23 fence ideas – beautiful and affordable designs for your yard

Border your front or back yard with stylish fence ideas that enhance privacy without compromising on great design.

A backyard with small patio area with black garden furniture, and a trellis fence with white hydrangeas, one of the most popular fence ideas
(Image credit: Ronni Hock Garden & Landscape)

Great fence ideas can do so much for your outdoor space – enhancing privacy, creating different areas for socializing in, and even helping you grow climbing plants in your front or backyard. There are fence ideas for privacy and those that are specifically for making vegetable gardens look good. Whichever you choose, they can add a ton of interest to spaces big and small. Plus, they needn't be expensive to install, or too elaborate to DIY.

Whether you want a traditional rustic look, a more subtle, natural design, or a modern metal finish for a flash of contemporary cool, there are a vast choice of fence styles and materials out there. Just decide which best suits your needs, taste and budget. Then, all you need to do is install the very best garden furniture in your outdoor space, and you're good to go for summer.

Fence ideas for flair and function

A key feature of landscaping a yard, a fence will go a long way in keeping your outdoor space private, stylish and protected from (most) wildlife intruders...

1. Juxtapose a neutral fence with a flash of color

a cute backyard with green lawn, deck and blossoming plum tree, and wood fences

(Image credit: Future + Centaur Archives)

If you choose only the brightest plants and outdoor furniture for that matter, let your fence take a back seat with a natural, solid wood finish that will help all your bright decor do the talking. Your fence should blend in and disappear into your garden ideas and planting, not conflict with them. 

2. A slatted wooden fence for modern patios

A tiled patio with tropical plants in pots and a slatted fence

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Slatted designs still increase privacy and make great patio ideas for more contemporary yard spaces. Accessorize and increase privacy further with tall, colorful planting around your fence to create a cool and very liveable section of your outdoor space. 

3. Fence off your outdoor dining space with tall panels

An outdoor dining area with tall paneled borders with trees and a building in the background

(Image credit: Future + Ti Archive)

If your yard is all about outdoor living then creating convivial zones that feel really relaxed and secluded is the right way to go. The dark vertical panels fence off this dining area perfectly and, the dark stain creates a gorgeous atmospheric backdrop beyond those tall trees, helping it all blend into the landscape.

4. Garden fence ideas for boundaries

An urban backyard with white stone patio, lawn, and horizontal wood fence, and garden furniture at the bottom of the yard

A small Brooklyn backyard by Todd Haiman Landscape Design

(Image credit: Todd Haiman Landscape Design)

To mark rear garden boundaries, solid timber fencing, such as closeboard or lap panel, is best. Closeboard, also known as feather edge, is composed of vertical feather-edged boards fitted to a sturdy frame of posts and horizontal rails, while lap fencing, also known as waney or overlap fencing, is made from waney-edge boards that are partially overlapped and fitted horizontally onto a timber frame.

Each has its own benefits: closeboard garden fencing is stronger and more weather-resistant, making it better suited to exposed sites. It can be bought as individual panels, or featherboards can be purchased separately and fitted to a frame, allowing for an uninterrupted stretch of fence. Meanwhile, lap fencing generally only comes in panel form and offers a more affordable option.

Understanding different types of fencing is important to the overall success of your garden design – make sure the fencing type you've chosen works for your backyard style. 

5. Go with a garden trellis for zoning

A backyard seating area with trellis and climbing plants, with a table and chair set with a jug of drink on it

This square-lattice painted trellising was custom-made by The Garden Trellis Co. Bespoke projects are priced on application, and off-the-peg options cost from £20 for a H30cm x W180cm panel

If you want to screen off different areas within your yard, then strength and privacy won’t be as paramount, and you can afford to use a fence design that is less solid and more pretty. Traditional square or lattice trellis ideas are good choices for zoning, particularly for sectioning off a separate sanctuary area without blocking out sunlight. What’s more, it’s great for growing climbing plants against to create a living wall. Alternatively, slatted screening can be used as a garden fence for a more contemporary backdrop.

6. Make your garden fencing a design feature

A dark brown paneled fence with ornate gate with a green garden beyond

B&Q’s modular Neva fencing includes laser-cut aluminium panels that can be positioned vertically or horizontally, shown here as patterned gates and wooden planks, which slot into steel fence posts. From £90 per panel

Treat your garden fence as you would a feature wall in the home to add interest to vertical space. This could mean painting a section of it in a bold color, or using a patterned panel to create a focal point, as above. Explore garden screening ideas that really emphasize beautiful patterns and good materials for maximum effect. 

7. Pick a pretty picket

A white picket fence built around a large vegetable garden

(Image credit: J Montgomery Designs)

Picket-style garden fencing provides a barrier, without cutting off your plot from the outside world – the low height invites interaction, while the gaps between pales give a glimpse of the garden beyond. This type of fencing design is great for sectioning off a vegetable patch for protection from pets and children. For increased privacy, grow a hedge behind the garden fence or allow climbers to tangle between the rails.

