Does your backyard's fence need an update? Then these garden fence decoration ideas can help. Fences are an important part of a plot: they define the boundaries, they boost the feeling of privacy, and they keep pets and kids safely inside (and unwanted visitors out). In fact, we'd go as far as to say that garden fence ideas are one of the most practical aspects of a backyard – that is, unless, you'd prefer to opt for a wall. However, they don't have to be all function over form. With a bit of creativity, you can have the best of both worlds. And it doesn't have to cost a fortune, either.
Even if you've gone for the plainest fence on the market, there are simple ways to put your stamp on it. See it as a blank canvas, full of opportunity. You can personalize it with color, for starters – a great way to help it harmonize with your plot. But there are other things you can try with pretty accessories and lighting, to transform it into a stunning feature.
Garden fence decoration ideas: 13 ways to give yours a stylish makeover
We've rounded up 13 easy-to-achieve garden fence decoration ideas below. Whatever your budget or preferred backyard style, we think you'll find something to inspire.
1. String up festoons for a laid-back look
Tall privacy fence ideas are great for urban plots: they give a backyard a feeling of exclusivity even if there are neighbors on all sides. However, all that height can make them seem somewhat imposing, especially in smaller spaces. Well, garden fence decoration ideas can help to soften the look.
This sturdy modern screen already has an inviting appeal due to its warm timber tones (and we love how the soft textiles have been chosen to match). But, a string of festoons, swagged merrily across its panels, adds even more to the look. Not only do they offer laid-back festival vibes and an ambient glow come dusk, but they also distract the eye by breaking up the stretch of space behind.
'Fairy lights and festoons are the perfect addition to your garden fence as they are so versatile,' says the team at Lights4fun. 'If you're looking to give your outdoor space a more relaxed, natural feel, choose charming fairy lights adorned with bees and dragonflies intertwined along the rails, instantly bringing your garden to life.'
2. Match the color to your plants
If you've taken a look at our garden color schemes guide, you may have already settled on a palette for your plot. Perhaps, as in this scene, you've focused on a specific theme for your planting – cool-toned lupins, geraniums, and eryngium, for instance.
But why not go one step further? Extending the color scheme to your fence isn't tricky but can have dazzling results. It's a great approach for the backdrop of a border.
Alternatively, rather than choosing the same shade, you could go for something contrasting instead. Dark tones are useful for making greens and vibrant blooms pop, for instance. Or, you could make a bolder statement by choosing opposites on the color wheel – think an ochre-yellow backdrop against bright purple alliums and verbena, for instance, or azure blue against orange geums.
3. Train climbing plants up a trellis
Trellis ideas for gardens are a great approach to fencing. Left as they are, they allow light and air to flow through whilst still providing stylish definition to a zone. However if you're after a bit more privacy (and a leafier view), it's simple to train some of the best climbing plants up and over for a more robust screen. This can be straight from in-ground beds beneath, or in tall planters as shown here. Go for scented varieties to up the ambience further.
There are other garden fence decoration ideas that you can try with trellises too, such as hanging lanterns or bunting from the battens, or even hooks for suspending cute signs or planters from.
Already got a fence in place? You can simply attach a smaller trellis panel straight onto it, ready to be accessorized to your heart's content.
4. Get creative with hues
We mentioned color as a backdrop for your planting, but that's not where the options end. As this gorgeous design shows, you can use the best exterior wood paint to make your fence a main character in your plot, rather than simply a supporting act.
For garden fence decoration ideas like these, it's best to go for a palette of complementary hues. This will prevent the look from overwhelming a space.
Matthew Brown, Technical Consultant of Sadolin and Sandtex, shares his tips: 'When space is at a premium and flora and foliage are used sparingly such as in a small yard, the use of distinctive bold shades, such as blues and greens, can enliven and energize a space.' This gives the perception of it appearing larger, while also making it look more personal and impactful, he explains.
'For a thoughtful and balanced look, make sure you include more neutral shades, such as white or grey,' Matthew adds.
You could try out a stencil, too, for extra personalization points. They're a budget-friendly approach with a luxe result, and you don't have to be blessed with artistic tendencies. However, avoid picking a style that's overly fussy. 'Fences can be quite uneven and textured, so when it comes to selecting a stencil it is best to choose a big design,' says a spokesperson for The Stencil Studio. 'By that I mean nothing with too much small detail that can get lost in the texture of the fence.'
5. Add stylish shelves
If you're looking to boost the practicality of your plot, then garden storage ideas are a must. But stylish shelves can also be used as part of a decorative display.
This set-up is full of stunning features to create an interesting gallery-wall scene above a simple potting bench. The industrial-inspired shelves are ideal for supporting potted plants and other garden bits and bobs, whilst simple hooks provide extra space to hang both practical and pretty items.
The small dovecote is a lovely touch too, whilst the palette of cool silvery blues keeps it all looking chic and on-trend.
6. Double up the views with a mirror...
We love the use of garden mirrors in a backyard. They're a simple yet oh-so-effective way of giving a blank wall or fence a boost. And, they're great at doubling up the view to expand on a feeling of space.
