Beautiful Boundaries: Landscaping to Improve a Fence Line

A fence can be both functional and beautiful on its own but adding the right landscaping can bring a new level of visual appeal to this hardscape feature of any property. Whether it’s to soften typically straight edges of a chain link of privacy fence or tie ornamental metal design elements to other parts of a home’s architecture, landscaping offers the best solution.

“Landscaping can camouflage or soften a plain fence and also highlight the design of a more contemporary or ornamental fence,” says Chad Everage with Landscape Management Services. “Properly planned landscaping against the backdrop of a well-installed fence adds a new, natural dimension to an outdoor space by making use of unused vertical space to add color and texture.”

Everage says the style of the fence should guide the landscape design. “For a fence that is more functional rather than designed to be visually appealing, such as a chain link, or for an older fence that has seen better days, the property owner may want their landscape to hide the fence completely. For a white picket or an ornamental metal style, the goal may be to enhance the fence with landscaped beds and select placement of larger elements.”

He adds that there are multiple factors to consider when planning fence line landscaping.

Existing Landscaping

Everage says it’s important to carefully evaluate the existing landscape. Hopefully, if a new fence was added, it supports the aesthetic of the home and outdoor space. The same applies for any new landscaping along the fence line. The goal should be for the newly landscaped areas to blend with any existing elements to provide the homeowner with an overall cohesive design.

Shrubs and Hedges

The woody branch structure of a shrub, coupled with leaves of various sizes and colors, highlights and creates focal points along a fence row. There’s no need to stick to one type of shrub, according to Everage. Planting two or three different types of shrubs, in layers, can help add a variety of textures and focal points – again, making better use of the vertical space. For greater diversity, choose shrubs that flower, fruit and change colors throughout the seasons. Taller shrubbery can work along with a fence to increase the privacy for an outdoor space. Dense shrub choices, like boxwood, for example, can be used to create a hedge that defines and adds a natural border on one or both sides of a fence.

Landscape Beds

The fence line is a great location for adding beds for flowers and other colorful bedding plants while keeping the rest of a yard open and uncluttered. Running these beds along the entire length of a fence, even if only a foot or two in depth, is a great visual enhancement for your yard. Don’t feel confined to straight edges. Everage says curved beds add additional interest, as do climbing plants – if you have the type of fence that would allow for these types of plant vines to attach and thrive. This can also add an additional privacy barrier.

Trees

Everage says trees are one unique feature that should be given careful consideration both when installing a fence and when planning to include trees in any new landscaping along a fence. He says experienced fence contractors know the hazards existing trees pose for fences, and how to minimize or eliminate these impacts. Adding trees to landscaping can help create a classic, elegant look, as well as providing shade for the yard. When planting a new tree along a fence, Everage says choosing the right type of tree is critical. Narrow species that are relatively short are the best option. These should be planted far enough away – at least 5 feet – to allow for future growth that won’t affect the fence. If you aren’t sure what that future growth will entail, it’s best to consult a landscape specialist.

Hardscape Elements

The finishing touches to any landscape project are adding hardscape features. These can include lighting, water elements like a birdbath or a fountain, lattice for climbing plants, decorative stones, walking paths and more. Everage says this type of outdoor décor is really up to the preference of the homeowner, and should be chosen to blend with, as well as to highlight, all the landscape features that were already put in place – including the fence.

For help in choosing the best landscape elements for your fence line, or any other landscaping need, call Landscape Management Services at (337) 478-3836 or visit their retail nursery at 5005 Cobra Rd. in Lake Charles, Louisiana, or their website at www.landscapemanagement.org.

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