8. Paint a picket fence for rustic color

path beyond a sage green fence, winding through the front garden of a victorian home to the door

(Image credit: Andreas von Einsiedel)

Match the picket fence to the gate and even a suburban terraced property can look like a rustic haven. Stick to a pale shade and match your planting to the color of the paintwork for a really light touch. Painted fences contrast nicely with natural garden path ideas

9. Fence off a vegetable patch with a woven number

A vegetable garden with hazel woven fencing

This hazel fencing from Harrod Horticultural is ideal for a rustic scheme; the wood wraps around the end of each panel for strength. Prices start from £48.95

If you've got a thriving kitchen garden going, then add a little structure around it for better wind and even pest protection. Choose a fence material that is in keeping with nature, like woven hurdle fencing that is usually made from willow or hazel to give a beautiful rustic look to a yard. It's also cheap and super practical too, as in situ it can be shaped to fit curved boundaries, and its open structure makes it wind-resistant.

10. Uniform woven fence designs

A woven oak fence with flower beds in a large backyard

Quercus’ woven oak fencing panels are handmade from the highest quality English wood at its Somerset workshop. Finished with self-preserving tannins, the hardwearing panels require no maintenance once installed and will age to an attractive silver tone. From £223.20 for a 6ft x 6ft panel

If you are looking for full-height garden fence ideas, woven panels can provide strength and will protect plants from harsh winds, while letting sunlight through. Note that they are very appealing to climbing plants that may use the weave to anchor their tendrils. This fence design can be used to create a lovely living wall, but take care that the panels do not get damaged over time. 

11. Take out the gate opening for fluidity

A red cedar gateless slatted fence in a sunny backyard, with a white dining set and trees

Silva Timber’s western red cedar slatted screening offers a modern look. It costs £31 per m2

Instead of fencing your entire space and adding a garden gate, keep the space open to increase ease of movement around your backyard. Also, don't shy away from modern-looking slatted screen fencing designs. Inject a little boho glam into your traditional yard by slinging garden lights from them (the slats are perfect for hooking things on to) to create a twilight entertaining zone. They are also fab in the day as they create shade while allowing some light to stream through.

12. Consider metal fencing panels

A weathered steel panel fence with flowers in front of it

Like an iron-clad barn in a wheatfield, these weathered Corten steel panels from Harrod Horticultural blend naturalism with industrial design. The rust-coloured metal makes a stunning backdrop to cottage-garden style borders. From £410

The industrial look of this fence design works really well for period properties. Add an edge to a garden of pretty meadow flowers with a hardwearing metal fence. There are plenty to choose from, but we like cut-out designs that won't look too heavy in a traditional scheme.

13. DIY a colored fence for an affordable upgrade

A green pressure-treated wood fence with ornate detailing

Grange’s pre-painted Woodbury timber fencing panels are pressure-treated and guaranteed for 15 years, priced £322 for five H180xW180cm panels at B&Q

Let your front garden fence bring color to your outdoor space in all seasons with a splash of brightly colored paint. You can buy panels that are pre-treated in colored stains, but otherwise, take advantage of the large range of the best exterior wood paints on the market and save cash with this easy DIY.

14. Build a boundary with climbing plants

Wild roses growing against a white trellis fence

(Image credit: jcarroll-images / Getty)

Barely-there wire trellis can be used in vertical gardening to support a number of climbers including favorites like roses and clematis. While you may not want to use this fencing design for the external boundaries of your garden, it can help break your garden up into different areas and maximize the planting potential of your plot.

15. Choose iron railings for a classic front yard fence

An iron railings fence in a residential backyard, with a pink house beyond

(Image credit: mirsad sarajlic / Getty)

Wrought iron railings are another garden fence idea that is frequently used as part of front yard landscaping ideas, to create a boundary that looks imposing from a security point of view, without blocking the view of the home. They are strong, can be painted in any color, are sure to keep the dog and kids secure, and finally, they require little maintenance.

16. Build a living wall

A backyard with tiled fountain, lots of blue and black seating, and a living wall

(Image credit: J Montgomery Designs )

While not strictly speaking a fence, you can create a beautiful natural boundary with a retaining wall made from vertical oak sleepers. This fencing design will form a raised bed of sorts that can be planted with tall grasses for height, or low herbs and shrubs.

You can also build a very easy living wall with privet or box hedge, as in this exquisite example by J Montgomery Designs

17. Create a dramatic backdrop for planting

A black lattice fence with climbing plants and rustic gate in country backyard

(Image credit: Darren Chung)

Looking for garden fence ideas that really show off your planting? One way to create this is to paint or spray your garden fence a dark color, such as deep blue or black. Then position light-leafed plants in front of it for a dramatic contrast.

18. Mix slatted and solid fencing

dark slatted fencing in a patio area

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you have a small patio that faces a busy street or driveway, you can make it more private by surrounding it with tall fencing, one of the most private fence ideas. The trick is not to go for solid fencing on all sides, to prevent an overly severe or boxed-in look. Instead, use a combination of slatted fencing that lets the light through, along with a panel of solid fencing where you need the most privacy.

