Fences are something that many of us use to provide a little more privacy or to stake claim to our property, but for the most part, fences aren’t all that attractive. Be them chain-link or wooden or whatever else, fences can have a bit of an unsightly feel. It doesn’t have to be that way.
DIY projects are just begging to coincide with the fence line, finding ways to beautify these structures. Some projects can be quite elaborate, long-term affairs. Others can be experimental and fun, creatively discovering what else might be fun to do. And, there are choices to and fro in between these extremes.
So, for those out there who are handy (or, at least, motivated), who are anxious to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine, here is a myriad of ways for sprucing up outside spaces by working with their borders. In the end, fenced-in yards can feel like a warm hug, tailor-made for you.
The Living Fence
Living fences are a great project for those with an old fence that is perhaps not long for the world. Instead of buying a bunch of materials to build a new fence, consider growing one. Living fences — or hedges — are a great way to put more greenery in the yard and create those boundaries we are often after. It’s also possible to make productive hedges, such as with hazelnuts, pomegranates, olives, guava, and many others tree-bushes can be grown as both a fence and a food producer. They also make comfortable habitats for wildlife.
The Trellis Fence
When hedges and trees don’t seem in the cards, that doesn’t mean that fences can’t still be green and productive. There are lots of vines that’ll climb up and across fences. Jasmine is a good one, with great-smelling, useful flowers. Grape vines work well and provide a snack, some jam, and possibly even wine. Scarlett runner beans will provide delicious beans (string beans or dried beans) and have beautiful blooms. Maypops produce edible fruits and some absolutely stunning flowers. Get some vines climbing up the fence, especially those chain-link jobbies.
The Vertical Garden
Or, if neither vines or trees seem right, fences are great places to install vertical gardens, getting more production out of the same square footage. Vertical gardens are very good for growing greens, strawberries, and culinary herbs. They can be created with a many different repurposed items: old guttering, abandoned plant pots, cloth pouches, and old pipes. These work especially well on the sun-side of wooden fencing, and it is important to recognize which side the sun hits.
The Wine Bottle Fence
For those not concerned with absolute privacy, a wine bottle fence can be a really cool way to create a beautiful barrier (and a good reason to drink). Save up wine bottles, drill a hole in the center of the bottom of them, and thread dowel rods through the bottles. The dowel rods can then be connected to a top and bottom rail. The resulting fence can be very colorful and will play nicely with the light. Plus, it’s just a lot more fun than a typical fence.
Flower Power Fence
For fences with solid sides, painting gigantic flowers (and other creative stuff) can add a lot of verve to a border. A really cool idea is to paint stems and leaves, a doable undertaking for all talent levels, and to pin differently painted found-objects – hubcaps, old gears, bucket lids, etc.—on as the flower heads. It’s funky but safe and unusually clever and bold enough to impress visitors. Another option is to tack painted crates onto the fence like shelves and put flower pots (with actual flowers) in them.
Simple Patterned Murals
Obviously, a bit of paint could really spruce things up, but rather than painting a wooden fence a solid color, it’s pretty fun to create a visual sensation. Choose a basic shape – stars or circles – and put them all over the fence. Try putting them on densely, clustered together and atop one another. Or try spacing them out into the occasional visual stop. This will fade over time and mature in its coolness. Of course, those with muralists as friends could take this to an entirely different level.
The Wildlife Hotel
Wildlife in the garden is such a fantastic thing, and fences are the perfect place to put up some animal accommodations. Fences can be festooned with birdhouses. They can have insect hotels, especially geared towards solitary bees. Bat houses are a possibility. And, of course, birdfeeders and such things can add to the menagerie. These additions will help with attracting pollinators to the area, inviting natural pest control to the backyard ecosystem and providing something colorful and entertaining to watch.
We’ve only scratched the surface here, but the important takeaway is that the fence needn’t be plain. It can be dazzling, productive and expressive. Why settle for something unremarkable? Go for the gusto with your fencing.
Lead image source: mubus7/Shutterstock