How to Renovate an Old Fence


Whatever your type of fence, you may have one that is basically sound, but is starting to look a little tired and worn. We have some tips and ideas on how to smarten up your fence, adding a bit of your own style to it.

Staining and Painting

A simple option for sprucing up your fence is to give it a coat of wood stain or paint - there's a huge range of colours available now. Stains are designed to let the grain of the wood show through them, whereas paints are designed to provide an opaque finish.

Choose a colour that you can repeat in the garden on other timber features such as arches, pergolas, sheds and furniture. Avoid using a colour that you may tire of quickly; blue/greys and blue/greens look especially good with plant foliage.

You can make you own stain by diluting an interior paint with white spirit at a ratio of 1:3. Although this won't have the same colour fastness or additional preservative qualities of the ready made special garden products, it can work out much cheaper. You'll also get an individual colour, and some people particularly like the way that this paint fades a more rapidly, creating softer hues.

Attaching Trellis

One way of livening up a tired or boring fence is to attach trellis panels to it. Ready made trellis comes in many different shapes and sizes, in untreated wood, stained wood or plastic. If staining the trellis yourself, you may want to use the same colour as your fence, or use a contrasting colour for additional impact.

Fixing a batten to hold the panels away from the fence ensures that the trellis casts a more interesting shadow and also allows extra space for any climbing plants to be trained behind.

You could consider stretching panels of concertina, expandable trellis diagonally across each fence panel, from the top of one post to the bottom of the other. Alternating this will give you a design-conscious zig-zag finish. You will then simply have to trim ends off, to give a neat finish.

Using a Screen

You might prefer to use rolls of screening materials, such as split cane, peeled reed, willow, split bamboo and heather screens to hide your fence. These materials can be bought on the roll in a variety of lengths and widths. Choose the material with the texture that most suits your requirements and the overall style of your garden, then attach to the posts of your fence.

If the fence does not belong to you, install a new set of fence posts inside the boundary and use the screening material to make a secondary, less substantial, fence.

Adding Post Caps

Finish fence posts off with post caps - squares of treated timber, slightly larger than the post. You can also buy more decorative finials for garden posts in a range of different shapes. Choose one which suits your garden and add these to each fence post. You can either stain or paint them the same colour, or give them a contrasting finish.