What's wrong with a chicken wire fence? Well, nothing -- if you're talking about functionality. These low-cost, hard-working fences are great for keeping small critters in or out of contained spaces. However, here's the drawback: They can be pretty ugly. But, take heart; there are some terrific ways to make a chicken wire fence actually look good.
What Is Chicken Wire?
Chicken wire is an inexpensive fence material that was traditionally used to keep chickens in their coops. Made with cheap wire in a hexagon pattern, this low-grade fence will keep chickens in, but, it rusts easily and it won't keep raccoons or other larger animals out.
That's where the name "chicken wire" gets attached to other types of wire fencing. Farmers in search of a stronger fencing material expanded to use all types of wire fencing, from galvanized hardware cloth with small ½-inch openings to rabbit wire with three or four-inch openings and everything in between. That's why many people call all types of wire mesh fencing "chicken wire."
No matter what you call it, it's a budget-friendly option to keeping small animals -- including the family pet -- in your yard without closing up the view. Therefore, homeowners also use this material in gardens and backyards. The trick is to make it look good. Wire posts, heavy-duty staples and a roll of wire may be cheap, but it sure can be unsightly. Here are some creative ways to make a chicken wire fence actually look good.
The first step to beautifying a wire fence is to frame it. Instead of just rolling and stapling the material from post to post, use lumber to build open box or rectangular frames to hold the fencing. It's an instant step up in appearance and works particularly well with square or rectangular mesh fencing designs.
Stain It or Paint It
Once you've framed your wire fence, you will definitely want to consider staining or painting it. Staining the wood frame will bring out the deep color and beauty of the wood. Painting the frame, or the wire itself, will help you coordinate or complement the colors of your surroundings and make the fence look like it belongs in the landscape versus being an unattractive afterthought.
Add To It
If you want to go a step further, add to your fence with other materials to make the design more interesting. You can alternate or incorporate panels of corrugated metal or painted panels in the fence to break up the monotony of the wire. Let your imagination go and create a custome masterpiece of your own.
Add a Killer Gate or Entry
The final step to making a wire fence attractive is to add a killer gate or entryway. Coordinate the wood of the frame with a hand-built wood gate or build an archway entrance to enhance the structure. Nothing will take it up a notch like a custom entry that creates a statement of style for the entire fence.
Dream big by looking at some of the wire fence designs in the Chicken Wire Fences ideabook on Houzz. You'll get to see just how good you can make a wire fence look and it will inspire you for your own backyard. Deliver a big impact using wire mesh materials and simple designs that will protect your small animals, yet make a utility fence a thing of beauty for your next project.
Here are more terrific garden ideas from Terry Mulligan:
Three cool garden ideas