10 ways to brighten your fence

Garden fences are a reality of life but that doesn’t mean they have to be an eyesore or boring.

By Steve Lowe

Garden fences are a reality of life but that doesn’t mean they have to be an eyesore or boring.

You can use to brighten your border with a variety of approaches. Conventional methods to hide an ugly fence, including bamboo screens, vinyl panels and fast-growing vines. Or, you can give your garden an additional splash of colour with a lick of paint.

For those who are more artistic, consider a mural that captures the atmosphere of the local area. It can be a great idea for homes near the coast or on rural blocks.

If you are preparing your property for sale, you need to consider how artistic you wish to get. It is easy to alienate a potential buyer by going over the top.

Here 10 tips to brighten up an old fence:

1.Use plants for a screen – Dense natives such as lilly pilly and syzygium australe pinnacle make great hedges that will hide an ugly fence and offer seasonal reds and browns during springtime growth.

2.Grow a vine – It will soften the lines of your fence line and, depending on the species, produce flowers or fruit. They need to be maintained because vines can go pretty crazy if not pruned back from time to time.

3.Combine a trellis and vine – If you have a wooden fence, it is relatively easy to attach a trellis. This will immediately add texture and depth to your fence. With some judicially placed climbing plants, you will soon hide the fence. Canna lillies, pentas and zinnias love a trellis to climb.

4.Place planters and hanging baskets – There are few easier ways to soften the impact of a bland fence line. It won’t hide the fence completely but will improve the overall impression of the garden. Remember, planters and hanging baskets require regular watering. Sweet potato vine and Swedish ivy are excellent choices, as they have lovely flowers and trail down elegantly from the pots.

5.Moss grows on fences in shade – If you have a wooden fence that gets a lot of shade, you can create a concoction to spray or paint on your fence that will encourage moss to grow. You need is a few clumps of moss to mix in a blender with equal measures of water and buttermilk. Then, spray or paint it on the fence. You can create patterns, if that’s your thing, and will see the moss grow within a few months.

6.Give it a splash of colour – A grey or blond timber fence can be so boring, so add a fun additional element to your garden by painting a colour that will “pop” among the green and brown of foliage. Yellow is the first colour the eye sees, so that will “pop” more than any other. If you live in a coastal area, consider a light blue. More neutral colours include rusty reds, charcoals and deep greens.

7.Paint in patterns – Use a stencil to create a fun pattern across your fence. The Internet has an almost endless selection from which to choose. It’s best to paint the entire fence with a neutral colour and then go to work with the stencil and a bright colour or two.

8.Try a mural – This is a bridge too far for many but it’d be pretty easy to find a local artist who’d create a mural for a fee. Take care to choose a suitable theme. In a rural area, perhaps a landscape of farmland is appropriate.

9.Cover up with cladding – This is probably the most expensive option. Great choices include laser-cut metal screens, vinyl screens and bamboo or reed panels. For a more rustic appeal, try brushwood panels. These can be nailed or screwed into a battens attached to the fence. Make sure your fence can handle the weight.

10.Go for the weird and wonderful – Folks have used all sorts of ideas to brighten their fence. One idea is to nail kids’ gumboots to the fence and use them as planters. Another is to attach a pots to a fence and frame them with old picture frames.


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