What Are Living Fences and How Do You Grow Them?

published Jul 26, 2018
2 min read

All gardeners and plant lovers are looking for ways to take their garden to the next level. Here on Green Journal we have previously enumerated a few green living DIY projects to elevate your garden. If you are looking for a more natural way to create borders for your garden you may want to consider growing your own living fence.

Living Fence with Gate

Image credit: Pinterest

What Is a Living Fence?

The Spruce defines a living fence as a fence “made of multiple plants rooted to the ground at a close interval.” It is kept attractive and dense through regular pruning and, of course, constant plant care. It is a great project for anyone who has extensive gardening experience and land big enough to be divided by a living fence.

Living fences are more commonly known as hedgerows and have been around for centuries here in the UK. They are made from various plants, like beech trees and ocotillo, and are longer lasting than wooden fences. Plus, they help control erosion and are very effective wind blockers.

Growing a Living Fence

The first thing you will need to create a living fence is patience because plants, after all, need some time to fully grow. That being said, here are the steps on how to grow a living fence:

1. Choose the right plant. The right plant is one that has proven capable of growing in the area. This should be the number one consideration. The key here is taking some time to study each plant, and select the best one that will suit your land and your skills as a gardener.

Orange Living Fence

Image credit: Pinterest

2. Plant them close enough to each other. Planting them in close proximity to one another means their branches and leaves will interlock densely to ensure that there are no noticeable gaps in the living fence.

3. Take care of the plants. This represents the true nitty-gritty of creating a living fence, as there will be a need to cultivate the soil with fertiliser every once in a while, water the plants often, and protect them from extreme weather and other harmful elements.

4. Train the plants. This means laying out the branches of the plants so that they naturally grow wide and outward. This encourages the interlocking or crisscross pattern to take place later on when the branches start getting longer and stronger.

5. Prune. Regular pruning removes dead and overgrown branches. But just as important, it stimulates growth. The more the plants grow, the denser the leaves and branches of the hedgerows will be.

Using a Pre-Made Fence

Growing living fences is not for everyone, as they require a certain amount of gardening knowledge, and require a lot of time. One workaround is to use a traditional wooden fence as a base for climbing plants or vines. The fence should be sturdy enough to not only carry the weight of the climbing plants or vines but also withstand strong winds and heavy downpours.

Urban Living Fence

Image credit: Pinterest

Screwfix features an assortment of fence panels that have been pressure-treated that can be used as a good base. For an effective living fence, there should be enough gaps in the panels to let the plants weave in and out. A wooden fence is also ideal because they also come in different shades of brown, a colour that complements the lush green hues of a plant.

A living fence is the perfect way to create borders around your garden and land. Whether you grow one from scratch or use a wooden fence as a base, it will add a natural touch to your garden.




Sonya Heathers is a self-taught amateur gardener who has a passion for plants, flowers, and garden design. She is currently working as a freelance writer and likes to post ideas on how to transform gardens. In the future, she hopes to set up her own garden design business.