10 Chain-Link Fence Ideas for Your Yard

chainlink metal fence gate

Chain-link fences are affordable and practical, but they sure seem dull compared to other fencing types. These unique chain-link fence ideas for your yard will turn your fence from drab to fab. Whether you want a simple change or a complete fence makeover, these ideas could be the refresher your outdoor space needs.

You can DIY or hire a pro based on your preferences, budget, and time constraints. Before starting, you should always confirm that your modifications follow local laws or HOA rules.

1. Add Some Color with Paint

Photo Credit: Robert Ashworth from Bellingham / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

Gray isn’t the most exciting color, nor is the rusty red that slowly takes over metal fences. Paint could add a splash of color and extend the life of your metal fence. Don’t use just anything; you may need different paints for different types of chain-link fencing (for example, galvanized or vinyl-coated). Rust-resistant paint will protect your fence while adding aesthetic appeal.

Green and brown blend in with the landscape beautifully, and black and white add a polished look to your fence. Of course, you can always stick to silver to retouch a rusty fence.

If you’re installing a new fence, why not get vinyl-coated chain-link fencing in your preferred color? You’ll save time searching for suitable paints and coatings in the home improvement store and save time putting in sweat equity.

2. Insert Slats for Privacy

What if you want privacy? Slats slide into the chain-link fabric to cover the holes. They come in many colors, materials, and styles to match your tastes. Insert the slats vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, and use alternating colors for a striking visual effect.

Vinyl and wood are the most common types of privacy slats, but you can also buy faux-hedge slats to add some greenery.

3. Make Patterns With Fence Tape

Fence tape is similar to privacy slats, but it’s made out of a flexible material you weave through, fold over, and attach to itself with brass fasteners. You can put fence tape on part of the fence or all over it for complete privacy. 

Choose from a variety of colors to suit your purpose. Green or brown can create a lovely backdrop for your plants or yard decorations. Keep it simple with diagonal stripes, or mix it up with alternating colors. Since it’s made of thin material, you can cut it to whatever size you need. Want to get creative? Create fence tape art, such as:

  • Geometric patterns
  • Words
  • Images of people, animals, objects, or landscapes

Complicated designs will take time and careful planning to execute, but you’ll end up with a unique fence decoration. Don’t like what you made or want to change things up? Fence tape is easy to remove and affordable.

4. Cover With Privacy Screens

Chain-link fence covered with yellow privacy screen
Privacy Screen
Photo Credit: Pexels

Fence fabric, windscreens, privacy mesh — whatever name you know them by, fence screens cover chain-link fences to create privacy. They also protect you from the elements and provide a backdrop for your outdoor space. Most come in solid colors, but you also can find ones with designs on them. Pull them taut and attach them with zip ties.

Want something more natural-looking? Try wood, bamboo, reed, or faux-hedge screens. Roll them across your chain link fence and attach them with zip ties. Keep in mind that these materials may deteriorate over time.

5. Attach Fence Panels or Planks

Do you wish your existing chain-link fence was wood or vinyl? You don’t need to tear it down and start over. Attach fence panels or planks with zip ties, c-brackets, or u-brackets to make your chain-link fence look like a lattice, picket, horizontal board, or privacy fence. Since chain-link fence posts are already anchored to the ground with concrete, you won’t need to do any digging.

Wood components will have a shorter lifespan than metal or vinyl, especially if untreated. Untreated wooden fence posts can last anywhere from two to 25 years, while treated wooden fence posts last between 15 to 30 years, depending on the wood type. 

This method could be cheaper than installing a brand-new wooden or vinyl fence if you have an existing chain-link fence. However, if you need to install a new fence, just go with a wooden or vinyl fence instead.

6. Frame It With Another Material

Maybe you need to reframe how you look at your fence — literally. Create a wooden frame along the edges of your chain-link fence to create a picture-perfect view. You’ll get the best of both worlds: the chain link’s visibility and the wooden frame’s aesthetic appeal. This fence design will draw attention toward the decorative edges rather than the plain chain-link material.

Attach the chain-link fabric directly to the wooden frame and posts if you’re installing a new fence. This style is sometimes called California chain-link fencing and will generally cost more than chain-link fencing with metal posts.

If modifying an existing fence, attach the wood frame to the existing fence posts using conduit clamps and screws. While it won’t be the same as a California-style fence, it’ll improve the appearance of your existing chain-link fence.

7. Cover It with Plants

Photo Credit: Orin Zebest / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Carefully placed greenery can completely transform a chain-link fence’s appearance. Plant bushes, trees, shrubs, or ornamental grasses along the edge of your fence to hide or distract from it. This idea can make your outdoor living space more lively and help your fence blend seamlessly with your landscaping.

Here are some great greenery options you can plant along your chain-link fence:



  • Evergreens (boxwood, juniper, ligustrum)
  • Fruit trees
  • Weeping willow
  • Yew
  • Leyland cypress


  • Forsythia
  • Hawthorn
  • Boxwood
  • Holly
  • Euonymus

Ornamental grasses

  • Switchgrass
  • Feather reed grass
  • Big squirreltail
  • Liriope
  • Red head fountain grass

Who needs a pergola or trellis when you have a perfectly good fence? Grow climbing vines directly onto the fence to create a wall of greenery. Flowering vines will add a pop of color and fragrance to your outdoor space.

