How To Plant A Living Fence – Using A Fast Growing Plant To Cover Fence

How To Plant A Living Fence – Using A Fast Growing Plant To Cover Fence

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By: Heather Rhoades

Covering chain link fences is a common problem for many homeowners. While chain link fencing is inexpensive and easy to install, it does lack the beauty of other kinds of fencing. But, if you take a few minutes to learn how to plant a living fence with a fast growing plant to cover fence sections, you can have a fence that is both lovely and inexpensive.

Covering Chain Link Fences with Plants

There are a few things to consider when covering chain link fences with plants. Before deciding which plant you will use, think about what you would like the plants that grow on fences to accomplish:

  • Do you want flowering vines for fences or foliage vines?
  • Do you want an evergreen vine or a deciduous vine?
  • Do you want an annual vine or a perennial vine?

Each choice is important depending on what you want for your fence.

Flowering Vines for Fences

If you would like to look at flowering vines for fences, you have several choices.

If you would like a fast growing plant to cover the fence, you will want an annual. Some annual flowering vines for fences include:

  • Hops
  • Hyacinth Bean
  • Black-eyed Susan Vine
  • Passion Flower
  • Morning Glory

If you were looking for some perennial flowering vines for fences, these would include:

  • Dutchman’s Pipe
  • Trumpet vine
  • Clematis
  • Climbing Hydrangea
  • Honeysuckle
  • Wisteria

Evergreen and Foliage Plants That Grow on Fences

Evergreen plants that grow on fences can help to keep your fence looking lovely all year round. They can also help add winter interest to your garden or serve as a backdrop to your other plants. Some evergreen vines for covering chain link fences include:

  • Persian Ivy
  • English Ivy
  • Boston Ivy
  • Creeping Fig
  • Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)

Non-evergreen, but foliage focused, plants can bring a startling and lovely backdrop to the garden. Many times foliage vines that grow on fences are variegated or have splendid fall color and are exciting to look at. For a foliage vine for your fence, try:

  • Hardy Kiwi
  • Variegated Porcelain Vine
  • Virginia Creeper
  • Silver Fleece Vine
  • Purple Leaved Grape

Now that you know how to plant a living fence using vines, you can start to beautify your chain link fence. When it comes to plants that grow on fences, you have many choices on what kinds of vines to grow. Whether you are looking for a fast growing plant to cover a fence or something that provides year-round interest, you are sure to find a vine that suits your tastes and needs.

This article was last updated on

The Best Vines to Grow for Covering a Wooden Fence

Growing vines to cover a wooden fence is an easy, low-maintenance way to add color and interest to your garden or yard. Whether you've made your own wooden fence or bought a new one, you can choose from a variety of vine plants to suit your needs.


Fickle gardeners can enjoy a profusion of pink flowers one year and a bounty of blue the next. Sprinkle the contents of a packet of seeds next to your wooden fence, and you'll have beautiful climbers in no time. Annuals like a sunny spot with good, well-draining soil. Plant seeds according to package directions and keep evenly moist until germination. That's about it. You only need to fertilize sparingly. Water too much and you'll have lots of dark foliage but few flowers. Be sure to water only if the weather has been especially hot or dry. The following are some of the flowering favorites.

Cardinal Climber Vine

This vine has deep red flowers with yellow or white throats. It varies in vine height, from 6-20 feet.


These can grow vines up to 20 feet. The flowers open only at night, giving off a heady fragrance.

Morning Glory

These blue flowers open on a summer morning and stay open all day. Vines can reach 8-10 feet.

Sweet Peas

Sweet peas have relatively short vines, just 3-5 feet, but they're delightfully long on fragrance. They make great cut flowers, too.


Perennial vines return year after year. Some will eventually grow over your fence and cover it completely if they are not regularly trimmed back. There are perennials for a variety of uses and growing conditions. Here are some you might want to try.

Clematis Vines

Clematis vines offer 250 species to choose from with nearly any color imaginable. Most prefer full sun, but there are some shade-loving varieties too. Well-tended clematis, planted in rich soil with a neutral pH, can live up to 20 years.

Climbing Hydrangea

These beauties pay dividends all year long, with clusters of huge white flowers in summer, bright-yellow foliage in fall, and eye-catching winter bark.

