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Should I Let Vines Grow On My Fence?

DIY espalier trellis on cedar fence. Vines growing on trellis; hydrangea in foreground.

I’ve been revisiting past posts and reporting back about how they are holding up. There were many passionate comments about the espalier trellis project! After reading them, I asked “should I grow vines on my fence?”

Last week I shared what my most popular post is along with the follow up. However, in terms of should I say controversy or drama, my easy espalier trellis tutorial elicited the most intense of responses!

It seems like such an easy, pedestrian, innocent project! So what is all the fuss about?

Growing vines on a fence.

Who knew so many people would feel so strongly against growing vines on fences!

So let’s talk about the pros and cons.

Should I let vines grow on my fence?

Cedar wood fence with wire espalier trellis in Belgian lattice pattern. Planter bed in front of fence with border of boulders and hydrangea.

There were many people against growing vines on a fence, specifically a wood fence. Many people were concerned about the moisture being trapped and wood rot causing a fence to deteriorate.

Three things to consider:

Woody vines like wisteria seem to be a culprit of fence destruction.

Type of wood, condition and age of a fence also seem to be factors. If your wood fence is already 10 to 15 years old, it may already need to be replaced and adding a vine to it could further harm the integrity. Consider factors like- Is the fence already leaning or rotting?

Environment also plays a part. Very humid rainy locations might create the perfect storm for vines on a fence. Soil type might also affect the integrity of fence stability. Unstable sandy soil which is not a good match for weighty plants growing on a fence, might mean vines on a fence is a no-go.

The pros are that vines soften the look of a long wood fence, create visual interest, expand your growing space by going vertical, and create more privacy.

What vines should I grow on a fence?

Galvanized wire diamond pattern trellis on wood fence with English ivy in terra cotta pot.

Woody vines like wisteria seem to pose the most threat to a wood fence. The thing is they do take time to become established so they may not be an immediate threat. You can always consult with a landscape designer in your area with your concerns.

As for what would work, vines like jasmine, clematis, and honeysuckle are great choices. In the right climate a bougainvillea would look beautiful! I mentioned that I have English ivy and that I keep it potted to avoid the takeover that inevitably happens with ivy plants. Morning glory is another vine to use cautiously.

A good practice is to ask about vines carried at smaller nurseries. The small nurseries around us have very knowledgeable staff who know a ton about plant traits like growth rate and how they perform in your specific environment. Will the plant take a long time to become established? Is the plant an annual or perennial? Is the root system invasive? The ivy we have is evergreen, but the jasmine dies back and gives the fence a breather so to speak.

Make sure to monitor how a plant grows for you. Does it need to be trimmed back? Is it taking over too rapidly? Don’t be afraid to move it elsewhere if it does seem to pose a problem.

Have you given thought to how the weight of the vines will affect the fence?

Wire trellis in Belgian lattice pattern on fence with vines growing. Hydrangea growing in foreground.

I definitely did! We have a jasmine that is not woody and dies back each winter. I have English ivy in pots to keep it from growing out of control. So far there are no issues leaning or decay.

Would this work using Command type hooks on a vinyl fence?

Espalier wire trellis in diamond pattern on brown wood fence. Vine growing on fence, hydrangea growing in planter bed.

Yes, you can use Command hooks or similar brand to create this espalier. Since you have a vinyl fence, woody vines like wisteria would actually be fine to use.

What is the name of the pattern you made? What other espalier trellis patterns can I make?

weathered fence with wire trellis.

The pattern I made is called Belgian lattice, or diamond pattern. Fruit trees are often trained in a fan shape or candelabra shape when they are espaliered. In the picture above I made a simple zig-zag pattern that is difficult to see because of the fence color.

What did you use to paint your fence?

I used Valspar exterior stain from Lowe’s in Canyon Brown. I used both a brush and roller.

How can I create an espalier trellis on stucco?

With the proper drill bit and hooks, you can anchor hooks into stucco.

Pin to save for later!

Yard with grass, rocker border planter bed, dark stained fence and diamond pattern trellis. Should I grow vines on my fence?

Hope you found this information helpful! As always, I appreciate your visit! Hope you come back to the casa soon.

If you are looking for more outdoor inspo:

Troubleshoot your dahlia problems while feasting your eyes on some gorgeous images.

A fun visual feast for the eyes.

16 thoughts on “Should I Let Vines Grow On My Fence?”

  1. Great information in this post. I say it’s your fence you should do what brings you joy in your yard and home. Your fence seems healthy and that is the biggest issue.

    You have done your homework and I think it looks pretty.

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