Here are some climbing vines you could use:

  • Honeysuckle
  • Wisteria
  • Ivy
  • Clematis
  • Cypress vine

One downside is that vines could damage the fence over time or make it difficult to repair. Research any plant you’d like to use to ensure it isn’t invasive or damaging to chain-link fences. Fast-growing vines also may be unsuitable for a garden fence since they could take over and compete with your veggies. For example, blackberry thickets can get out of control and are hard to eradicate. 

Want to avoid any possible fence damage? Extend your garden bed up your chain-link fence with a vertical garden. Hang pots off the chain-link fabric or put specialized planters on the top rail. You can easily move these pots around whenever you want to redecorate. 

8. Create Designs with Cups

Yes, you read that right. Chain-link fence cups are designed to fit perfectly between the chain links and come in many colors. Schools and sports fields use them often, but there’s no reason you can’t use them on your residential fence. You also can use regular plastic cups to create designs. Spell out a special message or create patterns like flowers and stripes.

9. Get Crafty with Crochet

Have you heard of yarn-bombing? This crochet art decorates outdoor objects with colorful designs. While this movement primarily focuses on decorating public spaces, it will look just as beautiful on the fence around your home. Plan your design, crochet the pieces, and tie them to the chain-link fence.

While crochet can survive the elements, it may deteriorate over time.

Another downside is that it’s only attached with string, meaning someone could take it. We don’t just mean people — squirrels or other wildlife could snatch it to use for nests. Keep this in mind if you’re particularly attached to your crafts — it may be better to keep your art inside or in a less accessible place.

10. Decorate with Anything

Photo Credit: Julia Filirovska / Pexels / License

We’ve already discussed some decoration ideas, but there are endless possibilities. Decor placed along the fence will draw the eye and create visual interest. For example, a chain-link fence won’t look so jarring with a cute birdbath in front of it. You also can lean quirky reclaimed decor against the fence, such as surfboards and old doors.

While you’re at it, why not attach decor to the fence itself? The chain-link material is your canvas. Here are some ideas:

  • Holiday string lights
  • Mason-jar lights
  • Flags
  • Old street signs
  • Birdhouses
  • Ornaments
  • Pieces of decorative glass
  • Tiles
  • Fake flowers
  • Pieces of cloth
  • Flags

For the best results, plan it so your landscaping and decorations work in harmony.

You’ve seen them everywhere: at construction sites, businesses, and homes. These fences go by many names, including:

  • Diamond mesh fence
  • Hurricane fence
  • Cyclone fence
  • Chain-wire fence
  • Wire-mesh fence
  • Wire netting fence

No matter the name, these fences are made the same way. Chain-link fabric is made of intertwined steel or aluminum wire bent into a zig-zag pattern attached to poles. The

Photo Credit: Pxhere / CC0

So why do people get chain-link fences in the first place if they have to think of ways to make them more appealing? It’s likely they appreciate a chain-link fence’s other advantages, such as: 

  • Affordability
  • Low maintenance
  • Easy installation and repairs
  • Versatility
  • Ability to withstand high winds
  • Relatively dog and animal-proof
  • Graffiti-proof

Even if you don’t like its appearance or lack of privacy, it may be a good choice for practical reasons. Of course, you can improve its appearance with some elbow grease and creative decorating.

Does a Chain-Link Fence Add Value to Your Home?

No. While chain-link fences don’t hurt property value, they don’t increase it. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth maintaining. Any fence that isn’t taken care of will decrease property value. Repair broken parts, remove rust, and touch up painted or vinyl-coated fences.

Is a Chain-Link Fence Cheaper Than Wood?

On average, chain-link fences are cheaper than wooden ones, though fence prices vary by the specific metal or wood used. The average chain link fence costs $1,241 – $5,194, and most wood fences cost $1,996 and $4,448.

Since wood fences are only a little more expensive per linear foot than chain-link fences. If your heart wants a wooden fence and it’s in your budget, it may be worth it.

Consider how much fencing you need and your goals to choose the best fence for you. Do you need privacy, security, or a low-maintenance installation? Will you need to spend more money in the future to maintain or replace the fence? Chain-link fences and wooden fences both have their pros and cons.

Can I Install a Chain-link Fence Myself?

Yes, chain-link fences are relatively easy to install. You’ll need to set your posts in concrete and assemble the components with a few tools. 

Make sure you build your fence within property lines and avoid underground utilities. Contact your local utility companies to mark them for you. 

You can always hire a pro if you’re nervous about your DIY skills. Chain-link fence installation is cheaper than other fence types since it’s lightweight and quick to install, especially for an experienced contractor. They’ll likely be able to get the job done quicker than many homeowners.

How much is a black chain link fence?

The average black chain link fence cost is $2,850, with most homeowners paying $1,630 to $5,770. Many homeowners purchase black chain link fences because they are easy to install and maintain.  

When to Hire a Fence Installer

Whether you want to revamp your existing fence or replace it with a new type, a pro can make the process easier and less time-consuming. Pros also can help you choose between different fencing options. Get quotes from local fencing contractors to weigh your options.

Main Image Credit: Rawpixel / CC0

Lauren Bryant

Lauren Bryant is a freelance writer currently based in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys long walks and baking in her free time. She understands how essential fences are for privacy and safety and is most interested in long-lasting solutions.