Everlasting Pea

The everlasting pea is, in a way, the perennial version of sweet pea. It lacks sweet pea's fragrance, but the red, pink, or white flowers will bloom summer to fall, and it's an easy vine to grow.


Once enjoyed by Southerners only, wisteria is now available in varieties that are hardy. Be sure to plant in full sun and get ready for cascades of white, pink, lavender, or purple flowers. Wisteria can get quite heavy, so you may want to trim it so it doesn't weigh down your fence.

Forget About Ivy

Though ivy is a charming addition to any garden, its tenacious habit wreaks havoc with wood fences. Ivy spreads by sending out "grabbers" that will push into the wood and dry it out completely, leaving the wood to split in no time. Ivy can quickly grow into a lush, thick cover that holds moisture against your fence and causes it to rot, and it can be tough to get ivy off of walls or fences. In fact, ivy is so strong that it can actually twist the fence. If you must have ivy, grow it on a pole, a stone wall, or a chain-link fence.

Types of Fence

Different landscape conditions serve different fence material as well. Here are the landscaping examples for several fence types.

1. Branches Fence

For a fence made of thin branches like this, vines are surely the best plant to involve in the landscaping. They will grow through between branches and create a living house border to lessen the fragile vibe created by the fence.

In case vines do not cover the fence entirely, plant marigolds also at both sides of the fence. Add yellow into the scene by growing several sunflowers.

2. Chain Link Fence

As chain-link fences do not have much elegance and privacy to offer to your yard, plan a landscape near it will help a lot. You see an example in the picture above. Morning glories in blue, purple, and white accentuate the chain-link fence and help it to give you a little bit of privacy.

3. Metal Fence

It is advisable to do landscaping in front of the metal fence boldly. It means to grow bold colored flower plants around the solid toned metal fence. Only by then the fence could highlight the flowerbeds and vice versa.

4. Trellis-Style Fence

This picture shows a back garden with walls built of half stone and half wood. In front of the barn door, which leads to a larger garden, there is a trellis-style fence surrounded by many kinds of plants, lavender is one of them.

5. Vinyl White Picket Fence

White picket is the dream fence for cottage garden. The picket fence building material varies from vinyl to wood. Some manufacturers even produce ones out of aluminum. It gets down to this: each material has its own thing to offer.

This vinyl one needs low maintenance. You do not need to regularly touchup and refinish, thus need not to be afraid of ruining the plants planted near the fence. Since it comes in white, any colored flowers will match in the landscaping plan, even for these white rimmed leaves.

6. Wooden White Picket Fence

This one is a white picket fence, too, but out of wood. While the previous vinyl one needs low maintenance, this wooden fence gives irresistible charm to your landscape, especially if there are blue and purple hydrangeas planted nearby as exemplified in the picture.

However, this wooden fence is not weatherproof. Choose some plants with good endurance in case you have to refinish the fence, though it is a good idea to do the planting in quite a distance from the fencing.

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I also have a nosy neighbor, and I have lattice up on part of the fence, and that may actually be a solution for you. 4/x/8' sheets are only a few dollars each, and will go within a foot of your fence height. The holes are small enough that you can't easily see through it, and you could cut some to raise the height a bit if you think you need to. Mine is the white plastic, attached to a 3' chain link fence with white zip ties, excess snipped off.

The best part is you can grow an annual vine on it (morning glory, etc), and change it out now and then for something different. Just be careful you don't pick one that has seed that will overwinter, unless it's one you want to come back!
Lynn T


I'm doing the same "hide a fence" thing presently. If you want really cheap, fast and evergreen, you can use any of the cold hardy English Ivies in zone 6. I recommend 'Thorndale.' It's the hardiest with larger leaves for coverage. It's not invasive here in Utah and shouldn't be in PA either (but double check). I'm only using it because I have a very narrow planting area (12-inches). Most everywhere else I'm using 'American Pillar' Arborvitae (narrow, fast, dense, hardy and evergreen). It's cheaper than a privacy fence if you purchase starters and it's very fast growing for an arborvitae (up to 3' per year). However, it maybe overkill for what you want because it grows tall quickly (20' - 30'). You can find a cheaper Arborvitae for use as a shorter hedge.

