How to make an ugly chain link fence look better

Written by laurie durkee
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How to make an ugly chain link fence look better
Make a chain link fence beautiful. (clouds and trees image by robert mobley from

Robert Frost's saying of "good fences make good neighbours" might not be correct, especially if the fence in question is a really ugly chain link fence. Chain link fencing is used for penning in dogs and as safety fences for pools, and is popular due to it being relatively inexpensive. Made of galvanised steel links and held in place by steel posts and frames, chain link fencing can make a backyard feel like a prison yard. Turning the visual eyesore into a beautiful, serene addition to a yard is an easy task to undertake with a bit of planning.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Privacy slats
  • Climbing vines
  • Paint
  • Roller
  • Wire brush
  • Vinegar
  • Rolled bamboo fencing
  • Copper wire

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  1. 1

    Install privacy slats, into the mesh of the chain link fencing, to create privacy and add colour. Privacy slats are available at chain link fencing companies and can be found online or at a local home improvement centre. The slats come in multiple colours, such as black, green, blue and grey. The slats slide through the top of the linking and are woven into the mesh and locked with a top or bottom locking system.

    How to make an ugly chain link fence look better
    Slide privacy slats into the links of the fence. (chain link fence image by Kenneth Summers from
  2. 2

    Plant fast-growing vines such as morning glories or ivy to naturally hide the ugly fencing. Morning glories are annual plants that are very fast-growing; they can reach heights of 10 feet tall. Morning glories have tubular-shaped blooms in pinks, blues and purples. They will die off in the fall but should reseed themselves and grow again in the spring. Ivy is another fast-growing vine that can completely cover the fencing with lush green leaves. If you are adventurous, try climbing roses; they may need more care and skill to grow but the result can be beautiful.

    How to make an ugly chain link fence look better
    Cover the chain link fence with climbing vines. (ivy leaves image by Bohanka from
  3. 3

    Paint chain link to refresh. By painting a rusty old fence you can make the ugliness fade away. Scrape rust off the metal using a wire brush, then wash down with household vinegar. The vinegar will etch the steel enough to let paint adhere to the fence. Use a thick roller to paint as spraying will waste most of the paint. The colour choices are unlimited, but black or hunter green colours tend to blend into the background, making the fence appear less obtrusive.

    How to make an ugly chain link fence look better
    Painting chain link renews the look. (background with fence and wall image by silviaantunes from
  4. 4

    Install rolled bamboo fencing to hide unsightly chained link. Rolled fencing is usually rolled into 8-foot sections and can be purchased in heights up to 7 feet. Wire it directly to the chain link fencing using copper wire, which will sink in between the bamboo, disappearing from view. Buy rolled fencing at local retail stores or online.

    How to make an ugly chain link fence look better
    Rolled bamboo creates a serene wooded atmosphere. (Bamboo fence image by siart from

Tips and warnings

  • Consult a local garden centre to find fast-growing bushy climbing vines to hide your chain link fence.
  • Old chain link fencing may have to be stretched and straightened before privacy slats can be installed.

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