Landscape Ideas for Back Yards Inside a Fence
By Shala Munroe
Fences serve practical purposes, such as keeping children and pets safe and giving your back yard privacy, but they aren't always attractive. Soften the look of the fence with plants and draw attention away from the fence with creative landscape design. Use the privacy offered by your fence to develop a personal oasis in your outdoor living space.
Soften the Edges
A fence creates a stark line in your back yard, showing where your property ends. Soften the edges of the fence line by planting trees and shrubs inside the fence. Place taller trees and plants along the fence line; dwarf trees are a good choice because they won't overwhelm small yards. Plant flowering or green shrubs in front of the trees or in between them, if you only have a few trees, to help your eye transition from fence to garden space.
Separate areas in your backyard landscape design using plantings. This creates small "rooms" in your yard, making it more functional and attractive. Line pathways with low plants or ornamental grasses to help separate areas. A seating area could overlook a kids' play area, while a pond could bring a peaceful water element to the yard.
Use your fence to take advantage of the vertical space in your back yard. Particularly in small back yards, this helps you bring color and life without taking up much of your yard. Plant climbing vines, such as clematis (Clematis spp.) or sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus), for fragrant flowers or Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) for a green backdrop. You can also hang flowering or foliage plants in baskets from the fence or use the fence to hold outdoor art.
Enjoy your fenced back yard all year by planting a combination of plants that put on a show at different times of the year. Evergreen plants and shrubs keep your yard looking alive all winter and help the fence blend into your garden design year-round. Spring-blooming perennials provide brilliant color as the weather warms, and trees, such as maple give you lovely fall shades. Some summer blooming plants, such as sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima), carry their color into the fall and mild winter. For more color in the winter, plant vegetables, such as flowering cabbage and rainbow chard, in your flower beds and along the pathways in your backyard garden.
Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.
Privacy Fence Landscaping
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Landscaping Ideas for Privacy
Add some seculsion to your yard with landscaping tips and tricks. Rely on hardscaping like fences and pergolas, or use privacy plants to create a screen garden. Here are privacy options that will add coziness and style to any yard, so explore and find what will make your yard feel complete.
Depend On a Tall Fence
Decorative and useful hardscape pieces and plantings soften the lines of a towering fence, like in this outdoor privacy idea. Simple detailing, including a wide cap piece, breaks up an otherwise overwhelming facade on an extra-tall fence. Hung on the fence, a decorative latticework sculpture serves as an outdoor-ready, artistic element. A low stone bench, with river rock collected on top and at the base, offers an additional seating spot. Near the base of the fence, lights provide a safety element and ambiance for nighttime gatherings. Groundcover and a midheight tree soften the geometric lines of the paved seating area. Keep your landscape private and secure with more tips.
Open Up For Privacy
A stripped-down fence and airy plants offer subtle garden screening in this front yard privacy idea. Two oversize urns planted with rhododendrons mark the transition from public face to private space. The open latticework fence offers a discrete but unmistakable barrier; bright green paint and wood framing gives it distinctive character. Double doors are a steadfast signal of a secluded area; the latticework details and wood inserts neatly complement the contrasting fence pieces. Lacy, branching trees gracefully arch up and over the decorative garden screen panels for a soft, protective canopy. A wispy groundcover of sweet woodruff softens the space between gravel pathway and fence.
Use Lattice as a DIY Garden Privacy Screen
A privacy fence and carefully chosen plants insulate a side yard. A clamoring vinehere, Boston ivysoftens hardscape edges and adds another layer of privacy. A door is a distinctive, uninterrupted signal of a private space; fitted with a small section of latticework, it includes a decorative element that repeats the design in the fence. While the fence's woodwork signals a secluded landscape, the lattice's open weave filters both sunlight and views. Low-growing shrubs, such as a dwarf globe blue spruce, provide a way to maintain a year-round, softscape barrier. A carefully chosen selection of plants and materialsriver rock, patterned pavers, variegated hostas, black-eyed Susansoffers low-maintenance beauty.
Plants and fence work in tandem to shield a front yard from view. A pergola can be a decorative piece and a privacy element; here, it's integrated into a fence. A few shrubs and plants, including coleus, soften the narrow stretch of space between pathway and house. Wisteria (a great privacy screen plant) works in tandem with the more substantial privacy elements, including the stucco fence, to offer a second layer of screening. Balanced on top of the pergola, a wide, shallow container contains trailing plants. Two materials in the fencestucco and wrought ironbreak up what could be a static facade.
