Cyclone or chain-link fences are a popular choice with many homeowners not only because of the low installation cost, but also because they are durable and require very little attention by way of maintenance. However, one disadvantage of cyclone fences is the lack of privacy, unless the fence is covered up, e.g. using wooden slats.
For homeowners who love gardening, however, planting vines to cover the fence can improve privacy while adding to the aesthetic appeal of your compound (and complement the garden you probably have going already). Below are ideas for starting out and growing foliage around your cyclone fence:
Tip 1: Go with non-invasive fence-eater vines
Fence eaters are a group of vines which wrap around fences at a fast rate. Good examples are Passionflower (and fruit), honeysuckle, Silver Lave vines, morning glory and trumpet vines among others. Fence-eaters are ideal if you have a large expanse of cyclone fencing and you want to cover it all up quickly. Bear in mind the soil, spacing and climatic requirements of your choices.
However, be careful about introducing invasive vine species, e.g. woody vines like English ivy, Japanese Honeysuckle, Chocolate vine and Winter-creeper. Such vines would not only overpower your cyclone fence; they can grow out-of-hand and destroy other plants around the fence.
You can get vine seeds at your local nursery or gardening shop. Using seeds instead of seedlings can save a lot of money, since most species grow easily and quickly. If you want to speed up the time it takes for the fence to grow, however, larger seedlings are the best idea. Some perennial vines like Wisteria and Clematis take years of growth before blooming, so you should get plants to shorten your waiting time.
Tip 2: Mix perennials and annuals for the best of both worlds
A fun idea might be to plant many vine species to avoid the monotony of a single-plant growing all around your fence. Annual vines (e.g. Hyacinth Bean vine, Moonflower, Black-eyed Susan vine, Mandevilla, Scarlet Runner Bean, Cypress vine and Morning Glory) grow faster which means you can get your foliage and blooms in a shorter time. Perennial vines (e.g. Wisteria, Coral Honeysuckle, Clematis) on the other hand grow slower, but provide thicker foliage and do not die as fast. Mixing annuals and perennials allows you to cover up for both plants' downsides: you can get foliage from annuals while perennials are filling up slowly, but once they do, you'll have rich foliage all-year round, which is great for privacy.
Tip 3: Create a pattern
You can alternate two different vines for a simple look, or increase the number to three or four to create a more complex pattern. Purposefully choose a colour scheme like you would for a painting. Below are some examples:
- Monochromatic (different shades of one colour) – e.g. warm-toned cypress vine, Chilean Glory vine and Exotic Love vine or cool-toned Passionflower vine, Purple-Hyacinth Bean vine and Cup and Saucer vine.
- Complementary – create a mix of both warm and cool-toned flowering vines
- Same plant, different varieties – mix different varieties of the same vine genus e.g. different varieties of Ipomoea genus which feature Morning Glory, Cypress vine, Moonflower, Exotic Love vine, Cardinal Climber etc.
You can also mix up the above patterns across the perimeter of the cyclone fencing in your yard. It's your home, so feel free to have fun with it!