If you have a lot of snow on the ground during the winter, then you may just find a privet hedge will suite you fine. It's not evergreen from Christmas through March, but it's branches are pretty dense and no one's usually outdoors during that time anyway to really worry about it. However, unlike the 'American Pillar' Arborvitae, it'll need lots of pruning on both sides of the fence to keep in check. (My neighbor around the corner has it bordering the front of his property and it's a true beauty to behold. It would be my first choice except I need full privacy in the winter months due to my next door neighbor's windows being only a few feet from my windows and currently I have to keep my blinds closed all the time because they never do). Privet is super fast and cheap, but make sure to get the cultivar 'Cheyenne' as it is the most cold hardy variety. Those are your main options for cheap and fast, but their are a lot more options available for your area if you can move up in price and/or don't mind the speed. (ie. Hollies, Yews, Boxwoods, Firethorns, etc.).


Hi! Ibchuckd, how old are your american pillar arborvitae? And how tall are they now? I planted 44 of these on sides of my property as hedges in june 2014. I started with foot tall ones, some were half foot. After 2 and a half months in september 2014, they grew a foot taller. Now this december theyve become bronze in color. Please let me know your experience with this new plant specially the first & second years after yoy planted. Thanks.

Cara Pitchford

I planted some Gelsemium sempervirens here in Zone 6. It didn't make it.

NHBabs z4b-5a NH

Margarita is a hardier cultivar than the plain species.

10 Creeping Vines that Provide Privacy

For many people, their gardens are a place to escape the stresses of daily life. One of the ways to create that retreat feel is through privacy.

While trees and shrubs can certainly create a living barrier within your yard, creatively placed vines can also give you that feeling of privacy. Keven Graham, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), principal and landscape architect of Planning Resources in Illinois, recommends vines for places that are tight or narrow such as a side yard or near a spa.

Vines can also work well as camouflage for areas you might want to hide or simply give a softer look. Draping a chain-link or metal fence with a selection of blossoming vines can bring a more natural look to a very industrial piece in your yard [source: Graham].

An important point to understand when utilizing creeping vines in your garden is that vines climb in different ways. Considering these differences can help you match the right plant with the appropriate structure. For example, wisteria and clematis attach by twisting their tendrils around a support, whereas English ivy grows aerial roots that can attach to rough surfaces such as walls [sources: Williams, Dana & Lerner].

"Every plant has up sides and down sides, and plant selection is very personal," says Liz Pulver, ASLA, landscape architect licensed in New York and California. "Some people love vines that others would run from."

In this article, we will explore 10 creeping vines and their different characteristics that can help you decide which vine might be the right fit for your garden.

The clematis vine is the quintessential flowering vine that you might have noticed growing up mailbox poles. Clematis are woody vines that can be either evergreen or deciduous. Its large blooms, especially those of the large-flowered hybrids and cultivars, can make a stunning statement in your garden. Keven Graham, ASLA, principal and landscape architect of Planning Resources in Illinois, recommends the Sweet Autumn Clematis, a sun-loving vine with white flowers, along with the Jackman Clematis.

While any clematis can be a wonderful addition to your garden, remember that climate can influence the amount of privacy provided by the plant. "In warmer climates, clematis can offer screening possibilities," says Liz Pulver, ASLA, landscape architect licensed in New York and California. "If you are looking for lots of screening and live in a cooler climate, I'd recommend using clematis as a flowering accent alongside vines which give you fuller vegetative coverage."

Whether you decide to grow them on a pergola or an arbor, clematis need a strong support to wind up because the vines can get very heavy [source: Grey-Wilson & Matthews]. For a healthy and beautiful plant, watch that some varieties don't get especially strong direct sunlight because it can bleach the flowers. Also, watch for clematis wilt, a fungus that can infect the plant.

Climbing up houses or over fences, English ivy is a historic staple when it comes to coverage and privacy. Ivy is an evergreen plant with dark, glossy, green leaves. When mature, it can produce white balls of flowers and black seeds [source: Klingaman]. Ivy can withstand lower temperatures if planted in a sheltered spot, which makes for a good year-round living privacy barrier [source: Glattstein]. It can grow to more than 30 feet (9 meters) and if not properly pruned, can become overwhelming instead of an accent plant in your garden [source: Grey-Wilson & Matthews].

