How to Improve the Looks of a Fence or Gate in Your Landscape

Often time’s people put up fences on their property to keep pets secure or to provide some privacy from nearby houses. A fence or gate can be more than just a barrier; they present an opportunity for you to define your area and bring some life to your landscape. When you've chosen the fence you like, whether it is a metal, wood, or PVC, you can now start deciding on how to improve its looks.

The Landscape Experts are professionals who understand how landscape themes should flow to provide you with beauty yet functional areas on your property. Working with a landscaper who understands Southern California climate and its growing zones will put you on the path to a fantastic landscape. Contact us to learn about the different options available to improve your fence or gated area or check out some of these ideas.

How to Plant Along a Fence

If you have chosen a fence made of metal or PVC, you will have panels with stark lines separating each piece. A fence made of wood tends to have a softer look and blends in more with a landscape.

To help soften the look of a PVC or metal fence, or to enhance a wooden one, you want to start by taking advantage of the vertical space created with a fence. Tall shrubs or trees work great when planted directly in front of the structure and will make it appear as a more natural barrier.

Another excellent idea is to plant vines in front of the fence. Using pipe cleaners to secure the vines to the fence will force them to climb up the barrier and soften the look of a metal structure or enhance the looks of a wooden one. The Southern California climate is favorable to the Morning Glory.

The Morning Glory is a vine that will do excellent on your fence, especially a chain-link fence as it will attach itself and can completely cover the barrier. This plant will not only give you cover for your wall, but the bees will also love it as they enjoy the mass of flowers it produces. Neighbors will also like the fact that you've covered up the fence making it look less obtrusive on the block.

Southern California has a hot, dry climate that creates challenges when trying to plant a beautiful landscape. There are solutions for you; however, with plant varieties that love this type of environment and can thrive in it with surprisingly little help from you. These are some of the perennials you can use to enhance the look of your fence or gate that will require very little maintenance.

African Iris

The African Iris is an easy maintenance plant that will look great in front of a landscaped fence area. If you have added some lower growing shrubs in front of your fence, the African Iris will enhance them with its dozens of white flowers.

The African Iris begins to bloom in the spring and continues through the summer. It will grow to approximately three feet in height and will be about three feet in diameter. This plant will thrive in the sun or shade and likes well-drained soil.

Santa Barbara Daisy

The Santa Barbara Daisy will do an excellent job of bringing life to your fence line. The incredible bloomer produces show-stopping flowers with yellow-centers and gray-green leaves. The flower begins white but then turns to a pink or purple color.

The Santa Barbara Daisy grows to about three feet in height and approximately three feet in diameter. It prefers partial sun and likes well-drained soil. This flowering plant looks beautiful when planted with Coreopsis.

Matilija Poppy

The Matilija Poppy isn't a shrub but doesn't get categorized as a flower either. You will love the riotous foliage it produces with its showy white flowers in the summer. This plant will be an excellent choice along with your fence line border and help to create a natural barrier with your trees or vines.

The Matilija Poppy is a fast-growing perennial that will spread quickly and require little maintenance. It grows to about eight feet in height and approximately four feet in diameter. This plant prefers full sun with well-drained soil.

Bear's Breeches

The Bear's Breeches will work wonderfully along a fence line as it grows tall. With a height of four feet and four-foot diameter, you will enjoy this easy-maintenance plant producing flower spikes all summer long. It will provide distinctive huge, coarse leaves that will give your fence landscape a sculptural appeal.

The Bear's Breeches has dark foliage and is in the buttercup family which bears tall spikes of blue flowers. It likes to be in partial shade with well-drained soil.

California Fuchsia

The California Fuchsia is a no-maintenance garden plant that will add spectacular color to your fenced area. It blooms long and is a heat-resistance variety making it perfect for California summers. You are going to love the intense hot-red or orange flowers this short plant provides.

The California Fuchsia will accent any shrub you plant along your fence line as it grows to only about two feet in height and is approximately two feet in diameter. This plant will look fantastic when planted with other greenery such as the fragrant Rosemary.

