Looking for cheap fence ideas? They say that the grass is always greener on the other side of one. They also say that good fences make good neighbours. There are a number of different reasons why you might want to put up a fence, and many different cheap fence ideas to choose from. But how should you go about choosing between those cheap fence ideas? And which of these fence ideas are best for an eco-friendly garden? This article will aim to answer these questions and help you choose the fence or other boundary option that is right for you.
How To Choose a Fence
When it comes to choosing a fence, there are a number of different things to consider. One important consideration is, of course, your budget. If you only have limited funds for your project, you need to know what you can afford to do, and how to choose the best cheap fence ideas possible for the money available.
Think About Budget
The good news is that you do not need to spend a fortune to get a great fence. All of the cheap fence ideas listed below are pretty affordable. They make use of either natural materials (that you might even be able to source for free on or around your own property), or reclaimed materials. Reclaimed materials can often also be picked up for free, or for next to nothing. So they too can be extremely cost-effective and affordable options.
Ask Yourself WHY You Are Building a Fence
Obviously, if your fence is to keep animals in or out, you will need a different sort of fence than if you just want to mark your boundary.
Budget is not the only consideration to take into account when choosing a fence. You should also think about your reasons for building it in the first place. For example, you might be building your fence to:
- More clearly demarcate your property boundary.
- Keep in livestock or pets.
- Keep out livestock, pets or wild animals.
- Deter people from entering your garden.
- Privacy fence for your home and garden.
- Screen an unsightly building or view.
- Zone off certain sections of your property – to create ‘garden rooms’, for example.
It is crucial to think about whether you are more concerned with practicality and function, or by aesthetics and appearance. While fulfilling both of these things is ideal, you might have to decide which to prioritize. Which of the cheap fence ideas you consider will obviously have a bearing on how your fence functions and how it looks.
It is important to note that if you want to:
- Create shelter/ make an effective wind break.
- Create new areas of shade.
- Lessen the impact of local noise pollution (for example, from a nearby road).
- Reduce the air pollution levels in your garden.
Then a cheap fence might not be your best option. You would be better to create a hedge of living plants (great source of privacy fence ideas) along the edges of your property. (We’ll explore this idea a little further towards the end of this article.)
Cheap Natural Fencing Ideas
Without further ado, then, let’s take a look at some of the best natural cheap fence ideas that you could consider. Each of these ideas could enhance your garden or backyard in more ways than one. They could be far better, both practically and visually, than the more traditional chain-link or solid panel fences that you can buy.
Willow can make a beautiful and functional fence for your garden. Pre-made willow fence panels and willow fence can be expensive. But if you are lucky, you can pick up willow sticks affordably and make your own. You might even be able to coppice willow for the purpose from your own property. You can turn willow into a range of different fence types – from woven hurdle-type hedges, to rolled fences and light privacy fence / screens or lattice fences.
A Willow ‘Fedge’
Another amazing thing about willow is that you can also buy willow saplings and weave these together to create a living fence. A kind of cross between a fence and a hedge, one of these structures is also sometimes described as a ‘willow fedge‘. This could be another great cheap fence idea for an eco-friendly garden, especially if you are prepared to buy your saplings small and wait for these fast-growing trees to grow, and have the time and are prepared to make the effort to create and shape the fedge yourself.
More Cheap Fence Ideas – Natural, Rustic, Branch Fence
Branch fences or wattle fencing can be beautiful and effective.
If you do not mind a bit of DIY, and like a rustic look, another great cheap fence idea involves simply taking branches (perhaps even branches pruned from trees in your own garden) and joining these together to form a fence. This is a super simple idea that might not cost you more than the price of a few nails. Perhaps you will not even need any nails or fastenings if you choose to build a wattle fence with whatever branches you have lying around. Branch fencing or wattle fencing can be beautiful as well as cheap and functional if you get it right.
Bamboo fencing is another very affordable fence option – and eco friendly too. Bamboo is great for the environment and the impact of your fence will be even lower if you manage to grow your own canes. Even if you do not have your own bamboo canes growing in your garden, you can still pick up bamboo fence panels surprisingly cheaply to enhance your eco-friendly garden.
A-Frame Log Fence
If you can source logs freely from your own property, or cheaply in your local area, a very cheap fence idea could be to use logs to make a simple A-frame fence. The fence won’t be particularly useful for keeping anything in or out, but if you have a long boundary to over and want to choose an option that looks good and won’t spoil the view, but still marks the edge of your property, this could be one solution to consider.
Upright Log Fence
A log fence can be sturdy and attractive.
For a smaller property, where logs are easy to come by, you could consider making a fence from logs placed upright in the ground right next to one another. By varying the heights of the different logs, you could create a fence line that meets the sky with a sinuous curve rather than a straight horizon. Where timber is costly, this will not be one of the cheapest ideas. But where timber is plentiful, it could be one of the most pleasing and beautiful cheap fence ideas.
Stacking cut logs on their sides could also be an interesting and beautiful way to create a cheap yet beautiful garden boundary where wood is plentiful. Cordwood fences can bring a touch of rustic elegance to your garden, and make a fence that is far more than a fence and becomes a feature. Check out some beautiful examples here.
Fallen Brush Fence
If you do not value neatness and do not mind a more ramshackle look, simply stacking fallen brush along your boundary can create a sort of fence. A tangle of branches and twigs could be sufficient to keep livestock contained, for example, or to keep wildlife from trampling your vegetable garden. An added benefit of marking your boundary with brush is that it can provide a home and shelter for a range of beneficial wildlife. Sometimes, it is better to keep things a little wilder in an organic, eco-friendly garden. And this sort of property boundary will cost nothing to create.