If you're searching for a slightly different look with similar coverage, there are a variety of cultivars with different shapes and colors of leaves, from white-tipped to heart-shaped yellowish green foliage.

For more color, yet still a historic feel, try the next vine, a morning glory.

Morning glories have been popular for more than a century [source: Cook]. Morning glories most commonly produce a funnel-like flower that comes in a variety of colors from a crisp blue to pure white [sources: Cook, Coulter]. In most areas of the country, morning glories are annuals, so you'll lose some of the privacy you may have created with these plants during the winter months. Yet, the unique flower, of which certain varieties open only at dusk or with limited light, may make up for its winter absence [source: Coulter].

While vines can provide flowers, scent and privacy to your garden, some vines can become overwhelming. While pruning can keep many vines contained, certain states have guidelines for how to work with vines that are deemed noxious or invasive. Check with a local agricultural extension specialist or the U.S. Department of Agriculture's PLANTS Database for more information [source: Immel].

Trumpet vines are popular not only for their flowers, but for the wildlife that they attract. The trumpet vine is a perennial vine that climbs using aerial roots that attach to surfaces [source: Dana & Lerner]. These plants like sun and are also very drought-tolerant. The most common variety has orange-red flowers, while other varieties come in yellow. The flowers look like elongated tubes of about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) in length [sources: Lindsey, Cook].

The size and shape of the flowers attract hummingbirds that come to suck the nectar from the plant. In order to get a good view of these small birds, you probably want to place the plant on a lattice next to a deck, near a seating area, or within a good view from a window.

A member of the pea family, wisteria is most recognized for its bunches of light purple blooms that cascade downward from the vine. While purple may be the most recognizable color, wisteria also flowers in white, pink and blue. It's important to note that wisteria can take a couple of years to flower, so don't get discouraged. Plant wisteria in a sunny place that's still sheltered from some of the elements for the best results [source: Grey-Wilson & Matthews].

Wisteria can make a showpiece in many areas of the garden. "It grows quickly, has beautiful flowers and a lovely scent," says Liz Pulver, ASLA, landscape architect licensed in New York and California. "It should be given support and can be easily trained up pergolas, trellises and posts."

You can also festoon wisteria across the top of a fence, allowing the long blossoms to flow over the side.

A popular cutting flower, roses can have a beautiful scent and bloom. As opposed to a bush type of rose, climbing roses not only use their thorns as protection, but also to attach and climb up things. It's important to note that some climbing roses might need to be tied to their supporting items in case of heavy winds. The climbing rose comes in colors ranging from yellow to deep red with names such as Don Juan, Joseph's Coat and Purity. To get a good crop of flowers, make sure to keep roses in soil that is well-drained and in a sunny spot.

There are many ways to use climbing roses to provide privacy in a garden. Create a tunnel with support rods that climbing roses can grow up and around. You could also use climbing roses on an arch for both fragrance and color at the entrance to your yard. Pair climbing roses with clematis and jasmine for a cottage-garden feel.

Like roses, jasmine also has a scent that can be a draw to this plant. The white-flowered vine does well in sunny locations that aren't very dry.

A popular variety is common jasmine. It produces fragrant white flowers that can attract both hummingbirds and butterflies [source: Kluepfel & Polomski]. The majority of other jasmine vines are semi-tropical and should only be planted in the spring, after all chances for frost have passed.

Jasmine twines around objects to climb, meaning that it needs some type of support to raise vertically. Try using jasmine on an arbor or trellis near your home, or along a path where visitors can enjoy the fragrance.

A honeysuckle vine can fill your garden with scent along with a degree of privacy. Make sure you check if the honeysuckle you're choosing is scented because some varieties aren't [source: Williams]. Honeysuckle can be evergreen or deciduous and have thin, elongated flowers ranging from yellow to red. These flowers can also attract wildlife. "Butterflies, bees and hummingbirds all like this vine's flowers," says Liz Pulver, ASLA, landscape architect licensed in New York and California.

When planting honeysuckle, remember that it does best in certain growing conditions. "Honeysuckles like full sun, but prefer shade at the roots," says Pulver.

Keeping in mind these conditions, honeysuckle can make for a fragrant entrance arch into your garden. Honeysuckle can also offer a natural way to hide an old tree stump or fence posts.