Build your own pergola with these instructions.
An Artful Fence
Distinctive features play up the elegance of a private patio. Most every fence needs edges and cap pieces; here an edge shaped into a curve and a cap piece in the form of a pyramid offer visual accents. Several sizes of similarly styled containers, planted with sunny zinnias, can be moved into different positions within a secluded nook to offer another layer of privacy. A trimmed boxwood shrub supports the style of the fence and closes the gap between public and private spaces. Trees, including a Japanese maple, planted close to house and fence enclose the area overhead. Richly stained wood doors break up a large expanse of stucco on the fence.
Ready For Roses
A fence offers seclusion and a space for a pretty plant's blooms. Architectural details on hardscape elements can add visual interest to privacy elements. Here, a gentle curve keeps the eye moving along the top of the fence. Rambling plants, such as this climbing rose, are a pretty way to soften fences. The tight weave of the open latticework fence screens the view while allowing for good air movement and filtering light to the semiprivate yard. Grass that runs right next to a fence can prove difficult to mow; this backyard includes a wide berth, covered in gravel, to separate lawn and fence edge. Tall privacy trees and an elevated urn mark the end of the fence and continue the separation between public and private.
Solve your climbing rose blooming problems with these tips.
Create a Restful Nook
Use plants to cocoon a garden spot. This inexpensive backyard privacy idea uses existing natural elements. Trees are often used as a canopy over a quiet nook. Here, a pergola serves the same purpose. In place of the heavy-duty look of wood, a delicate metal DIY privacy fence shields two chairs and a table. Plants can complement each other and hardscape elements. In this nook, a burgundy Japanese maple pops against the yellow stucco and picks up the colors in the chair fabric. Lower growing plants, including a climbing hydrangea, envelop the seating area, giving the setting softscape "sides." Pretty blooms, including astilbe, get a boost by being planted in an elevated container.
Dress up a privacy barrier with accents. In a mostly hardscape section of the garden, mixing materials heightens visual interest. Here, pavers combine with river rocks and shredded wood for a distinctive edge. Garden ornaments, including an imaginative birdhouse planter and a series of bright purple paintings, adorn the fence. A pair of metalwork obelisks provides a spot for fast-growing privacy plants to clamor up. Staggered landscape elements, such as a raised bed, offer delightful garden details. A tall wood fence gets a pick-me-up with a simple latticework top.
A few plants and accents create a pretty, private nook. Instead of continuing a paved section of the garden all the way to a privacy fence, a small planted nook offers a focal point and a softer edge. A cluster of hydrangeas, distinctive in both foliage and big blooms, takes the focus off the functional but monotone fence.
Set on a stone pedestal, a showy urn moves the eye from the corner of the fence out toward the garden. Repeating patterns make the difference in even the simplest of landscapes. Here, the angles of the pavers are replicated in the angles of the corner bed. Tucked against the backdrop of the fence, two hanging baskets pick up the color of the blooms in the containers and in the ground.
There was a time you could kick back in glorious solitude right in your own backyard. Then the family next door cleared some trees on their lot. And on the other side, the neighbors’ new master suite includes a second-story deck with nice views—into your yard. Suddenly, you feel like you’re living in a fishbowl.
As larger houses occupy ever-smaller lots and the demand for outdoor living areas grows, privacy is at a premium. And it’s not just about prying eyes invading your space—you may want to shield your own view of your sunbathing neighbors and block out their chatter.
How Can I Get Privacy in my Backyard Without a Fence?
Fences are the usually the first solution that come to mind. But there are myriad ways to create privacy in your backyard without a fence too—from putting in perimeter plantings to stone walls, or garden structures.
10 Ways to Block Neighbors View of Your Backyard
To inspire you, here are our favorite backyard privacy ideas.
1. Staggered Wooden Boards
Staggered wooden boards are stained in soft shades of black, yellow, green, and red. They create a one-of-a-kind privacy fence softened by shrubs in front and a feathery tree canopy overhead.
2. Hedges for Privacy
This privacy landscaping idea can provide year-round screening and are typically not restricted by municipal ordinances limiting their height. Where space is tight, as in a side yard, fast-growing columnar evergreens like Italian cypress and arborvitae or a sheared privet hedge can provide a simple solution for separating adjoining yards or blocking sight lines out a kitchen window.
