Imagine yourself walking down a quiet, residential lane, on a warm, sunny day. Running your fingers through lovely flowers, as they peek through the fence, releasing their fragrance. Do you dream of having those types of heavenly plants grow along your fence line? Don’t know where to start?
Here, I’ll show you some lush, colorful plant varieties, making them some of the best plants to grow along fence lines. You’ll see combinations that provide color and texture in every season, add architectural interest to your outdoor spaces and even create privacy in urban and suburban settings.
- Best Plants For Fence Line Landscaping
- What To Plant Along Fence Line
- Low-Maintenance Plants For Fence Line
- Climbing Plants To Grow Against A Fence
- Verdict: What To Plant Along Fence Line
Best Plants For Fence Line Landscaping
What will determine the best plants to grow along your fence is the purpose they will ultimately serve. Perhaps your goal is to simply add beauty to the front of your property. Or you’re looking to cover a bare fence, between you and your neighbor, that’s lacking in personality.
Maybe you need some privacy from those neighbors, and there’s a limit on how tall fences can be in your town. No matter your goal, keep reading for some fantastic solutions to some common fence line landscaping quandaries!
What To Plant Along Fence Line
Now, we’ll look at a few different categories for fence line plantings, the purpose they serve, and how easy they are to take care of.
For privacy or to cover an unsightly fence, you’ll want something tall and densely growing. For continual color, look for flowers that bloom in different seasons. Fence color also makes a big difference in how your new plantings appear.
Low-Maintenance Plants For Fence Line
Let’s start with some lovely “no-fuss” plants that add a touch of elegance and color along wooden or iron fences.
As long as they have adequate sunlight, water, and nutrients, climbers will sprawl their way across your fence. And shrubs can quickly blend together for a solid hedge that changes color with the seasons. Just plant them and let them grow.
(Prunus laurocerasus ‘Jong 2’)
Hardy in zones 5-10, this evergreen shrub presents gradient shades of green foliage, right through winter. With plumes of white flowers, with a sweet, nutty fragrance that develop dark red berries in autumn.
These are tolerant of cold climates and require very little maintenance. Making this a great choice for beginner landscapers.
Despite its name, this graceful climber is anything but common. Aromatic blooms harken spring’s arrival. Followed by lush, heart-shaped leaves, in summer.
A long period of winter dormancy is required for buds to develop and mature properly. But, once in bloom, Lilacs will easily soften the hard lines of any fence or railing with their complementary textures and color.
Climbing Plants To Grow Against A Fence
If you’re looking for rapidly-growing climbers, then these two eye-catching options are for you. Deciduous vines offer dense coverage with vividly-colored foliage in summer and thick, dark vines that add architectural interest, in winter.
Blooming creepers up the wow factor with exotic color, structure, and fragrance. No plant is more perfect to spruce up fences than those that were born to climb and cover.
(Passiflora edulis ‘Possum Purple’)
The colorful passion flower offers brilliant color, fragrance, and fresh produce! This tropical-looking climber can withstand temperatures down -20°C (-4°F) and spread at an astounding rate of 20’ in a single growing season!
Multi-colored blooms span three inches across and trail leathery-green leaves from summer to fall. Giving way to deliciously tart fruit that develops in color from copper to deep purple as it ripens.
When planted along your fence line, the Virginia creeper will prove quite the enthusiastic climber, at a rate of 30’ per year.
Bright green leaves fade into gorgeous fall color with tiny, summer flowers that produce deep purple berries. While not edible, they add visual interest in fall and early winter.
Flowering Shrubs To Plant Along Fence
When it comes to choosing what to plant along your fence line, you’re not limited to vining bloomers and creepers. These next two options are famous for their color, fragrance, and visual impact as low-maintenance shrubs.
The luxurious bougainvillea, growing along fences and up the sides of buildings, is a common sight in warm, equatorial regions. Growing at an impressive rate of 30’ per year, these can quickly grow into privacy hedges.
A unique feature of this eye-catching plant is that its abundant color doesn’t come from its flowers (which are tiny and white) but from its bracts. Which come in Fushia, purple, white, and orange, from early spring to mid-autumn.
Considered a night bloomer, the flowers on the Star Jasmine open in the evening, as temperatures decline. Filling the air with the sweetest fragrance. Brilliant white flowers, which are paired with yellow centers in some varieties, bloom profusely from early spring to mid-summer in hardiness zones 8-11.
The trailing vines of this plant will quickly cover any fence with a backdrop of glossy green leaves. Allowing you to plant other complimentary bloomers or evergreens in front of it, for added enjoyment.
Perennials are usually cold-hardy and will emerge in spring, year after year. Many do well in warm climates, too. The biggest benefit is their cost-effective nature. Saving you the expense, not to mention the manual labor, of having to plant new ones along your fence line every season.
For a dynamic look, choose plants of different heights, colors, and textures. Placing them tallest to shortest, starting 3’ from your fence. This will give them enough room to grow and thrive.
Character and interest in shade borders come from diverse foliage colors, textures, and shapes. From dark olive to soft green to eye-catching neon. With small pops of bright color rising from well-placed plants. Consider the broad leaf hosta, or choose from the many different types of ferns.
Full Sun Border
Bright, happy, perennial flowers blooming in full sun can turn an old, faded fence into the backdrop of a masterpiece. Thoughtful plant choices can ensure color in every season, including winter.