Bird of Paradise

The Bird of Paradise will give your fence line an exotic appeal with its tropical look This plant is a perennial with foliage like none other and glowing orange blooms. The blooms bolt out of the leaves, which are large and resemble elephant’s ears, in spectacular color.

The Bird Of Paradise grows to about six feet in height and is approximately four feet wide. They are a great accent to your other green shrubs and become a dramatic specimen if you plant them in a large group. This plant likes full sun and well-drained soil.

These old-fashioned favorites of Southern California will give you an incredible array of color to add to your fence line. You can add several to increase your color display, or choose just one to produce a softer look to your landscape. Talk to a landscape expert who has the experience with California climates to discuss what your best options are to get the look you want.

Other options may include the Lily of the Nile which is an old-world beauty and is a well-loved favorite. There is also the Sea Lavender that sends out foot-long clumps of purple and white clustered blooms which will accent green foliage along your fence. You might also want to consider the Kangaroo Paw with its distinctive tropical form of a kangaroo paw. Your landscape expert will have more options to discuss with you and help you decide which will look the best along your fence.

How to Place Your Plants Along a Fence or Gate

As mentioned earlier, you want to take advantage of your fence's vertical space by planting tall trees, shrubs, or vines directly in front of the structure. Medium-sized shrubs or flowering plants can then be placed in front of the tree line. Creating these two layers of growth will add life and color to your fence line and help it appear more natural.

The layering of shrubs or bushes brings the eye down in a natural progression to the ground level. Shrubs and bushes usually require pruning to keep them at the desired height and look great when smaller plants are placed in front of them. We have listed some perennials that bloom beautifully in Southern California, and there are also a number of annuals you can choose from that also enhance landscaped areas.

Annuals are temporary but work wonderfully to cover bare spots along your fence or gate line. They will provide you with bright flowers and foliage and generally are more colorful than most perennials. You have a lot of flexibility when choosing to use annuals in your landscape.

These flowers can be planted in tubs and then placed where you feel they will accent your landscape the best. You can also use them as a border or insert them where ever you feel a little extra is needed on your property. These are some of the annuals that thrive the best in Southern California.


The Cosmos is a daisy-like flower that grows in either red, white, or pink blooms. The blooms sit on top of a tall stalk that can grow to six feet in height. It will thrive in poor growing conditions and requires minimal watering.


A dwarf Zinnia is perfect in front of green shrubs as they will add color all summer long. Some varieties bloom so big they resemble Dahlias and others produce masses of smaller flowers and look fantastic as a border to your garden areas. Consult your landscape expert to see which variety will work best for your fence line.


Salvia, also known as Sage is great for any garden area. It produces elongated blooms ranging from purple to red to white and is loved by butterflies and birds. Talk to your landscape expert about the variety that will do well in your area and give you color all summer long. There are some Salvia that has adapted to going dormant in the summer, so it is important to choose the one for your area.


Nasturtiums not only dress up your landscaping, but they can also dress up your salad. This plant is an edible annual with a peppery flavor to spruce up your fence line. The plant has lily-pad shaped leaves with bright flowers to accent your green shrubs. They will either act as a good ground cover or can climb up your fence much like the Morning Glory.

These are some of the annuals that will grow well for you in a Southern California climate. There are other options you can discuss with your local landscape expert.

Why Use a Landscape Expert?

Your landscape reflects a lot on you. It is the first impression a person gets regarding the type of person you are when they enter your property. If you have a commercial landscape, it reflects hugely on your company's image. You want this first impression to be a good one.

A landscape expert has the expertise and experience of working with Southern California climates and knows what will grow and look best for your property. We can offer advice on how to beautify your entries, backyards, or walkways. We can also help with trimming your existing bushes or shrubs and help you pick out the appropriate plants, bushes, and trees that will create the right landscape for your needs.

Landscape experts can help you design an area that will reflect well for your company's image or create a natural and beautiful looking backyard that welcomes you to enjoy your environment. Before you start planning your landscape project, talk to one of our experts to ensure you get the best results for your landscaping needs.