By Sarah Warwick published
Every plot can benefit from good garden fence ideas in one way or another. They're a classic choice for marking the boundaries of your outdoor space – whether that's defining your front garden, screening off your neighbor's patio, or distinguishing different 'rooms' in your plot.
However, fences aren't just for practicalities or privacy – they can be a stunning feature in themselves. There's tons of choice when it comes to materials, size, and color, meaning you can opt for a style that will truly complement your garden. From rustic charm to contemporary designs, you can be sure that there's a fence out there that's perfect for your space.
To help you choose, we've rounded up plenty of garden fence ideas which are full of inspiration. So, if your existing fence is looking dated, dull or dilapidated, or if you just fancy an update this season, read on.
1. Create a smart black backdrop
This sturdy black fence is a perfect choice for chic urban living. Painted in black, it feels effortlessly cool.
A neat row of espaliered trees adds an extra level of privacy up top, and brings a fresh pop of green against the dark hue. Further planting below continues to lift the zone, adding to the welcoming vibe.
Pale tones tie together the rest of the space, offering a striking contrast to the surrounding screen. Meanwhile, a scattering of cushions provides an accent of pink – a playful finishing flourish.
Looking for more stylish ways to update your plot? Take a look at our landscaping ideas.
2. Complement rattan furniture with woven styles
For a more naturalistic look, woven panels made from willow or hazel are a fabulous choice for fences and garden screening ideas.
They're great for small gardens – just opt for one panel or two to provide all the shelter and privacy you need for your patio. Style alongside rattan furniture for a pleasing mix of tactile textures.
Colorful sofa cushions will bring a vibrant touch to the scene – these blue tones above are perfect for a summery set-up. Pale grey and cream would make an elegant alternative. Don't forget a string of festoon lights overhead for a cozy ambience when dusk falls.
3. Integrate a fence with your outdoor kitchen
More of us are using our gardens as an extension of our living space these days, so it's no surprise that outdoor kitchen ideas are having a moment. After all, who doesn't love a good BBQ out in the fresh air?
Garden fence ideas can be surprisingly handy for alfresco cooking – see this example above to demonstrate. Its generous height allows ample room for sleek horizontal rails – ideal for hanging utensils and even a spice rack.
In a contemporary grey hue, it mirrors the built-in grill and silver-toned plant pots, creating a fuss-free but totally stylish scene. A trellised section up top will balance out the look, allowing light and air to flow through. Try adding a climbing foliage plant nearby, too.
4. Set the scene for your container garden
Love to grow your plants in pots? Then garden fence ideas can create a beautiful background to your display.
This soft blue hue is wonderfully soothing and looks gorgeous against the mix of pastel-colored flowers and trails of foliage in front. The use of shelves elevates the look further, making the most of the vertical space for a real focal point.
We've got lots more inspiration in our container gardening ideas feature.
5. Match it to your pergola
This modern set-up revolves around the striking pergola, which not only provides shelter, but is also a sturdy support for the hanging egg chair.
To add an extra boost of privacy and make the scene feel cozy and intimate, a smart black fence lines the zone. Painted to match the pergola, the furniture, and even the patterned paving, it recedes into the background rather than trying to take the spotlight. What's more, it provides a support for plenty of climbing plants.
Take a look at our pergola ideas feature for inspiring designs.
6. Get playful with paint
Garden fence ideas can add a fun accent to a plot if you're willing to get creative. Here, a traditional style has been given a playful twist by painting each pale in a different hue. It's super simple to recreate the look, just remember to opt for complementary tones for a considered vibe.
Use around the perimeter of your plot, or to section your patio from your lawn – we think it would make a good addition to family garden ideas.
7. Combine with raised beds for a softer look
Garden fence ideas are commonplace for front gardens, defining edges of plots from the world beyond. And, to boost the privacy levels and for added security, ramping up the height can be a good idea. But as this example shows, a tall fence, even when in a dark tone, needn't look severe.
Adding plenty of greenery in front is key, with the help of some raised garden beds. These rustic wooden structures shown above look truly beautiful adorned with cascading foliage, structural alliums, and clipped evergreen shrubs.
A line of silvery Himalayan birches finishes the set-up well, whilst providing extra screening between the house and the road. They also make a striking contrast against the inky-hued pales behind.
Want to know more ways to make your plot more private? Check out our garden privacy ideas.
8. Try a dark green look
Using dark green tones on modern garden fence ideas can create a subtle urban-jungle-like vibe. It's an understated choice that feels grown-up and on-trend, and will allow any accessories in front to stand out.
