If you've got an unsightly chain-link fence that you're trying to cover, turn to your garden for inspiration. There are many different varieties of flowers, vines, and vegetables that love to latch onto a fence, and provide your home with lots of beautiful color. These flowers are also great for building a little more privacy into your backyard. So, then next time you think that you need to build a higher fence – take a trip to your local garden center for a much cheaper, much prettier option.
Here are some of our absolute favorite flowers to plant by the fence:
These stunning vines are great for hiding chain-link fences because they will grow in and out of the gaps. Unlike shrubs and trees, its form is fluid. You can train it into patterns, let it scramble up and over structures, or allow it to wander at will. Most vines seemingly never stop growing. The size of the support determines the ultimate height and spread. Some climb by suction cup-like holdfasts, and some use twining stems and tendrils. Some of our favorites are Carolina jessamine – adorned with fragrant, bell-shaped blossoms in early spring, Crossvine – a rugged, adaptable, carefree Southern native with trumpet-shaped blooms of orange or red, and Confederate jasmine – white, starlike flowers on evergreen foliage that perfume the entire garden.
Many varieties of climbing roses bloom repeatedly with no special care, like "New Dawn." "Dortmund" climbing rose features abundant, single red blooms with striking white centers and yellow stamens. This vigorous plant reaches 15 to 30 feet if not pruned. Wear gloves when you do—its sturdy thorns are legendary. You can also use a climbing rose that's bred to send out long runners—like "Sally Holmes" roses—and use either masonry screws or wire to train them. The roses usually have to be pinned and trained to your desired shape.
Going native with wildflowers means less work, because the plants are adapted to your region. You won't need to spray pesticides or use chemical fertilizer, and watering will be a rarity. Wildflowers like yarrow, goldenrod, and asters sweep the bottom of the fence in an elegant way.
Many vegetables like to be supported as they're growing, so use this to your advantage and encourage the vines up a fence. Squash varieties, like butternut squash, especially like to be supported by a fence. Not only will you have a beautiful addition to your garden, but you'll also have fresh ingredients for the kitchen. Keep in mind, though, that you may not be the only one who loves your squash plants. Pests include squash vine borers and squash bugs. To deter these culprits, try spraying with Neem Oil Extract. Powdery mildew is the most common disease; choose disease-resistant selections, provide good air circulation, and avoid overhead watering.
A fence of climbing vines and shrubs adds depth, color, and texture to your yard. Be sure to pick a variety that will fit the living conditions of the fence – whether it's in the shade or exposed to full sun. Prune shrubs grow flat against a wall or a fence to create a pretty focal point, which plays double duty for your landscape design.
This Southern belle makes a pretty screen for a fence all year long. In the spring, you'll have gorgeous blooms that star in your garden, and then the evergreen provides lush greenery to the space in the fall. Be sure to select varieties that are adapted to your region. Some azaleas exhibit excellent cold tolerance, while others withstand heat and humidity. Azaleas want acid, well-drained soil and high shade.