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Cheap Fence Ideas: Affordable Ways to Make a Garden Boundary

garden with garden office and neat fencing to one side
(Image credit: Green Retreats)

Don't for one second think that cheap fence ideas can't be stylish — with a little creativity and forward planning, affordable garden boundaries can be every bit as beautiful as some of the more expensive options out there. 

Fences are a brilliant solution for so many landscaping schemes, offering privacy, shelter and a way to define and zone the space — plus they tend to be far more cost- effective and quicker to construct than walls or hedges. 

Here, we explore the best cheap garden fence ideas around, from those that rely on you getting a little green fingered to tips on which  are the least costly to purchase. 

So, put that credit card down, and get stuck into our round-up of the best budget-savvy boundaries out there. 

Finding The Best Cheap Fence Ideas For Your Garden

While we have tried our best to include a range of fence types and ideas here, before getting too ahead of yourself, take some time to think about which solution will work best for your outdoor spaces and your individual needs. 

If you want your fence to blend in with a cottage garden then you may very well be looking for ideas that incorporate ways to create a soft, natural feel into the space, for example, while those after a more urban, contemporary look might prefer minimalist ideas. 

Although there are definitely some pretty pricey types of fence out there, on the whole, fencing does tend to be one of the more affordable types of garden boundary — plus they are often simple and quick to erect. 

1. Opt For Traditional Lap Panels

traditional lap fence panels with concrete posts

(Image credit: B&Q)

Also known as 'larch-lap' this fencing type is one of the most inexpensive ways to create a boundary and is ideal for anyone worried about the cost to install a fence

Lap panel fencing offers plenty of privacy and is easy to paint or stain too — plus its imperfect 'waney' edged boards are a good match for traditional planting schemes. 

The best bit, however, has to be its low price point — starting at around £27 for a 4ft panel.

2. Bring Out Your Painting Overalls For a Quick Update

navy blue painted fence in paved garden

(Image credit: Thorndown Paints)

There are many ways to transform the appearance of a fence that is lacking a little in the aesthetics department — and one of the best is to give it a lick of paint. 

If you are worried about how to paint a fence you needn't be — this is a job easily undertaken by most people on a DIY basis. In the majority of cases a good-quality brush or spray are the only key items of equipment you'll need, along with a specialist fence paint, of course. 

3. Limit How Much Fencing You Use

contemporary fence running around built-in garden seating

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

This is a very simple way to reduce your fencing costs — just use less of it. By exploring small fence ideas you can make some significant savings. Choose shorter panels and place them on top of simple block and render walls, raised beds or built-in garden benches.

Using this idea is also good for anyone who might like to splurge on a more contemporary, expensive fence style but is worried about the cost of larger panels. 

4. Seek Out Reclaimed Scaffold Boards

painted white scaffold fencing

(Image credit: Getty)

Old scaffolding boards make brilliant fencing — and can be really affordable too. Take a look at online auction sites and around reclamation yards, where they can usually be found in abundance.

You will still need fence posts or similar in order to provide support and give you something to fix the boards too and it will be best to treat them with preservative or paint them to protect them from the elements. 

5. Choose Wicker as a Cheaper Screening Method

willow screening in a garden

(Image credit: B&Q)

Natural garden screening ideas a brilliant way to create a fence that is quick and easy to install and should offer good levels of privacy too.

However, it is important to realise that this is not always a cheap fencing option — certain materials will work out to be more cost-effective than others. 

Wicker and reed tend to lie at the lower end of the price scale (the Wicker screen shown here, from B&Q (opens in new tab), costs £35 for a 3m length), while willow and hazel are considerably more expensive. 

6. Hang Plants For Added Pizazz 

hit and miss wooden fencing with hanging plants on patio

(Image credit: B&Q)

If you want to brighten up your fencing in the blink of an eye you need to get planting up some pots. 

Fence planters have hooks on the back to slot between boards and come in a huge range of colours, styles and sizes. They will instantly bring an expanse of fencing to life and, when planted with trialing plants, can cover a less attractive or scruffy fence well. 