In this mini outdoor kitchen, wooden chopping boards and other natural textures add to the naturalistic vibe, whilst pops of bright orange draw the eye. Oversized festoon lights overhead add to the ambience.
9. Contrast with accessories
It's easy to update a tired looking fence with a smart coat of the best exterior wood paint. But, it doesn't always have to steal the limelight. Allow it to become a chic backdrop instead, to make your garden furniture and planting really pop.
Go light and bright to make your plants stand out, whilst grey or other muted shades are a strong choice for a sophisticated, urban look. Or, if you really want to turn heads, try going for two tones like in this example above.
10. Create cohesion with your garden fence ideas
Match your garden fence ideas to your decking ideas, and even your seating, for a pleasantly harmonious vibe. Pair with a complementary color palette for extra wow, and add accessories to match, such as outdoor cushions or rugs. It's a contemporary look which will instantly elevate your space.
11. Choose horizontal lines for a modern update
Many traditional garden fences are a series of uprights, but if you want a contemporary look to suit more modern garden ideas, swap to a design that majors in horizontal lines.
Not only will it give your plot an instant update, but it can also create the illusion of a wider or longer space as the eye is drawn along the horizontals. It's a great idea for small gardens.
12. Go decorative for your garden fence ideas
Growing plants up a fence takes time, but adding organic pattern as part of the structure can create an instant and durable feature.
This fence would work on a boundary or between different areas of the garden. The decorative panel will allow glimpses through for a new view of planting beyond the fence, without surrendering privacy.
13. Try a fence of lights
Fences don't have to be solid – particularly if they're being used as subtle garden divider ideas rather than to stop the dog getting out, or the neighbors encroaching on your turf.
Follow the lead of this design which combines shepherd’s hooks that you put into the ground with festoon lights. They're ideal alongside a path, as seen here. But, they would look just as good as a divider for an alfresco dining area, creating a magical ambience as night slowly falls.
Find more solutions for outdoor lights in our garden lighting ideas feature.
14. Swap to metal fencing
Wrought iron railings can complement an older property. But, there are less period-style metal designs available too for your garden fence ideas.
These panels are made from Plastisol coated zinc for a colored finish that will last.
And, if you want to let more light into your plot, take a lead from this garden and incorporate lattice panels into your fence design.
15. Create intimacy with a dark shade
If you're going to use an area of your garden for entertaining at night, why not use a dark hue for your garden fence ideas? It'll make the zone far more intimate and cocooning – just like a snug inside your house.
Stick to garden furniture ideas in a lighter finish though, so that they stand out against your dark backdrop.
16. Work with color
Your garden fence ideas don't have to be a single color. Painting one in blocks of different hues in the same way you might treat a wall indoors can add interest to your garden's vertical surfaces.
Here, tonal shades have been used to create the horizontal blocks. The look is eye-catching, but they're earthy tones and complement the outdoor situation beautifully. You could get the same smart but organic effect with shades of green, too.
17. Screen with pattern
Whether it's to divide different outdoor rooms, obscure a less-than-lovely feature, or even for a boundary of the garden that isn't overlooked by a neighbor, a screen is a top choice for garden fencing ideas.
You'll find both abstract patterns and naturally themed designs on offer, but we like the way this foliage design draws the eye upward. These leafy screens are laser cut from aluminium for lasting good looks, and would look lovely bordering wildlife garden ideas.
18. Boost privacy with tall reed screens
If there's too much on show between you and next door, reed screening can provide the concealment you need in a hurry. You can use it as a cover for chain link fencing or attach it to fence uprights with ties or staples.
It can also be a great solution for patios with too much direct sun, to provide welcome shade. Our best garden parasols are also good for creating a sheltered retreat.
19. Divide a patio with trellis
Choose trellis for your garden fence ideas and you can design the level of privacy to suit. Trellis will add an attractive divider if you leave it as it is, and lets light through from one area to another. Alternatively, you can maximize its potential as a screen by growing a climber from top to bottom – our best climbing plants have lots of great picks.
Using planters to add greenery to half height so you're not on show to the neighbors when you're sitting at a table or on a lounger is another option.
20. Introduce curves to the tops of your fence
Think about bringing in different lines with your fencing. A curved finish can look softer than a design that's straight across the top, and can look sympathetic to a country-style garden.
This design has a lattice finish to let in a little more light through the top, too, and is made from FSC certified wood.
