Fence decorating ideas – use plants, paint and lighting to combine practicality with style

We've sourced the best fence decorating ideas – from paint to planting - to prove that fences do not have to be dull.

Fence decorating ideas with mirrors and plants.
(Image credit: Future / Annaick Guitteny)

Looking for fence decorating ideas for your front garden, backyard or even patio space? Then you've landed on the right page.

While a fence is traditionally used to define a boundary and provide security, that doesn't mean garden fence ideas can't also be beautiful and useful in other ways. 

Fencing provides an ideal backdrop for plants, as well as protecting the garden from the extremes of winter weather. 

What's more, according to a recent national survey conducted across independent estate agents, having a well-maintained fence is a great way to ensure you sell your house quickly and secure a top price for your property. 

Fence decorating ideas

To get you started, we've rounded up the best garden fence decorating ideas, that combine functionality with style and will complement your other garden ideas perfectly.

1. Give your fence a modern look

Fence decorating ideas showing a modern fence with mirror and cacti.

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

If you are after a contemporary appearance, then we recommend choosing fence panels with a pale-wood finish. To stop your fence looking dull, hang an outdoor mirror to reflect sunlight and add interest to your patio. 

This is also a smart trick if you're looking for small garden ideas that will make a compact space appear bigger. You'll be surprised – and amazed – by the difference a mirror can make to any room – indoors and out.

2. Set up raised beds against a fence

A picket fence with raised antique sleeper flower beds in front.

(Image credit: Future / Polly Eltes)

Raised flower bed ideas offer endless possibilities for growing crops and flowers, and they are so easy to include into any garden. 

Position raised beds against a garden fence and watch as your plants and flowers cling to the rails and trellis. Beautiful.

3. Turn your fence into a vertical garden

A tall garden fence with living wall of plants and rattan garden furniture on a patio below.

(Image credit: Future / James Merrell)

Turn a simple garden fence into a living wall. Springing up over vertical surfaces everywhere, green living wall ideas can keep buildings cool, improve air quality, reduce noise and act as a magnet for wildlife. It's a no-brainer. 

4. Paint a picket fence

Fence decorating ideas featuring a picket fence painted in white, yellow, green and blues.

(Image credit: Future / Alun Callender)

Paint a picket fence to add vibrancy to the front of your home. And, if you are feeling brave of heart, opt for a multitude of colors for added interest. 

Outdoor paint will not only give your garden fence personality and charm, it will also give the timber added protection – making this a beautiful and practical idea for garden gates, too.

5. Opt for mixed materials

Garden fence decorating ideas with stone and wood behind a bright orange raised bed with brass sculpture.

(Image credit: Future / David Woolley)

Mix fencing materials for distinctly unique fence decorating ideas. 

Here, stone and wood have been combined in a criss-cross-style arrangement. This has been done not just for the effect, but also for practical reasons, too. Stone will endure a good soaking from the outdoor shower – far better than any wood. 

With a modern garden fence like this, the emphasis is on quality natural materials with an innate beauty of their own.

6. Drape a trellis with climbing flowers

A trellis fence with climbing sweet pea flowers.

(Image credit: Future / Colin Poole)

There’s a wide choice of trellis sizes and shapes with lattice or square patterns in wood or willow, making them useful garden screening ideas

Attractive in their own right, trellises also look beautiful draped with climbers.

7. Light up a garden fence

Globe fairy lights illustrating fence decorating ideas on a wooden fence.

(Image credit: Future / Colin Poole)

Battery or solar powered outdoor fairy lights are easily wrapped in and around fence, trellis or even hedges and trees for a whimsical effect. 

Outdoor string lighting ideas are wonderful for when the sun goes down.

8. Take your fence decorating ideas to the next level with color

Fence decorating ideas in dark green behind a white table with white and pink painted chairs.

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Bring an extra splash of color to your outdoor space by pepping up fence panels with paint. Go as bold as your dare with the color choice – this is your chance to really express yourself.

Before you start, the wood has to be dry, so tackle the job when no rain is forecast for a few days. Avoid very hot days, though, as the sun will dry out the paint before it’s had time to generate the wood properly.

9. Use roses to hide an old fence

An example of roses used as fence decorating ideas in a lawned garden.

(Image credit: Future / Dan Duchars)

Use climbing roses as beautiful fence decorating ideas to disguise a rickety or old garden fence. 

Over the past 20 years, climbing roses have bounced back into popularity, and the market has responded with a range of excellent new varieties. There’s nothing wrong with the old ones, but the breeders have improved upon them by offering larger flowers, healthier foliage and more manageable growth. 

This is where such roses as Aloha, Compassion and Penny Lane belong. They are generally healthier and larger-flowered than the old ramblers. 

10. Do away with solid fence panels

Fence decorating ideas in a modern garden with slatted fence panels and granite steps.

(Image credit: Future / Annaick Guitteny)

If your property is not overlooked, so you don't need garden privacy ideas, you may not wish to erect solid fence panels. This slatted fence is a softer approach to setting the boundaries of a garden, without making it feel too enclosed. 

The slim gaps between the slats allow a glimpse of the greenery beyond, in a sense extending the view of the garden – while still framing the grounds. Allow ivy to thread between the slats for added impact and greenery.

How do you decorate a garden fence?  

Small hanging pots on a fence, filled with trailing plants or annual displays, look bright and cheerful, and enable you to ring the changes through each season. 

You can use smaller window boxes or hanging troughs. Fix directly to the fence or wall, or use a grid to hang them from, but watch the weight. Vertical garden kits offer another planting option for your fence decorating ideas. 

We also recommend that you give wildlife a helping hand, too. Walls and fences can be good for the eco-system. Flowering climbers provide food for bees, moths and butterflies, while denser coverings, such as a wall clad in ivy or Virginia creeper, can also offer potential nesting sites for birds and are a natural home for smaller insects. 

If you prefer your boundaries to be climber-free, insect hotels and bird boxes make attractive and useful decorations.

How do you disguise a fence?

To camouflage a wooden or unsightly fence, or concrete posts, you can use fence decorating ideas such as fixing hanging baskets or small pots to it using specially design clip-on fittings. 

Alternatively, plant climbers, and cover posts and fences with chicken wire to give the plants a framework to attach themselves to. 

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.