What Are the Best Plants for a Fence Line

Wondering what you should plant along your fence line? From year-round greens to colorful flowers, check out this guide for the best plants to add to your fence line!
Renee Lewis
Renee Lewis
Last Update:
March 7, 2024

Using the right plants for your fence line can be a low-maintenance and attractive way to create privacy in your yard or mark a boundary line. These types of living fences make functional borders that can also increase your home’s curb appeal.

In this post we will tell you everything you need to know about how to choose the best plants for a fence line in your yard!

Factors to Consider when Choosing Fence Line Plants

Are you thinking about putting in a living fence? Using fence line plants to increase privacy in your yard or mark your property line is as old as property itself. Before wooden or metal fences, or for those who could not afford them, hedge lines were planted. It is a tradition that is still used all over the world.

There are some important factors to consider when you start thinking about which type of fence line plant to have installed on your property. You should first put some thought into how much maintenance you are willing to put into your fence line plants. For example, do you want a fence line that needs to be regularly pruned? Or would you rather have a more natural shaped plant?

Additionally, you will need to determine the growing conditions that exist on your property. Check out the sunlight, soil and climate conditions in order to choose plants that will do well in that environment. There are plants that thrive in full sun, and others that prefer partial shade. Some that prefer well-drained soil while others can tolerate a little more moisture.

Finally, do the plants need to be drought-tolerant or do you live in a wet climate? Are you looking for evergreen or deciduous plants? Do you want flowering plants? Figuring out conditions on your property like this will help you choose the best plants for your fence line.

Evergreen Options for Year-round Appeal

Hedges and fence lines made from evergreen options have been popular around the world for centuries! They are easy to prune and shear into the exact shapes you want, and low maintenance overall as plants. Not to mention the beautiful green vegetation throughout wintertime!


Boxwood plants make such great fence lines that manufacturers have even produced faux boxwood plants to serve as fences. But do not worry, if you want the real, live boxwood plants you can still get those as well!

These dark green plants provide year round structure and color. When you plant the boxwood plants closely together they can be trimmed into a long, square-edged fence line. If you decide to space these evergreen shrubs further apart, they will grow into their natural rounder shape.

Compact Varieties for Limited Space

If you would like a smaller or shorter fence line, there is probably a boxwood species for that! Compact varieties for limited space exist such as dwarf boxwood. These boxwood plants stay below waist height. Also keep in mind that all boxwood plants can be pruned or sheared to just about any size.

Boxwood Care Tips

Care tips for Boxwood plant

Boxwood plants love sun and partial shade, as well as soil that drains easily. Spring is the best time to plant boxwood. Dig a hole that is six inches deeper and wider than the root ball, and add some peat moss and manure if the soil drains poorly. Add topsoil to loosen heavy soil.

Fill the hole one-quarter full with water and a shovel or two of the materials listed above if needed. Set the boxwood plant so that the root ball is basically at the surface of the soil as boxwood plants have shallow roots. Cover the roots with mulch to keep them cool and help hold in moisture.

Water your boxwood plants deeply twice a week their first year, and weekly afterwards unless more water is obviously needed.


Arborvitae for fence line

While boxwood plants rarely reach much higher than waist level, arborvitae are the tall hedges. They are a slow growing evergreen tree often used to increase privacy. Arborvitae, also known as thuja, are a low maintenance fence line tree that will add a pop of green to your property in winter with their evergreen foliage when everything else has gone away.

Arborvitae are commonly used in landscape design like encircling gardens, creating wind blocks or blocking the view from a neighbor’s house to your yard or pool area. These living fences have dense foliage and grow up to 60 feet tall and can make excellent privacy screens. There are shorter varieties that stay around 10-15 feet tall at maturity which is a great height for increasing privacy in your yard without having to think about power lines and such.

Flowering Plants to Add Color and Charm

In addition to creating a living fence made out of hedges or shrubs, flowering plants can be added to fence lines or your garden for decorative reasons. Beginning in spring, the flowers will start sprouting and adding color and charm to your property.


Roses on a fence line

Another classic choice for fence lines and gardens besides hedges like boxwood plants and arborvitae are rose bushes. And both make me think of an English garden, but that is beside the point!

Hedge roses create a colorful living fence that is perfect for defining spaces and separating garden areas. The result is a beautiful border that both you and your neighbors can appreciate. You will be able to find hedge roses in just about any color you can imagine.

