Nothing brightens up a dull fence over a bright, active border next to it. Plant a variety of plants to maximize interest and provide all-year-round shade. You may just access fence edges from one side, so shrubs, perennials, ground cover plants, bulbs and other low-maintenance plants are good choices for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10.
Hooker’s manzanita (Arctostaphylos hooker) is an evergreen tree which grows to a maximum of 4 feet. It tolerates drought well, and its pretty pink-white spring blooms are attractive to butterflies. Grevillea (Grevillea lavandulace) is taller, growing up to 6 feet high and 6 feet wide. It’s evergreen, has showy red flowers that attract hummingbirds from autumn through spring, and enjoys full sun to part shade. This tree tolerates poor soil, heat and drought.
Perennials last for many years. Naked eriogonum (Eriogonum nudum) bears yellow, white and pink blossoms though July and August. It’s evergreen, with gray-green leaves, and grows up to 3 feet tall. Plant it in a sunny, mixed border, to give an airy effect. Sea thrift (Armeria maritima ssp. Californica) bears pink blossoms in spring. It tolerates drought well and rises to 6 inches wide and up to 1 foot across. This plant enjoys full sun. California fuchsia (Epilobium californicum) includes scarlet flowers through the summer and autumn that are attractive to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. It tolerates part shade.
Plant ground cover plants to minimize time spent weeding. Ceanothus (Ceanothus gloriosus) rises up to 18 inches tall and 16 feet wide. It’s dark green leaves and pretty light blue blooms that attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. It tolerates coastal winds well. Carmel Sur Manzanita (Arctostaphylos edmundsii “Carmel Sur”) includes light pink flowers through spring and winter, and its dense evergreen growth makes it an excellent ground cover plant. It grows rapidly and tolerates most soil types.
Bulbs are helpful in a mixed border since they require little upkeep, and many die down during part of the year, freeing up space for other plants. Firecracker blossom (Dichelostemma ida-maia) is a hummingbird magnet. Keep this plant dry over the summer and it will reward you with crimson, pendant, tubular blossoms in May to July. It grows best in full sun. Golden stars (Bloomeria crocea) is a sweet little deciduous plant with pretty, yellow, star-shaped blooms in spring. It grows quickly up to 1 foot higher.