Garden fence ideas – define the edges of your garden and create a boundary

Our garden fence ideas will brighten your boundaries and add privacy, whether you are installing new fencing or updating those already in situ

Garden fence ideas featuring wooden fencing with esplanade fruit trees and wooden painted beehives in front.
(Image credit: Future / Mark Bolton)

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

Fencing defines the edges of our garden, and provides security and protection, as well as privacy. With the range of choice on offer there, is so much well-chosen garden fence ideas can do for your outdoor space.

Style is just as important as quality, so choosing the right material to fit with your other garden ideas is essential. There is an increasing demand for unfussy horizontal linear designs as opposed to the rustic look. 

Regardless of the size of the garden, clear boundaries, like fencing or garden wall ideas, will give a sense of privacy as well as a smart finish to your outdoor space. The right garden fence ideas are an attractive and relatively maintenance-free way of achieving this.   

Garden fence ideas

To get you started, we've rounded up the best garden fence ideas for functionality and style, to inspire you. 

1. Set up horizontal fencing

Slatted garden fence ideas with a black sunlounger, trees and long grasses.

(Image credit: Future / Mark Bolton)

Make a statement with horizontal screening, instead of a traditional fence. It creates a designer look commonplace in show gardens, and the timbers are ideal for supporting plants. Horizontal screens often go to the ground, but they can also be used to add height to an existing wall.   

If budgets are tight, there’s no need to install this type of fencing on every boundary; you could incorporate it into your patio ideas, or only use it close to the house.  

Use fencing like this to disguise untidy or unloved areas of the garden – it’s ideal for hiding recycling bins, compost heaps and the like. 

2. Install vertical fencing

Wooden garden fencing ideas with esplanade fruit trees and a white painted wooden beehive nestled in between low box hedges.

(Image credit: Future / Mark Bolton)

A sturdy, mid-budget option, individual vertical timbers are attached one at a time to cross-supports. It eliminates gaps, and is one of the best garden ideas for privacy. It also allows you to custom build to fill whatever space you have.   

Cut down on labour costs by buying pre-made panels. Attach them to timber posts in the same was as any other fence panel.  

If you want to add an element of greenery to your garden fence ideas, then you can attach wire or mesh to the fence as a support for climbing plants to give a distinctly modern feel. 

3. Consider trellis options

Trellis topped garden fencing either side of a corrugated steel garden room and square lawn surrounded by tulips.

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

Panels with integrated trellis might offer slightly less privacy initially, but the open, airy feel is undeniably elegant and perfect in small gardens like the narrow space above. They also present an ideal opportunity for climbers to interweave and create a more natural, green screen from neighbors. 

You could, of course, simply top a standard-height fence panel with trellis. This adds height without compromising too much on light. Either way, once climbers are established and growing, they will break up the look of the solid wood and help the fence to merge with the rest of the garden.

4. Think about windier days

An example of garden fence ideas with large hydrangeas and climbing plants growing up it.

(Image credit: Future / Colin Poole)

Unless you have a sheltered garden, a solid fence will suffer more than those with open trelliswork. 

The wind can blow through the holes of trellis, rather than battering it – which will ultimately weaken the fence.

5. Add a coat of paint

Painted garden fence ideas illustrated in yellow and green with a blue and red painted bench in front.

(Image credit: Future / James Merrell)

Outdoor paint will not only make your garden fence ideas look good, it will give the timber added protection, too. 

There are plenty of colors to choose from when it comes to fence decoration, but wood generally looks better in more natural shades. Pale colors will lighten a dark garden, while darker colors allow the fence to fade into the background. 

6. Go for an entirely natural garden fence

A natural wicker garden fencing idea behind a white parasol and white metal table and chairs.

(Image credit: Future / Brent Darby)

Create a rustic, cottage look with willow fencing. It has the feel of traditional wattle but the strength of a modern panel, and makes a beautiful backdrop for most plants.

Willow hurdles, framed willow or hazel screens offer a more natural look and suit informal garden settings, but they may not be as strong (or last as long) as a pressure-treated timber panel. 

However, these natural woven fences are made from cuttings which encourage growth, making this an environmentally sustainable choice.