Climbing Roses for Vertical Interest

Another way to use roses along your fence line is to add climbing roses to an existing fence. Space the climbing rose bushes out by about six feet to allow them the space they need to grow and explore.

These plants are aggressive growers and will likely require regular pruning during the growing season. You can plant them at the base of a chain link fence and transform it from an industrial fence into a beautiful work of art.

Climbing roses can also climb up wooden or privacy fences, but will probably need you to add extra support to the fence to allow them to rest their heavy canes.


Clematis on a fence line

Clematis are known as the queen of climbers. These creeper, climbing plants are perennial with vining stems that can easily scale trellises, over arbors, and through other plants. The star shaped flowers bloom in white, pink, red, blue and purple.

Clematis like to flower in full sun but will still grow in partial shade. In a perfect world, the flowers will be in the full sun and the roots will be shaded with other plants. They like to be planted in the early spring. Once you have chosen the spot, loosen the soil to a depth of about a foot. Incorporate six cups of compost into the soil in this area along with one-half cup granular fertilizer.

The plant’s crown - where the roots meet the stem - should be placed about two inches below the surface of the soil. Finally, refill the hole and water well.

Ornamental Grasses for Texture and Grace

If flowers seem too high maintenance or maybe too short lived, perhaps an ornamental grass would make a better choice for your property. There are a variety of ornamental grasses known for their texture and grace.

Feather Reed Grass

Feather reed grass on a fence line

These feathery stalks are reddish brown in spring before turning a golden color in fall. This clumping grassy plant thrives in wet soils and tolerates drier conditions as well. The blooms on this ornamental grass can be two feet high while the foliage overall can be around six feet tall. That makes Feather Reed Grass a low growing ornamental grass that is ever changing color-wise.

This plant is highly adaptable and gets the best foliage in full sun. However, it does benefit from partial shade during the hottest part of the summer.

Maiden Grass

This attractive clumping grass has fine textured, silvery blades that turn bronze after the first frost. You can mass these plants together to form a fence line or you can add them to other species of hedges for added texture.

This grass is easy to grow in average climates with consistent moisture and in soil that drains well.

Fragrant Choices for a Pleasant Surrounding

Imagine having a fence that not only looked beautiful, but also smelled good! In many parts of the world, fragrant, climbing flowers are commonly used along fence lines and walls around properties.


Lavender plant

This plant is known for its beautiful fragrance and lavender is known for being a scent that helps you relax. Lavender bushes can be planted in a line and can be clipped to various shapes and sizes to form an aromatic border.

To create a seamless line of purple lavender plants, place each lavender plant no more than a foot apart.


The beautiful, delicate white blooms of these star flowers also have a lovely scent - a little softer than lavender and less aromatherapy-focused. Jasmine can be planted as low shrubs or they can be trained to climb up fences so that you end up with a fence line made almost entirely of jasmine.

If you have a chain link fence, the jasmine will naturally have the support it needs. With a concrete wall you can add a trellis, and with a wooden fence you can rig something together using wire and nails in a pattern that will allow the plant to climb the fence.

The white flowers bloom in spring and summer, depending on where you live. And in the off season the plant is a dark green. Each year as it grows back the non-flower part of the plant will come back thicker.

Ground Covers to Complete the Look

Some plants spread so easily that they cover up large sections of ground, these are known as ground covers. These make great additions to fence lines!

Vinca Minor

This evergreen perennial plant is also known as periwinkle, and has lovely purple flowers and dense foliage. Vinca Minor plants are hardy - they are extremely low maintenance and pest free. They bloom in spring and sometimes also in summer. Vinca Minor are drought tolerant and do not need a ton of sun.

Their vines are low and sprawling, with a maximum height of around three to six inches and vine lengths of around a foot and a half. They provide a pretty, flowering ground cover and they can fill in large areas as they discourage weeds.

Creeping Jenny

Creeping Jenny plant on a fence line

This perennial with small, bright yellow flowers that bloom in the summer. The flowers do not last long, but are known for their beauty. Overall, the plant is known more for its coin-shaped foliage than its flowers since they bloom so briefly.

It makes an excellent ground cover plant because of how well it spreads, and in fact if that is not your goal with the plant you should reconsider using it. The best soil type for this plant is well draining.

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