Every garden needs a garden fence – to mark the boundaries, divide up spaces and provide privacy. But there’s no need to settle for standard wood-slatted fences. There are plenty of natural fencing ideas to give your garden borders an edge, fences that stand tall and stand out from the neighbours’.
1. Hurdle fencing
Hurdles are a form of freestanding fence made from handwoven wooden branches, usually willow or hazel. They offer a very rustic look, perfect for a countryside-style garden. Willow hurdles are woven from younger, thinner wands, while hazel use thicker branches for a more sturdy feel. Ideal for bordering off any piece of land, they can bring a slice of rural design to even a compact urban garden.
2. Garden screening
Screening is a great way to refresh your garden look. It’s light and flexible enough to be fixed to existing fences, so you can easily bring a more natural aesthetic to any space. There are many different materials to choose from, from rustic bark and willow to modern bamboo and reed.
As well as being more interesting and decorative than regular fences, screening can provide additional privacy in overlooked spaces.
3. Living fences
If you’re looking to achieve something a little more ambitious, try living fences or ‘fedges’. There are many different forms (aside from the standard hedge!) but one of the most common is woven willow. Plant a row of willow wands where you’d like your fence and then weave the branches together as they grow. This requires a bit more skill and patience than the other ideas but pays off with a truly unique border.
The benefits of natural fences
Aside from the organic visual appeal that will set your garden apart, there are a number of other benefits from natural forms of fencing. Many kinds are very sustainable. The wood for willow and hazel hurdles is coppiced, meaning branches are cut from new growths on the plant so they’ll regrow by the next year. Because of the natural air gaps in hurdle fencing, it also serves as a better windbreak than standard fences. Wind is dispersed through the gaps, alleviating the risk of the fence toppling over in blustery weather.
Natural fencing maintenance
Generally, natural fences will age more than regular ones over time. If you like, you can treat the wood with fence preservative to maintain the initial colouring, or let it fade naturally. Provided they are well secured and not exposed to too much harsh weather, hurdles can last up to 10 years.