Plus there are plenty of styles to choose from. Whether you want to go for a gothic look, a multi-paned design or something more simple, you're bound to find garden mirror ideas that work in your plot.
An ornate look like this has particularly caught our eye though. Secured to a salmon-pink fence, it adds bags of character to an outdoor sideboard or shelf, and would work well behind a garden bar, too.
7. ...or attach lots of little ones
Has the thought of garden mirrors got you feeling inspired? Then here's an alternative approach: instead of opting for one large design, choose lots of little ones.
Go for a mix of ornate designs, and attach to an inky-toned fence for an eclectic vibe with a touch of boho. Pair with architectural foliage, moody-toned accessories, and statement furniture to complete the look.
Keep an eye out for other small treasures to add to your garden fence decoration ideas too – think terracotta ornaments or mobiles made from shells of driftwood for example. That way you can curate an attractive display over time that feels personal to you, plus spreading the costs out is good if you're after cheap garden ideas.
8. Create eye-catching vignettes
With the right accessories, any blank stretch of fencing can be transformed into a stylish standalone scene.
Here, what would have been a dull and shady spot is now an uber-cool vignette. All it took was a string of rattan lighting and hanging baskets of succulents, which complement the sleek panels behind well. The look is made complete by a small bar cart beneath, topped with a potted plant. Simple yet effective.
9. Fix a bird house to your fence
For all ages, it's lovely to welcome feathered friends into your plot. And along with bird feeders and baths, bird house design ideas will do just that. It helps that there are tons of stunning looks on the market now too – from whimsical styles to contemporary.
We like the simplicity of this one though, against a matching fence that's been treated with a pale stain. The miniature green roof adds tons of charm, and complements all the fresh verdant planting in front. Overall, it's a soothing scene that would work beautifully in almost any sized plot.
10. Suspend planters from smaller fences
If your fences are on the lower side – perhaps surrounding a raised deck or even a balcony – there are still ways to give them an extra boost of character.
Attaching garden planter ideas is one of the best solutions for smaller spaces like these as will enable you to grow more of the things you love without taking up floor space. Pick beautiful blooms or aromatic herbs, and if you're after a low-maintenance fix, then choose self-watering containers.
Having them up closer to eye-level also means that the view (and the fragrance) from a nearby seating spot will be enhanced.
11. Add paper pom-poms for a party
Of course, your garden fence decoration ideas don't have to be permanent features. If you're throwing a party and looking for ways to make it feel extra special, then there are plenty of options to choose from.
Bunting, balloons and banners are all failsafe picks, but these honeycomb paper pom-poms have a slightly more elevated appeal. We love the use of ribbons too – that way you can also tie them to surrounding trees.
Our garden decor ideas feature has lots more party-planning inspo.
12. Try a touch of tropical
If you're going for tropical garden ideas for your backyard, then something like this might be the perfect finishing touch. They'll instantly add a sense of fun to a dull old fence, and will light up the scene invitingly come nightfall.
Pair with a colorful parasol and plenty of structural foliage for added jungle-style charm, and perhaps a fire pit for extra coziness. Then all you need to do is invite round the guests and serve up some piña coladas.
13. Upcycle tin cans for a cheap and cheerful update
Want to introduce fence decoration ideas into your plot without having to splash the cash? Then this is a brilliant solution. And it's the perfect DIY project to do for a weekend afternoon.
All you need is a few washed-out tins, some spray paint, and some wire. Carefully punch out holes for drainage (if you plan to fill them with plants), or to make decorative designs for light to shine through (if using as lanterns). A top tip is to fill them with water first, then freeze, so that they don't buckle as you do this.
If you don't have a trellis to tie them to, you can always add some small hooks to your fence to suspend them from instead. And if you like the idea of lanterns but are wary about open flames? Opt for LED candles.
Our DIY patio ideas feature has more fun projects to try.
More top tips for decorating a fence
- Consider a living wall – just like the look shown above, a living wall will always make a striking impression and can easily hide an ugly fence. Look for planters that can be slotted together for a low-maintenance approach.
- Add a topper – there are plenty of fence toppers available on the market which can quickly update a dull fence. Whether you go for a trellis design or something more ornate, it will draw the eye upwards. And, in most cases, it'll be cheaper than replacing the entire thing.
- Attach an ornate screen – whether made from powder-coated steel, Corten steel, or composite material, an ornate screen can easily give a fence a boost.
- Disguise it with trees – if you want to hide a fence, then consider training espaliered trees along it. If you go for the classic picks of apple or pear, you'll have delicious fruit in fall and blossom in spring.
- Add a bug hotel – thinking about bringing more wildlife garden ideas into your yard? Then consider a bug hotel. They're fun to build (take a look at our guide on how to make a bug hotel for guidance), and smaller designs can look lovely suspended on a fence.
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.
Take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch 2023 to save our feathered friends
Gardens Watching garden visitors for just one hour in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2023 could help provide vital data to protect birds from the effects of climate change
By Jayne Dowle Published
Do you need to chit potatoes? Find out what the experts say
Grow Your Own Learn how to chit potatoes before planting them in the ground and you’ll be on your way to getting an earlier and bigger harvest
By Drew Swainston Published