A fence doesn't have to be just a fence. By combining traditional fencing materials with plants that are more than just decoration, you can create a boundary that also adds something a little extra to your corner of the world. Make use of one or more of these ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
One of the main goals of any fence is to provide security, but with the right plants, your fence can do a better job than most. In particular, you are going to look for something that is uncomfortable to move through -- most likely bushes that have spiky leaves or branches. Your landscaper will know what will work best for your local climate. While a fence can be climbed, someone up to no good is less likely to attempt it at the cost of the skin on their arms and legs. While plants that are genuinely dangerous could make you liable if someone gets sick, a few scratches are enough to deter most people without causing you any legal trouble.
Another possible group you may want to deter is wandering animals. Here, your landscaper is going to be an invaluable resource. You want to pick plants that are safe for humans but that the local wildlife will give a wide berth. You may end up planting a combination of different items, depending on what animals you want to keep out, but it is worth it if your trash cans and garden remain unmolested.
Some bushes and small trees actually grow thick enough branches that you can start harvesting them for firewood after a few years getting established. While they may not offer the long, slow burn of a well-aged log, there are plenty of choices that will give you kindling and some decent sized logs over the years. If you are unsure of how to properly prune these types of bushes, create a maintenance contract with the landscaper. Just be sure you are planning on using the larger branches for firewood, so they only put the brush through the chipper.
Having a yard you can eat is a wonderful way to enjoy a summer afternoon or bring a little something special to your dinner table. Planting fruits around the edges of your yard leaves most of the space free while allowing the plants to do double duty as decoration or security, as well as creating something tasty for you to eat.
- Raspberries and blackberries are a great choice if you are looking for something spiky to plant near the fence. Not only do they fit that bill, but you will get plenty of berries to enjoy all summer long.
- Many plants, such as peas or grapes, need something to climb on to properly thrive. You could let them grab on to the fence itself, or you can add a trellis just inside the fence to give them something to grow on.
- Even plants that don't normally cling to fences, like apple trees, can be trained to do so. The technique of espalier is similar to how winemakers grow grapes and has been practiced for hundreds of years. You will have to maintain the system a few times a year, but it gives you a chance to enjoy lots of delicious apples without having them constantly falling out of a large tree.
A fence doesn't have to be just a fence, and plants don't just have to be plants. Given the right plants, you can combine that with your fencing choice to create something that does more than create a boundary at the edge of your yard.