We love these colourful 4 Pack Metal Iron Hanging Flower Pots from Amazon (opens in new tab)

7. Choose Affordable Post and Rail Fencing

wooden post and rail fence in large garden

This sturdy example is from Jacksons Fencing (opens in new tab)(Image credit: Jacksons Fencing)

While post and rail fencing won't necessarily suit those after privacy fence ideas, they are perfect for creating beautiful, organic and rural-style boundaries and don't look overbearing even when installed over large areas — plus they won't block views or natural light.

They are easy to put up and, if fitted with wire screens on the lower sections, will keep pets in and unwanted wildlife out.

8. Build a Fence From Reclaimed Sleepers

old sleepers made into a fence

(Image credit: B&Q)

Scouring salvage yards can be a brilliant way to find bargain building materials and you shouldn't have to look too hard to find plenty of old sleepers waiting to be snapped up. 

Sleepers are actually useful for creating a range of garden features, such as raised beds and are great for those after patio ideas as they make great steps. 

Of course it is also possible to buy new garden sleepers, such as the Grange Timber Railways Sleepers from B&Q (opens in new tab), shown here.

When it comes to building a fence from sleepers you can lay them horizontally or stand them on end within a trench filled with concrete.

9. Adorn Your Fence With Climbing Plants 

corner patio with climbing plants over wooden fence

(Image credit: Baked Tile Co.)

Climbing and trailing plants can hide all manner of things — worn our or boring fences included. In addition, they can also be used to soften a large expanse of fencing. 

Some of the best climbing plants include honeysuckle, Virginia creeper, clematis, star jasmine and rambling roses. Incidentally, most of these also have a wonderful perfume which will further enhance your garden's appeal.

10. Brighten Up a Plain Fence With Art

contemporary fence with bright artwork

(Image credit: YardArt UK)

If you are keen to avoid pulling on your gardening gloves in order to dress up your fence with foliage, opt for other kinds of decoration to add interest instead.

Water features and mirrors both look brilliant secured to timber fences — as does garden art, which will really make a bold statement, meaning it is perfect for patio areas. This example is from YardArt UK (opens in new tab) whose designs are all printed with weatherproof UV protected inks and applied to 5mm acrylic.⁣

11. Bring Your Fence to Life With Fairy Lights

wooden fence strung with fairy lights

(Image credit: Getty)

There are very few garden features that can't be improved upon with the addition of a string of pretty outdoor fairy lights — in fact this is one of our favourite garden lighting ideas.

Festoon or fairy lights can be solar or battery-powered making it easy to move them around and fit without the need for an electrician's services. Weave them in and out of trellis, drape them over the top of panels or wind them around post and rail style fencing. 

12. Get an Instant Hedge By Faking It

artificial hedge

(Image credit: B&Q)

If you would like to cover your fence, or intersperse panels with, a hedge but can't bear the wait then this one is for you.

Artificial screening gives an instant foliage effect, is easy to fix and waterproof — it is also brilliant for anyone looking for low maintenance garden ideas and offers good privacy levels too. 

The Apollo Maple Leaf Contemporary Overlap Trellis panel shown here is from B&Q (opens in new tab).

13. Use Trellis Instead of Fence Panels

contemporary self build with large driveway and zinc roof

(Image credit: Fraser Marr)

"If fencing is too costly, consider trellis instead. It’ll be more cost-effective and will look lovely when coupled with some beautiful planting," says Chris Bonnett, founder of Gardening Express (opens in new tab)

Trellis panels are also good for people after driveway fence ideas. The owners of this contemporary home needed a way to shelter their back garden from the driveway and chose trellis panels as a softer way of creating the boundary that will, over time, completely blend in with their flowerbed planting scheme. 

14. Top a Small Fence With Trellis

contemporary wooden fence with trellis

The GoodHome Neva Lap Trellis panels (opens in new tab) shown here, from B&Q, cost £28. (Image credit: B&Q)

Even the most basic fences can be improved upon with the addition of some stylish trellis fixed on top — plus you will be able to order smaller fence panels when taking this route, saving you money. 

Affixing trellis panels is also brilliant if you want to increase the privacy levels of your garden, adding height and somewhere to grow climbing plants — no more nosey neighbours to worry about. 

Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. She has renovated a terrace and is at the end of the DIY renovation and extension of her Edwardian cottage. She is now looking for her next project.