To plant a new privet hedge, create a trench two feet wide and two feet deep, space individual shrubs about 12 inches apart, and bring soil up to the branching trunk. Water deeply and frequently the first year, using drip irrigation. To thrive, these deciduous shrubs require a temperate climate and a homeowner willing to wield sharp shears as often as needed.
3. Layered Privacy Plantings
In larger yards, planting a mix of deciduous or evergreen trees, shrubs, and perennials creates a more naturalistic look, especially if you layer plants, grouping them in odd numbers. “Stagger evergreens in the background, and in the foreground step down the height with deciduous material to provide texture, depth, and color,” says Elliott Brundage, a landscape architect in Andover, Massachusetts.
Planting deciduous shade trees—which generally grow from 25 to 60 feet high, depending on the species—is a good way to obscure a neighbor's view from a second-story window or terrace. Positioned over a deck or patio, the canopy provides privacy and shade in the summer. In the winter, the trees' bare branches allow the sun to shine into the house.
4. Container Gardens for Deck Privacy
Potted plants such as arborvitae or clumping bamboo can be positioned to create a green screen around a raised deck seating area. Ideally, pots should be raised up on casters or made of lightweight materials so you can easily move them for parties or deck repairs.
5. Fences and Walls
Newly installed pools, patios, and playgrounds may require a visual buffer in a hurry. A 6-foot solid board fence is the quickest way to create privacy in your backyard year-round—just be sure to check local building codes regarding fence heights (and any other restrictions). It may also be the best solution in a side yard, where space is tight, since fences have a smaller footprint than plantings.
Board fences come in various styles to complement the architecture of your home, and you can stain them to match the house. “But while a privacy fence might solve the problem, it's not always the most aesthetically pleasing solution,” says Eric Sauer, a landscape architect in Dayton, Ohio. To break up the mass of a board fence, Sauer suggests adding an open lattice or baluster top, and planting flowering or evergreen shrubs in front to soften its solidity.
6. Stone Wall Topped with Fencing
Another option is to mount a shorter, 3- or 4-foot lattice or picket fence on top of a 2- or 3-foot stone wall. The wall, from a distance, is high enough to disrupt sight lines, while the openwork fence screens without feeling claustrophobic.
7. Masonry Walls with Ornamental Ironwork
Similarly, a masonry wall of stone or stucco that rises 5- or 6-feet-high feels less oppressive when windows are cut into it; often, ornamental ironwork can decorate such openings.
Michael Glassman, a Sacramento, California, landscape designer, searches garage sales for the fencing he incorporates into his clients' yards. He might use a $50 cast–iron section as a trellis for vines, fitting it with brackets to secure it to the side of a house. "As opposed to new ironwork, which can look generic, salvage has an old look that gives more permanence to the landscape," says Glassman.
8. Panels and Pergolas
Defined areas like small patios, outdoor kitchens, and decks are generally easier to screen than a whole yard. By building an enclosure around them, you can re-create the intimate feeling of eating or entertaining indoors, while still enjoying beautiful weather.
Enclosures may take the shape of a slatted-top wooden pergola covered with climbing vines on a patio or a pair of fixed lattice panels along two sides of a raised deck. Prefab iron gazebos can be set right on the ground and surrounded with potted vines and hanging baskets to fill some of the gaps.
9. Lattice, Wood Panels, and Ornamental Ironwork
Screens made from lattice, shutter like louvered wood panels, or sections of ornamental iron with anchoring posts can be set into the ground to enclose a cozy corner or make a U-shaped structure that preserves desirable views. For maximum flexibility, consider placing the post ends in lightweight planters with wheels; to anchor them, add concrete plugs to the feet or set the posts in gravel. That way, they can be moved around to create more open space when you're entertaining.
Semitransparent structures may not provide complete privacy, but they add a lot of visual interest to a landscape and allow natural light and breezes in. “They create a comforting sense of containment and a psychological buffer,” says Stephanie Hubbard, a landscape architect in Boston and TOH TV regular.