19. Give your fence the feature wall treatment

A yellow and white painted slatted fence in a backyard, with a bench in front of it with a pillow and a throw

(Image credit: Sadolin)

Three gorgeous colors make this small fence pop. Perfect to frame a cozy reading spot – and imagine how great this would look on a grander scale too, if you have the space.

20. Be coherent with your color scheme

a white garden with hexagonal paving, a white fence with plants growing up it, and black and colorful garden furniture

(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott)

If you have a lot of light tones or another dominating hue on your patio area, stick to it with your fence ideas for added uniformity. What's more, it will enhance the space you have, making it feel lighter.

21. Create a private corner nook with your fencing

A white and bright backyard corner seating area with a painted fence, a built-in corner sofa, and a blue coffee table

(Image credit: The London Gardener Ltd)

One of the most versatile fence ideas for privacy, a corner seating area can be styled in many different ways. From painted designs fences to attractive natural wood designs like this one by The London Gardener, a corner fence is your opportunity to create a private outdoor living space that's exactly to your taste. 

22. Grow flowering shrubs through your fence

A backyard with trellis fence and white hydrangea poking through, and a black seating area set on stoney gravel

(Image credit: Ronni Hock Garden & Landscape)

To achieve a soft and organic look, always combine hard fencing with green fencing. Climbing plants like jasmine and clematis are obvious candidates for growing up a fence, but we also really like the white hydrangea peeking through a lattice fence in this romantic design by Ronni Hock Garden & Landscape.

23. Install a low garden fence to mark out your vegetable garden

A garden fence encasing a vegetable garden in a large New York backyard

(Image credit: Rock Spring Design Group)

Fence ideas for gardens don't need to be tall. If you want your vegetable garden to look neat and defined, a low, slightly rustic fence is all you really need. A garden fence like this one, designed by Rock Spring Design, will look really good in a larger backyard with a separate area for gardening. 

Which wood is best for garden fencing panels?

Cedar is the ideal choice of timber for most fence ideas, but as pressure-treated pine is more affordable, it might be preferred and can be just as effective if well cared for. When you choose timber, remember to check how it has been treated. Fencing is commonly either dip-treated (where the wood is immersed in preservative), or pressure-treated where it is also treated with preservative but dried first. This is longer lasting but comes with a higher price tag. Dip-treated fences need periodic re-treating, so it might be worth investing in a paint sprayer for regular reapplications of a fence stain.

Fencing can be bought in two ways: you can either have a bespoke design built to specific dimensions, or purchase ready-made panels in standard sizes. Whichever option you choose, we have plenty of garden fence ideas on offer. However, which is best for you should be determined by the purpose and your property type.

Garden fence with a gate in a country cottage garden with plenty of flowers and trees, with the sun shining

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

How to install your garden fence

Erecting fencing is within the grasp of competent DIYers, but if doing it yourself, it’s best to ask someone else to help.

Fences, walls and gates do not require building regulations approval, but it is important that they are structurally sound. New fencing will not usually require planning permission either; however, if you live in a listed property, or in the curtilage of one, then you will need to seek listed building consent.

Our top garden fencing tips:

  1. Decide whether you want to set your posts in concrete or use post supports. Metal post supports are quicker and easier to install but can be weaker.
  2. Install your fencing by putting up the posts and panels alternately as you go down the line. Doing it this way should result in the correct spacing.
  3. When installing posts in the ground, ensure that at least a quarter of the total height of the post, ideally 60cm, is below ground level for stability.
  4. Use a spirit level as you go to check that your panels are level
  5. Prolong the life of your fence panels by using pressure-treated gravel boards below the panels.
  6. Fences on a slope need to step up or down the slope.
  7. Leave hedgehog holes under solid fences so these creatures can move from garden to garden.
  8. Use post caps to protect the timber from rain and create a more attractive finish.
  9. Use thicker, 100mm posts for heavy panels for additional strength.

What is the cheapest fence option?

Penny Swift, author of more than 40 books about construction and home improvements, singles out chain-link or wire mesh as 'undoubtedly the cheapest fence option. It’s also reasonably easy to install, though it must be pulled taut and secure at the base so that pets and/or wildlife can’t dig their way in or out.'

'Depending on the look you want and your budget, you can use wooden pools or metal posts to secure the chain link. You can also opt for vinyl-coated chain link, which looks more attractive, typically lasts longer, but will cost a little more.'

How can you make a garden fence look nicer?

The best solution is also the easiest, according to Swift. She says, 'You can improve the appearance of ordinary chain-link fences by growing climbers and creepers over the fence. It takes a while, but will eventually form a much more solid, attractive screen.'

Another option if you have a limited budget is to 'insert narrow strips of wood through the links to make the fence more solid and less visually open. If your fence is made of wood make sure to maintain it otherwise it will deteriorate and start to look shabby.'

What can I put up instead of a fence?

'Walls are the obvious option to fences, but they do cost more', says Swift. 'The other traditional option is to plant a hedge, but that will take years to establish. Shade netting is another option. This relies on sturdy posts or poles to keep the netting in place. It can work visually but isn’t a good option for safety or security.'

Anna is a professional writer with many years of experience. She has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. She covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.