Ideas for Disguising Garden Boundaries

Keep fences or brick walls under wraps with these simple solutions.
Courtyard Garden

Courtyard Garden With Artwork

Disguise a fence by using plants in front of the fence that will grow and fill in the space. Create a mixed border in front of the fence to draw the eye away from the structure.

Photo by: Jason Kisner

Jason Kisner

Disguise a fence by using plants in front of the fence that will grow and fill in the space. Create a mixed border in front of the fence to draw the eye away from the structure.

A visible boundary, such as a fence or wall, can make a yard feel small and claustrophobic. Concealing boundaries with plants will radically improve the appearance of a yard, transforming it into an attractive space. 

Back Fence Disguise

In many small yards, the most obvious boundary is the back fence, which, if visible, immediately gives away the length of the yard. By creating a mixed border directly in front, using a range of plants that will grow as tall as, or taller than, the fence, you will succeed in blurring the edges of your lot. Make sure the border is a reasonable depth: a narrow strip in front of the fence, deep enough for only one plant, is likely to draw attention to the boundary rather than disguise it.

False Perspective

One of the most effective ways to disguise a boundary and also make a yard seem larger is to create a false perspective. For example, in a yard that appears short, make the borders running down the sides of the yard taper outward so that they are wider at the far end, making the yard appear longer. Another visual trick is to draw the eye away from the boundaries with a central, circular lawn or paved area, and surround it with dense plantings. Evergreen shrubs will ensure that the effect lasts all year.

Plant Screen

Dividing up the yard with various plant screens so that the entire yard is never completely visible from any one position will help make it feel larger and shift the emphasis away from the boundaries. Even a small lot can be divided up in this way using trellis or woven willow screens as supports for climbing plants; these also help to maximize growing space.

Courtyard Enclosure

Having a small garden does not mean that you should restrict yourself to small plants; in fact, doing so serves to underline a yard’s limited size. Positioning a selection of quite large plants in front of fences or walls in generous-sized beds that have been pushed to the edges of the lot will help to maximize space in the center of the yard, creating a courtyard. The plants will also help to hide fences and walls. 

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