Putting It On the Line -- 3 Ways to Landscape Along Your Fence

Figuring out what to do with a long, basic fence can be a challenge. While the fence serves an important function, few homeowners want to stare at it all day long. The good news is that there are a few easy ways to camouflage, soften or blend your fence into the yard as a whole. Here are three of the best methods for any homeowner and any budget. 

Use a Layering System

Planting along the fence line helps to soften it. Planting in a way that camouflages the fence will do so even more. A three-layer system is one of the easiest and most practical ways to do so. The first layer at the back -- along the fence itself -- should be taller than the other two. This layer will ideally be half the height of the fence or more and may consist of shrubs, ornamental grasses, dwarf trees or tall-growing flowers like cosmos. The second layer in front of this should be shorter -- about a quarter to half the height of the fence and provides additional greenery and vibrancy. Azaleas or boxwoods provide a great second layer. Finalize your plantings with an outer layer of colorful, curving flower beds. 

Create Zones

Break up the fence line to help de-emphasize its long and straight nature. You can do this by creating different "zones" with different sizes, shapes and functionalities. An easy example of a zone might be a bench placed under a nearby tree and surrounded by planted roses or small rhododendron bushes. Another zone may be created by adding an arbor planted at an angle from the fence -- to break up the straight lines -- and festooned with vines. Raised garden beds, paths leading to water features or even a patio can help you add specific zones to your fence area while drawing attention away from the starkness of the fence itself. 


If you blend in the fence with the rest of the yard, you will make the fence seem less stark and more like a part of the plan. Repetition of motifs, plants, styles or architecture helps to do this. For example, if you have a trellis on the inside of the yard that is growing clematis, place a similar trellis with clematis along a complementary portion of the fence. Look for ways to tie in the fence to existing landscape elements -- the same types of trees and shrubs, similar garden areas, complementary furniture in a conversation grouping, etc. 

What you decide to do with your fence line depends on your aesthetic, your climate and your budget. But whether you focus on one of these softening methods or a combination of all three, the result will surely be a yard you can look out at with pride and enjoyment.

If you're thinking of changing up your landscaping, consider contacting a local specialist, such as Eliot's Landscape LLC, to help transform your yard.