Ideas for an Ugly Chain Link Fence

Kate Carpenter

The grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, and when you have a chain link fence as part of your landscaping, you will be able to see the other side's grass clearly. Chain link fencing is inexpensive and durable, but the open weave galvanized steel wiring with steel metal posts and frames creates the unappealing appearance of an industrial area. With a little effort and creative inspiration, you can transform your ugly chain link fence into a work of art, or simply disguise it from view.


Chain link fencing is a durable, practical method of enclosing your property.

Growing plants, either in front or on a chain link fence, will provide an attractive, permanent barrier between you and the fence. Fast-growing flowering vines, such as honeysuckle, wisteria and trumpet, will grow several feet per year while attaching to the chain link. Evergreen vines for year-round coverage include ivy varieties and creeping fig. Fruit-bearing plants such as grapes and raspberries quickly cover the fence and provide a bonus for wildlife or your family. Climbing roses can be trained to grow on a chain link fence with the advantage of keeping unwanted visitors out of your yard because of the thorns on the plant. Fast-growing shrubs like blueberries, azaleas, dogwood or privet can also be grown in front of the fence for quick coverage.


Attach screening to the chain link fence for instant coverage. For a natural look, select screening material made from bamboo, reeds or willow. Natural fiber screens can have fire retardant treatment and UV sun protection, but will need to be replaced every two to three years, with or without any special treatments. Man-made screening materials can also be used to cover your chain link fence. Many home improvement stores or patio supply stores carry colorful canvas and tarps for outdoor uses. These fabric tarps or canvas can be draped over the fence or secured with bungee cords for a tight fit, and give you the flexibility of changing the design or color whenever you wish.


If privacy is not an issue, simply painting your chain link fence can make it less visually offensive. New chain link fencing has various types of finish that will need to weather off for one to two years before painting, while older chain link should be cleaned and wire-brushed before applying the undercoat of primer. Spraying on the primer and paint is the easiest and most effective way to paint chain link. Talk with your local paint store to select the correct primer and paint for the type of metal your chain link fence is made of. Black or green as the chosen color for your chain link fence will visually minimize the presence of the fence.


Weaving vinyl or wooden slats into a chain link fence is time-consuming, but if you use various colored slates to create an attractive pattern, it is well worth the time and will last forever. Many other materials can be woven into your chain link fence to create an artistic expression. Flexible plastic strips, ribbon, yarn, plastic fence weave and ties can be used to weave original designs into the chain link. Attachments of decorated used CD disks, potted plants or decorated straw hats hung randomly on the fence transforms it into a unique, artistic creation.