of all shapes and sizes. More decorative fence panels will cost you more but they do add an extra style element to your garden design.

    How can I make my garden fence look good?

    You can transform an existing garden fence easily with a fresh coat of stain or a paint colour. This method also means you can change the look of the garden with each season, as colour trends change. You can choose to paint the entirety of the fence or simply paint panels or even patterns to add interest. Adding decorative touches such as overlay panels or signage can add character to a functional garden fence.

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