Incorporating the passion flower in a residential backyard can give it an exotic feel. The vine produces complex flowers with different colors for the leaves and filaments. While this vine is primarily a tropical plant, there are a few varieties that grow in temperate conditions. One such variety is the blue passion flower, which can be an evergreen climber in temperate conditions.

Another option for warm areas of the United States is the purple passion flower, which is a vine with unique purple or sometimes white flowers. It can also produce a fruit that resembles a yellow egg.

Passion flowers grow by twining tendrils around supports and climbing up them. This means that passion flower vines would work well on trellises, fences or even a shrub for added color and coverage.

Unlike the passion flower, the Virginia creeper is usually grown for its foliage instead of its flowers. The Virginia creeper's leaves will change from a dark green to a deep red color in the fall. Virginia creeper can be mistaken for poison ivy, but instead of three leaves, it has five [source: Klingaman]. Another distinguishing characteristic of the plant is its bluish-black berries. These berries are poisonous to humans, but are very attractive to birds [source: Buncombe County Cooperative Extension].

Virginia creeper also can grow on a lot of different surfaces because it clings to surfaces with adhesive extensions. "It's very aggressive as it grows, it clings onto everything," says Keven Graham, ASLA, principal and landscape architect of Planning Resources in Illinois.

Virginia creeper is a good choice for hiding an unsightly fence or climbing up a vertical wall as a barrier.

Whether growing Virginia creeper on a fence or large-flowered clematis on a lattice beside your deck, vines can provide a beautiful and functional way to provide privacy in your garden.

Comments (8)


I moved to Florida from zone 6 - I'm not aware of any 'evergreen' vines for zone 6. The zero and sometimes below zero temps will put all vines in dormancy, which means they die back to the ground in winter.

You might consider a close planting of several evergreen trees or tall grasses. Cedar trees grow fast, are dense and should fix your issue in a couple of years.

I don't know of any instant fix, except to extend the height of your existing fence - maybe use pallet boards, which are free and easy to take apart with a reciprocating saw and a nail-cutting blade. Home Depot sells a blade for a recip. saw, made specifically for taking apart pallets.


Good fences make good neighbors.
Buy a tall fence, you are the one with a barking dog, not them.

21 Low-Maintenance Plants that Spread Along Your Fence

A chain link fence is a fantastic option for both home and business owners. It is very inexpensive, yet does it’s job keeping unwanted visitors out and pets and children in. However, it can be said that a chain link fence isn’t exactly “pretty.” In order to fix this, many people like to plant flowers, bushes, and vines along their fence to cover the chain link. The best way to do this is to choose a plant that spreads, so you don’t have to place a plant every few feet. Here are a few easy low-maintenance plants to get you started:

Certain vines can bring a lovely backdrop to the garden fence. Many times foliage vines that grow on fences are variegated or have splendid fall color and are exciting to look at in our climate. For a foliage vine for your fence, try (1) Hardy Kiwi (2) Variegated Porcelain (3) Vine Virginia Creeper (4) Silver Fleece Vine, or (5) Purple Leaved Grape.

Evergreen plants that grow on fences can help to keep your fence looking lovely all year round. They can also help add winter interest to your garden or serve as a backdrop to your other plants. Some evergreen vines for covering chain link fences include (6) Persian Ivy (7) English Ivy (8) Boston Ivy (9) Creeping Fig or (10) Carolina Jessamine.

If you would like to look at flowering vines for fences, you have several choices. Some nice options in perennial flowering vines for your new chain link fence include (11) Dutchman’s Pipe (12) Trumpet Vine (13) Clematis (14) Climbing Hydrangea or even a (15) Honeysuckle or (16) Wisteria.

If you would like a fast growing plant to cover the fence, you will want an annual. Some annual flowering vines for fences include (17) Hops (18) Hyacinth (19) Bean Black-eyed Susan Vine (20) Passion Flower or a (21) Morning Glory.

It is not recommended to place large trees near a fence . All of your fence needs, including installing one, maintaining one, fixing one, and even knowing what to plant along it can be handled by the team at Central Fence. We are locally-owned and operate four convenient locations in Vidalia, Swainsboro, Statesboro, and Sandersville. Contact us today to find the answer to any fence-related questions and even get a free estimate .
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