Using Fountains to Mask Noise
Even if you're not literally seeing eye to eye with the neighbors, you might still be close enough to hear their conversation. Or you may be bothered by intrusive traffic noise or buzzing AC compressors. In such cases, adding a fountain to your privacy plan can mask unwanted sounds with pleasant white noise. These range from off-the-shelf, plug-in units that sit on a table or hang on the wall to custom designs that become a major focal point.
Keep in mind that flowing water becomes louder the farther it falls and the more tiers it travels over. Michael Glassman, a landscape designer in Sacramento, California, warns that it's possible for a fountain to be too loud, which is just as disruptive as the noise you're trying to hide. “The sound of rushing water might be inviting when guests arrive, but you don't want to have to yell over the din at dinner,” says Glassman, who designed the wall and water feature shown here. All fountains have a recirculating pump, so if you get an adjustable one, you're sure to find a sound level that's soothing.
Ideas landscaping back fence
13 Landscaping Ideas for Creating Privacy in Your Yard
This rooftop environment in New York's Chelsea district belongs to a creative couple—a theatrical lighting designer and a costume designer/artist—who collaborated with Brooklyn-based architect Lynn Gaffney and her team. A large wood water tank on the rooftop serves as design inspiration for the adjacent trellis-like enclosure that has deliberately uneven spacing to adjust for privacy, sound, light filtration, and even keeping the couple's cats from escaping.
"Since this is an urban rooftop, the concern was that the two cats would run and fall off," Gaffney says. "So we had to measure their heads and make sure they couldn't fit through the screen. It's one of those things we never thought we'd do, but it worked." The cats love their outdoor freedom above their owners' loft, where they can safely admire a garden with trees, shrubs, vines, and container plants.
A lot of people would ask, why do we still need fence landscaping when it is already fenced? Well, we get that the fence is already functioning as it is but landscaping along a fence makes the yard more homey. As such, the role of the landscaping is to visually soften the space and make a more cohesive spot where everyone can enjoy the privacy of the fence.
If you are looking for some landscaping along a fence idea, here is a roundup of what you can do to make your yard more of a sweet spot.
In this article:
18 landscaping along a fence ideas
1. Lattice fence and bamboo drapes
Installing lines of lattice fence panels is one of the classic privacy fencing ideas out there. If you have a pergola for the added enclosure, you can plant small Chinese bamboo around the perimeter to create a draping effect for the pergola like this one.
2. Wood pallet roofing
To make a seamless enclosure with the fence walls as part of roofed space, you can install wood pallet roofing. Incorporate some slow-growing climbers to cascade down from the roofing. Also, let dense climbers fill the fence walls and add warm lighting for a cozier effect.
Related: 30+ Best Covered Patio Ideas and Designs Attached To House
3. Modern corner firepit
The fencing need not be ornate to make a beautiful landscape out of it. This one is built around the privacy lining of corrugated metal. For a modern look, lines of stones for elevation, a stone bench, gravel, and hardy bushes were placed to create a modern hardscape with a firepit as its focal point.
Related: 31+ Awesome Firepit Area Ideas For Your Outdoor Activities (Stone, Metal, Gas)
4. English cottage vibe
This farm style wooden fence is softened with simple landscaping elements composed of a slight soil mound lined with daffodils and other low growing plants.
Related: 50+ Stunning Cottage Style Garden Ideas to Create the Perfect Getaway Spot
5. Built-in planters
If you have tall wooden privacy fences like this one made of cedar, you can infuse built-in planters and fill the area covered by the fence with your favorite plants and flowers. This is just one built-in planter but just imagine what wonders it could do if there were more.
Related: 61+ Creative Garden Container Ideas To Follow For Success
6. Wrought iron fence landscaping
There is something imposing about wrought iron fencing so to make it more welcoming and softer, you can create a soil bed at the base and edge it with wood. On the soil bed, line different colorful flowering plants like this one.
Related: 31 Gorgeous Flower Bed Ideas to Try For Your Garden
7. Trellis style fences
You would not build a trellis style fence if you were not looking to make it a privacy fence using a dense arrangement of plants. Aside from the climbers in the trellis, you can also extend the greenery down to the pathway leading to the backdoor or the patio.
Related: 50+ DIY Patio Decoration Ideas For Spring & Summer
8. Concrete fencing
Like wood slatted fencing, you can also make the gaps in your concrete fencing useful by adding in thickets of dense flowering plants in between. You are not just filling the gaps here, but you are also creating more private concrete fencing.
