Cover chain link fence and save the cost and misery of building an entirely new fence? Sounds like a pipe dream. But one of the few good points about chain link is that the posts are insanely rooted into the ground. You can use this to your advantage, because it allows you to hang other fence on top of that chain link.
Chain Link: Ugly as Sin, Easy to Correct
Chain link fence: ugly stuff. Nobody ever put up chain link for aesthetic reasons; it’s purely functional. It keeps in the dogs and out the intruders. Because chain link fence is unbelievably hard to remove–posts are set very deep and that floppy chain link is a bitch to handle–it’s often easier to cover it than remove it.
You’re looking for 6′ tall cover-ups, not 8′. If you think you’re going to circumvent your local building code’s 6′ maximum fence height by adding a taller cover-up, forget it. Fence code applies to those sneaky cover-ups, too, like foliage So, to prevent your eyeballs from melting, here are ways to cover up chain link fence:
Large Rolled Bamboo Fencing
In a Word: Bamboo
In a Few More Words: This can best be characterized as “real bamboo,” not that reedy thin stuff. Full-size bamboo–1″ minimum diameter–is expensive stuff. Four 14-gauge steel wires running horizontally connect the poles into a mat.
Cost: About $10.00 per linear foot for 6′ high, not including shipping. If you cannot do the calculations, that’s $1,000 every 100 feet. $1 per linear foot is cheap when compared to an all-new wood fence, expensive when compared to the other cover-up methods listed here.
Best: Looks fantastic and gives you lots of woo-woo crunchy-granola street cred.
Worst: You can see through it. Large gaps between individual poles let neighbors see you nude sunbathing.
Where: You will not find these larger pole bamboo screens at your run-of-the-mill garden shops. Larger, more specialized nurseries may have them, though. Online, try Cali Bamboo.
Smaller “Reed” Rolled Bamboo Fencing
In a Word: Reed
In a Few More Words: Called reed, this too is bamboo–just smaller.
Cost: About $1.60 per linear foot for 6′ high from a local store like Home Depot.
Best: So very cheap and easy to find. It’s right there at your local store. Also, because the reeds are thinner than full-size bamboo, each mat is lighter and easier to handle.
Worst: They turn gray within a season.
Where: Local home improvement stores and nurseries.
Fence Mesh Privacy Screen
In a Word: Plastic
In a Few More Words: They call this fence mesh, privacy screen, or fence windscreen. You’ve seen it: it’s the plastic mesh that covers up construction sites or the action at outdoor concerts so that nobody can see inside without paying. Is this stuff right for your precious little home, though?
Cost: Minimum of $1.44 per linear foot for 98% black mesh screen, based on a 50 foot order, including shipping.
Best: You’ll have it up fast.
Worst: What’s the worst, besides making your home look like the the loading zone behind a grocery store?
Where: Numerous online sources, but most prominently FenceScreen.com. Watch out for their add-ons, though.