21. Mix up your materials for a bespoke look
Try materials and shapes that break from the norm to screen a seating or dining zone and add decorative interest to the garden.
This one features glass panels, which bring in texture but still permit light to come through, as well as snapshotting the views.
If you’re a keen entertainer, you could think about putting up a shelf-style structure using timber or sleepers instead. That way, it can be used as surface to set down glasses while people are socializing, or for plants in pots.
What is the best color for a garden fence?
'Painting your fence a new color can make a huge impact on the look of your garden, so it's well worth considering all the different options, looking at different trends and researching what you like or dislike,' suggests Leigh Barnes of Jacksons Fencing. 'Whether you're planning a whole new design or just making some subtle changes by painting a fence, it may be worth thinking about choosing a color or tone for your fence in line with the surrounding area to see what best fits.'
'Earthy colors such as yellows browns or greens, for example, are in keeping with many surrounding areas in the UK,' Leigh continues. 'Painting your fence can be modern and can act as an on-trend contrast to the more traditional aspects of your garden. A golden fence stain or dark timber colour, meanwhile, is a good option if you're looking for something subtle but equally as attractive.'
'Blue-grey or even contemporary green shades are ideal for making a refreshing statement with your garden fencing. These colours look particularly good set off against darker-colored plants and foliage to act as a standout feature.'
'Overall cost wise, there are no major differences with either paint or stain,' Leigh says. 'Each can have expensive or cheaper versions. Both will not heavily impact your fence, but paint may restrict the natural movements of timber. It comes down to whether you want to change the whole look and color of your fence with paint, or enhance the natural beauty of timber, with stain.'
Need more color advice? Our garden color schemes feature will help.
Can I install a fence myself?
In short, it's best to get a professional in to install your garden fence ideas. 'Installing a fence requires skill, care, knowledge about the ground conditions, product insight and attention to detail and safety,' explains Leigh Barnes of Jacksons Fencing. 'Poorly installed fencing can result in a lack of security and stability, especially when the weather turns for the worse.'
'It could even lead to problems with your neighbors and your local council if poorly or improperly installed. We would recommend, if you are installing fencing yourself without the use of a professional, to research advice on boundary disputes.' Leigh also suggests to look into common garden boundary permissions and laws when installing fencing, gates, or garden decking. One of the benefits of hiring a professional fence installer is that they will already know the laws, best practice and how to appropriately install the system, he explains.
However, if you're feeling confident, or are looking to replace a single panel or two, then our guide on how to install fence panels is a good place to start.
What type of fence lasts the longest?
'Depending on the end function the fence may serve, there are several fence materials available,' says Leigh Barnes of Jacksons Fencing. 'They all serve different purposes and so you may feel overwhelmed with options. As you compare wood fences, vinyl fences, wrought iron fences, and more, it's important to think about longevity and what your requirements from the fence really are. This will help you find the best investment for your short-term and long-term goals.'
However, Leigh states that whatever fence you choose, correctly-sourced materials and high-quality installation are key factors for ensuring that it lasts.
Take wood, for example. Wooden or timber fencing is the most common type of fencing, says Leigh, and it fits many different types of settings regardless of a home's style or neighbourhood. If properly maintained and treated, it can can last for 30 years or longer depending on the environment it is installed into.
'Pressure treated softwood timber which is destined to be used outside in the ground, such as fence posts, will in most cases outperform a comparable product that has not been pressure treated,' Leigh says.
What's more, you need to think about the impact that weather can have on your fence. 'A full assessment of the site is vital, taking into consideration factors like terrain and local weather patterns, because often poorly installed fencing will result in wind damaged fencing that needs replacing,' Leigh continues. 'For timber fencing to stand the test of time, the initial fence installation involves thorough preparation, safety precautions and detailed aftercare.'
Looking for more ways to make your garden features last? Find out how to clean outdoor furniture and keep it in top condition with our guide.
What can I put up instead of a fence?
If you're still not sold on garden fence ideas, there are other options for marking boundaries. How about a living fence, for starters? Use box or yew for neatly clipped hedges, or perhaps laurel or beech are more your style. You can also use bamboo.
If you're not strictly after height, lavender is a lovely choice for a fragranced zone divider. You can find out how to plant a lavender hedge in our guide.
You could also consider stone garden wall ideas. Plant alpines into nooks and crannies for extra interest.
Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She's spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes and gardens – long enough to see interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement, both indoors and out, and it's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, so she's a serial house revamper.
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