Singular Plantings in Full Sun
Or you could go for one prolific bloomer all the way down your fence line. Some are climbers and creepers, as we’ve seen. While others are shrubs. The following two options put on a spectacular show, from spring through fall.
(Azalea x ‘Conlec’)
Autumn Royalty azaleas produce soft purple flowers, in zones 6-10, for 9 months of the year. These are very low-maintenance, aside from occasional pruning. and once a season application of Azalea fertilizer.
Use Tall Grasses
Wild grasses are highly versatile and can be used as colorful, swaying screens against fence lines or as focal points on a border. No matter how you use them, their graceful texture and growing behavior will add drought and heat-tolerant elements to your garden.
For big impact with little effort, the color on this pink muhly grass lasts for months, in zones 6-9. Gives the appearance of a light pink mist, when planted en masse, against dark green reed-like foliage. Imparting an ethereal, high-end look along fences and railings.
(Miscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’)
In zones 5-9, adagio grass provides year-round interest with silvery-green, spear-shaped leaves in spring. And dense clumps of wispy, pale-peach fronds appear in summer. Extending out from arching, light green stems, last right through winter, even as the foliage retreats. This is low-maintenance and thrives in just about any soil type.
Nothing is more beautiful for creating privacy than living, breathing walls of green. Fence function, alone, is limited and in residential areas, there’s usually a legal cap on height. An imposed limit on how tall trees can grow is rare, though. Take a look at these stunning tree options.
(Prunus virginiana ‘Canada Red’)
Canadian Chokecherries impart vibrant color to fence line landscapes in zones 3-8. Lush green foliage, on upward-mobile branches, reveals snow-white blossoms in spring, which develop into juicy, edible fruit. Growing in to provide fullness and privacy in summer, foliage fades the color of fine, burgundy wine.
(Bambusa textilis gracilis)
The Graceful Bamboo, with its arching stalks, tipped with bright green fronds, thrives in zones 8-11 and provides fullness, height, and texture. This low-maintenance bamboo variety is the perfect, non-invasive choice for fence line plantings.
Fence Line Landscaping Ideas
Putting the functional aspect of fence line landscaping aside, consider what aesthetic you’re going for. Cottage? Minimalist? Lots of color or monochromatic?
Once chosen, it’s time to pick your plants and decide how to place them. Check out these gorgeous design ideas!
Here, “green” can reference a color palette or plant choices that are drought tolerant and low-maintenance. This is known as xeriscaping. Let’s take a look at some inspiring examples of both.
Varying colors, textures, and heights endow this fence line with beauty and interest. To replicate this, choose plants that are relatively drought-tolerant and mulch them with two visually appealing materials that promote moisture retention.
Fence lines with a mix of sun and shade, give you the opportunity to mix a variety of plant types in the same fence line border. Complimentary floral colors magically pop against a sea of green hues.
Paint A Dark Fence Backdrop
Instead of hiding your fence with plants, why not change its color to create a stunning backdrop? Few plants may then be needed, making your landscaping project far less costly.
A natural wood fence, whether old or new, can be quite charming. Sealing it with a good varnish will protect it, as it blends seamlessly with other natural plantings.
In contrast, blue fences are making a splash in the design world. As a backdrop for complimentary plantings, these will visually blend in, as they reflect the color of the sky, on a clear or cloudy day.
This is the “little black dress” of landscape design. Simple, classy, and a great fit. Black, a neutral color, imparts a modern element to outdoor spaces (think modern farmhouse) and holds up better against the weather than most other colors.
Create Cohesive Borders
Repeating elements are a hallmark of good landscape design. To achieve a cohesive look, you can use the same plant all across your fence line. As long as similar visual elements are repeated elsewhere, to bring the whole space together.
Cohesion in a fenced-in space can be achieved with as few as nine plant varieties. Repetitive groupings with varying, complimentary, colors and shapes will lead the eye around. Creating the illusion of a larger space.
Here, the same concept is applied to a monochromatic color pallet. Where interest is created using different textures, foliage shapes, and color shades.
Grow A Tall Formal Privacy Screen
So, we’ve talked about color, texture, and repetitive placement. But, what if you just want a nice, tall privacy screen? I have two fantastic recommendations that provide just that. With low-maintenance and fast-growing features, to boot.
The Leyland cypress gives a natural-looking, regal appearance to your privacy border. With upward-growing sprays of vibrant green foliage, that reach heights of 60 – 70 feet, in maturity. At a growth rate of 4’ per year.
(Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’)
Spartan Junipers are a popular choice as a fast-growing privacy hedge. Thick branches, with dense, green foliage, stay close to the trunk. So, they’re unlikely to grow beyond their allotted footprint. Quickly increasing privacy, when planted en masse, by a full 12” in height per year.
Train Fruit Trees
This final option fence line planting option goes back centuries, to medieval times. The practice of training fruit trees, known as espaliers, began in European vineyards. Where they trained grape vines to grow along wired fences as a way to maximize space and yield.
Today, this practice has evolved into an art form. Using all manner of fruiting vines and trees to create interesting patterns on garden fences and walls. As well as a means to secure fresh fruit throughout the season.
Verdict: What To Plant Along Fence Line
So, what’s your verdict? Low-maintenance lilacs or bountiful bougainvillea will fit that bill. Create uniform plantings using hydrangeas or azaleas for an eye-catching statement. Or, mix it up with cohesive style and structure against a dark-colored fence.
For formal privacy barriers, consider the Leyland cypress or Spartan juniper. With so many exciting options, your new fence line landscape design is only limited by your imagination!