Installing a privacy fence gives you instant peace and quiet in your yard, which is nice even when you get along great with your neighbors. However, those bare metal, vinyl, or wood panels can feel like a big investment when they're only blocking the view of cars passing by. Add extra visual appeal or functional value to your fence with these five easy upgrades.
Use Recycled Metal
If you've decided that metal panels best fit your needs, consider corrugated sheets removed from old houses and barns. These pieces of roofing and siding feature the patina of age, but most still remain remarkably intact and perfect for keeping out intruders and blocking the view. Even just adding a few recycled metal panels over the entire length of the fence brings a rustic charm to the design that can keep the fence from looking too sterile.
Reflect Or Gather Heat
Try putting the fence to good use by cooling or heating up a small yard. With light colored stains and white paint, you can bounce as much light and heat back into the yard as possible to warm it up if you're in a cool climate. For the opposite effect, dark paint colors and stains cause the fence to heat up instead of sending that energy into your space. Experiment with light and dark sections for keeping plants happy too with micro-climates, whether they're tropical or more temperate.
Extend the Height
Want the look of a taller fence without greatly inflating the installation and material costs? Try topping it with a different material. For a contrasting look that adds to the visual appeal of the fence, consider options like
- Sections of fine mesh or open weave fencing to let light in while adding a little extra height
- Lattice sections mounted separately that rise above the fence line, allowing you to work around restrictions on the height of solid privacy fences
- Growing boxes bolted to the top of the fence so you can add a green hedge or a trailing cover of vines.
Get your plans checked by the zoning inspector before beginning construction on any fence that technically exceeds the local height limits, even if the extra height is strictly decorative. You don't want to end up dismantling or cutting off part of your new fence just a few weeks after getting it finished.
Hang Shadow Boxes
Interested in hanging decorations on the fence but don't want a cluttered, piecemeal look? Start by using scrap pieces of wood to build simple shadow boxes. When stained or painted in a color that contrasts the fence, these boxes elevate simple potted plants and rusty tools to true works of art.
Keeping the shadow boxes all in one style and varying the hanging height and size instead creates a cohesive look that ties all the fence decorations together. Use screws instead of nails for both constructing the boxes and mounting them if you want them to support heavier objects like large potted plants and small concrete statues.
Finally, peruse some of the hundreds of round and square fence inserts available for breaking up a monotonous solid fence. These plastic and metal grates feature artistic designs and allow some light and air to move through the fence. Mounting them high preserves your privacy by preventing peeping through the opening.
Some of these ideas are best implemented when the privacy fence is being installed, but most of them still work for updating older fences too. Make your fence more than just a barrier and you might find that it helps sell your home to a new buyer if you ever decide to relocate. For more information on fencing, check out a company like York Fence.