Cheap chainlink fences can be ugly, and are also contrary to eco-friendly gardening practices. One way to make one a little more interesting and useful, however, is to make a double fence with chicken wire or similar, and fill it inside with composting materials. These materials will provide a screen, and once broken down, will provide you with a valuable mulch or growing medium to maintain the soil fertility in your garden. Not sure where to put a compost heap? A composting fence could be the answer.
Cheap Fence Ideas Using Reclaimed Materials
If none of the natural cheap fence ideas described above is right for you – don’t worry. There are plenty of other types of fence that you can make for very little using reclaimed materials. Here are some of the options you could consider:
Wood Pallet Cheap Fence Ideas
Wooden pallets are readily available and could be the perfect way to make a cheap new fence.
If you want a wooden fence, but don’t have the money to shell out on a ready-made example, you could use wood pallets to make one. You can make your own wood pallet fence cheaply and easily. There are plenty of different design ideas out there to inspire you to create a fence from wood pallets that works for you.
Cheap Fence From Old Shutters
Of course, you can also make a range of different wooden fences from other pieces of reclaimed wood or from upcycled wooden items. Old shutters, for example, can be ideal, as they are pretty much ready made fence panels. All you have to do is join them together and fix them in place.
Cheap Fence Ideas From Old Doors
Old doors can also be used in much the same way as old shutters. You will often find an array of different wooden doors that you could use in reclamation yards or dumps. Simply pick them up and sand them down, or paint them in whatever colour or colours you choose, and you could soon have a new fence for a fraction of the cost of buying new ready-made wooden fence panels.
Reclaimed Wood Picket Fence
You may have always dreamed of that perfect home and garden with a white picket fence or the wood fence design. But don’t spend your hard earned cash on buying wood for the project, or buy your picket fencing off the shelf. To save money, consider making your own, using whatever pieces of reclaimed wood you can find lying around. Simply cut your pickets to size, then paint them white, or whatever other color best suits your garden scheme.
Reclaimed Copper Pipe Fence
Copper tones go wonderfully well with the green, lush, natural tones in your garden. So why not see whether you can source some old copper piping to make a fence to mark a boundary in your garden? You can pick up the copper tones of your new fence, and use any offcuts, to create special DIY water features, or pieces of art for your garden.
Reclaimed Metal Wire Fence
There are also a number of different ways that you might be able to recycle metal wire on your property. You can use metal wire than might otherwise have found its way to landfill to create beautiful and functional fence for your property, such as the below or even a split rail fence with a split rail design.
Upcycled Tin Roof/ Steel Sheet Fence
Roofing metal and sheet metal of various kinds can also be recycled and repurposed to create a range of attractive, interesting and useful fence for your garden. If you use your imagination, you will discover that there are plenty of different ways to create a fence from almost any old metal that you might have lying around.
Bicycle Wheel Rim Fence
One cool idea that you might not have considered involves using old bicycle wheel rims to make a cool and quirky garden fence. If you can source these metal rims and spokes, there are a number of different ways you could use them – and fencing is just one of the wonderful ways that they could still come in handy.
Plastic Bottle Fencing
To can even upcycle everyday household trash to make a garden fence. Several cheap fence ideas involve using plastic bottles to form the garden fence, suspended on wires, or strung on bamboo canes or something similar. Finding new ways to use plastic packaging is one great way to be more eco-friendly, and to help tackle the plastic waste crisis we face. Better plastic bottles become a garden fence than end up polluting our land and our oceans!
Glass Bottle Fencing
Several ingenious fence builders have also managed to create a fence using glass bottles. These are not only a good way to cut waste, they can also look very beautiful – especially with the sunlight shining through.
Cheap Fence Ideas – More Alternatives
Creating some sort of barrier between you and your neighbors or a nearby road does not necessarily have to involve putting up any fence at all. You might also consider building a wall of some kind. Better yet, you could also consider creating a hedge of living plants to provide a privacy fence, screen or barrier on the fringes of your property.
A stone garden wall could be a beautiful and long-lasting way to create a garden boundary.
Another great source of cheap fence ideas is what you already have around you. You can make a wall rather cheaply using natural materials that you might already have to hand. For example, you could make your wall from:
- Dry stacked stones or mortared stones (you might even be able to source rocks and stones on your property).
- Adobe/ cob.
- Mud/ clay and reclaimed glass bottles or other material that would otherwise be thrown away.
Other Cheap Fence Ideas – Hedges
By far the cheapest way to create a barrier or screen on the edge of your property is to use plant cuttings to create your own living hedge. There are a great many reasons why a hedge is a better option than cheap fence or walls in an eco-friendly garden.
It does not matter whether you go for a natural garden fence design, a reclaimed fencing idea, a wall or a natural hedge of trees and other plants. The important thing to realise is that having a small budget does not mean that you have to be boring. Nor does it mean that you have to give up on your green ideals. You can find plenty of cheap fence ideas and other boundary options that are perfect for an eco-friendly garden.
Elizabeth Waddington is a smallholder, permaculture designer and environmental consultant. When not designing food producing systems or advising growers around the world, she is to be found in her own garden. On her 1/3 of an acre patch of land she has a walled forest garden orchard (home to rescue chickens), a polyculture vegetable plot, a polytunnel, wildlife pond, wild woodland garden and more and is working every day towards greater self-sufficiency. She is passionate about sustainability and loves to inspire others about the wonderful things home gardeners can do for people and planet.