9. Cozy decks
To invoke warmth and coziness for this wood backyard deck, privacy hedges were placed behind the wood fencing. The height of the hedges was taken advantage of to create a more enclosed and intimate enclosure. The string lights and complementing shrubs also added to the warmth of this space.
Related: 45+ Best Deck Lighting Ideas & Designs
It does not matter if you have wood or metal fencing. If you want to give one spot in the yard more focus, you can put up a vine trellis along the fence to give that spot more privacy. From there, you can build a small deck, surrounded by flowering plants to create an enclosure.
To add more angle to your fence, you can install a raised bed made of stone and use it as a fence border. In there, make a solid assortment of flowering plants and layers of greenery to create complementing tones for the yard.
Related: 68+ Creative and Cheap Garden Edging Ideas
Japanese contemporary walkway
We all love the zen vibe of Japanese architecture. This one features semi-private concrete fences. On both sides of the fence, from the entrance, to the walkway up to the curb leading to the main door, the landscape plants used along the edges of the concrete fence were maintained to give the home a cohesive contemporary look.
Related: 23 Best Concrete Driveway Ideas and Designs
Landscaping on one spot
When it comes to fence landscaping, it is okay to just focus on one spot. In this compact space, the landscaping along the fence was just concentrated on one side of the front yard. It is enlivened with green turfs, a low but pattern trimmed hedge and a birdbath in the middle.
This yard with perforated brick fencing transports one into the fresh mornings of Spanish or Tuscan outskirts. The fence landscaping includes lines of evergreen trees which frames the perimeter and an extended boxwood low hedging for the turf grass.
It perfectly complements the red bricks on the fence and along the walkway, making this a clean and classic yard design.
Whatever your fence is made of it will always be enhanced with an arbor. In this design, a wooden arbor placed on stone pillars and topped with vines and adorned with shrubs give this home entrance a whimsical vibe. The plant arrangement on both sides of the enclosure adds quaintness to this look.
Related: 30 Best Driveway Gate Ideas and Designs
Weathered coastal look
The weathered finish of this concrete wall was made more tropical and coastal by the pea gravel flooring and the lines of palm trees and high growing shrubs towering the fences. If you are into a coastal vibe, the minimalist fence landscaping in this look is all you really need.
Related: 16 Palm Tree Landscaping Ideas and Designs
Desert fence landscaping
If it is a mid-western style that you are thinking of doing for your fence landscaping, there is nothing more compared to the combo of stucco fencing and xeriscape elements.
This simple and compact fence landscaping only used different heights of cacti for the fence line and scattered bowl cacti in a gravel floor spread.
Related: 21+ Best Desert Backyard Ideas On A Budget
There is no limit to what you can incorporate on a wrought iron fencing. For this one, small pillars of stacked stone were lined in between the joints of the fence. A potted shrub is placed on top of each stacked stone and an assortment of flowering plants are lined at the base.
Featured here are the FAQs to fence landscaping that could help you in narrowing down your design for your fence.
What should I plant along my fence?
From climbers to shrubs and flowering plants, here are the favorite plants to put along the fence.
- Skip laurel
- Cherry laurel
- Red twig dogwood
- Hicks yew
- Chocolate vine
- Fan palm
How do you hide a fence with landscaping?
There are many ways to hide a fence with landscaping, but the most common methods would be the following:
- Install privacy panels
- Frame the perimeter with hedges or with climbers up on a trellis
- Build around a shady tree
- Create enclosures within the perimeter
- Create elevated terraces
- Choose good border plants
- Arrange wall planters or make raised garden beds
Can I grow ivy up my neighbor’s fence?
Whatever climber it is, if it evades your neighbor’s fence, you have to remove it. Other than that, ivies are quite evasive, and they are fast growers. While they are beautiful climbers, they can be a source of hassle in the long run.
Related: 24+ Types Of Ivy Plants With Pictures
Landscaping along the fence is probably a default process in yard beautification. At the same time, knowing that you can hide the fence is another layer of giving your home more privacy for intimate events done in the yard.
With the ideas that we have scored here, you are now, perhaps, more inspired to install one on yours. Just make sure that you are placing the right elements at the right place to have a standout fence landscaping.
Kimberly CrawfordSours: https://farmfoodfamily.com/landscaping-along-a-fence-ideas/
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