7. Choose a tried-and-tested shiplap design

Gray shiplap garden fence ideas example, behind two potted trees, a cast iron lamppost and black wicker garden furniture

(Image credit: Future / Colin Poole)

Shiplap is the most popular type of ready-made fence panel, offering good value and plenty of sizes. It is usually supported by concrete or timber posts, and needs to be treated with wood preserver regularly.   

If your current shiplap design is looking a little tired, give it a makeover by painting it in a distinctive color, with themed planting.

8. Create a boundary with an evergreen hedge

Small round topiary on a lawn in front of three large box hedges.

(Image credit: Future / Mark Bolton)

Evergreens are perfect for creating a boundary for your property; the permanent leaf cover of evergreen hedges can do a great job of keeping humans and animals out (or in), if you’re not partial to a traditional fence or wall. 

Evergreens come in all shapes and sizes – from the tiniest alpines to the tallest trees, so you’ll have no trouble finding one (or many) to suit your plot. 

9. Pitch up a picket fence

White picked fence on a sandy beach, demonstrating garden fence ideas.

(Image credit: Future / Simon Scarboro)

A picket fence is usually used exclusively in front gardens, given their low height. However, they can be used for sectioning off areas in the backyard, such as obscuring unsightly bins. 

Picket fences are great for training plants up – and they also make good gateways for insects and small animals to pass through.

10. Invest in a design-conscious scheme

Modern, slatted garden fence ideas in a lawned garden, incorporating a matching garden room.

(Image credit: Future / Annaick Guitteny)

A favorite in the design world right now, horizontal slatted fencing is having something of a moment. 

This garden, designed by Lucy Wilcox (opens in new tab) uses boundaries as art to create a garden that beautifully blends modernity with family-friendly functionality. 

‘I couldn’t just create a show garden, because it had to work as a practical family space, but I didn’t want it to look like a playground either,’ she says. She solved the conundrum with a design that embraced strong lines. Here, the fence is connected to the playroom for an element fluidity. It is a simple yet clever design.

What is the best fence for a garden? 

The best fence for a garden is one that will suit your surroundings, but also fits in with your chosen design aesthetic.

Privacy is a key consideration when considering garden fence ideas, as are aesthetics – is there a neighbouring building or shed that you want to screen off? How high can you go? 

Slatted wooden garden fence idea with climbers and a curved wooden bench.

(Image credit: Future / Annaick Guitteny)

While there are many things to consider, it is worth starting out with the right materials.

We suggest using fencing materials best suited to the style of garden you have. For example, use stone, concrete and sleek wood panels for urban gardens, and willow, timber and hedges for traditional or cottage-style gardens.

How can I make a garden fence look good? 

It is incredibly easy to make garden fence ideas look good, no matter what your budget may be.

If you inherit fences that you don’t like the look of, but don’t have the budget to replace, do not despair. Instead, think of it as a planting opportunity and look to flower bed ideas

Chain link fences make great trellises; plant a vigorous ramping rose with honeysuckle and evergreen clematis, and your unattractive fence will soon disappear under a fragrant wild boundary that wildlife and birds will enjoy.

An example of garden fence ideas with climbing pink roses growing up, along with a green metal bench.

(Image credit: Future / Mark Bolton)

Maintenance is another important factor to consider if you want to keep your fence looking good many years from now. Give fences an annual MOT to check that there are no loose boards, panels or posts that need repairing. 

While most fencing material is pressure treated wood, it can help to prolong the life of your fences if you apply a good timber care treatment. 

What can I use instead of a fence?

If a traditional garden fence ideas are not on your bucket list, fret not. There are many other options you might want to consider if you want to create a boundary.

Long grasses, raised vegetable beds and a greenhouse with box hedges as a boundary.

(Image credit: Future / Mark Bolton)

A living screen and archway in the form of scented climbers makes for an informal border in a country-style garden. 

‘Wirework trellis panels offer the best support for plants to grow, creating an evergreen boundary that doubles as a habitat for birds, butterflied and bees,’ says Hilary Thurman of Garden Requisites (opens in new tab). Wildlife-friendly varieties include dog roses, honeysuckles and wisteria.

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.