8 Inexpensive Ways To Cover a Chain Link Fence

Updated: Mar. 12, 2024

Want a little privacy in your yard? Convert your chain link fence into one you can't see through without breaking the bank.

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Freedom Brighton White Vinyl Standard Fence Panel Ecomm Lowes.comVIA MERCHANT

Chain Link Fence Covers

Chain link fences are popular primarily because they’re utilitarian and long-lasting, not because they offer privacy. They’re great for keeping pets and kids in (or out) while seeing what’s happening on the other side.

But what happens when you need privacy for a new hot tub, pool or sitting area? Taking down the fence and replacing it with an opaque one is a major, expensive undertaking.

The solution is actually pretty simple: Cover the fence with something your neighbors can’t see through. Chain link fences are stronger than wood or vinyl so you can easily add heavy-duty slats, but that can be expensive. You could also plant a hedge or some ivy to block the view, but that takes time to grow.

There are plenty of other options, including plastic slats, tape, mesh covers and bamboo or reed fencing. As you shop around for possibilities, keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Installation: How easy is it to install? Some chain link fence coverings are labor-intensive while others are a snap.
  • Permeability: If you attach a non-porous material like a plastic or a canvas tarp, it can act like a sail in high winds and blow away in short order. A cover should allow air to pass through.
  • Durability: How long will it last in the sun and rain? This is important if you live in a snowy climate, or one with lots of rain and warm temperatures where mold grows easily.
  • Appearance: If you want a cover that improves the appearance of the fence, you’ll probably gravitate to a natural material like bamboo or wood. But some artificial covers mimic natural materials well.
  • Price: Less expensive fence covers generally sacrifice appearance for functionality, but not always. However, if you’re willing to spend a little more, you’ll find better options.
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Fencesource Wave Slat Single Wall Bottom Locking Privacy Slat Ecomm Amazon.com

Privacy Slats

It takes time have to manuver each slat through the wire mesh, but otherwise the process is easy. If you choose this type of covering, Fence Source Wave Slats are a great option. They come with a locking strip that weaves through the bottom row of mesh and holds the slats in place.

These come in several colors (including green, of course). The amount of privacy provided depends on the width of the “diamond,” the shape of the mesh spacing when feeding the slats vertically. They’re available for four- to eight-foot fences.

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Fenpro Chain Link Fence Privacy Tape Ecomm Amazon.com

Privacy Tape

Similar to plastic slats, privacy tape is a little thinner and less expensive. To install, weave the tape diagonally through the wire mesh, folding over the ends and securing them with the fasteners provided. Diagonal weaving lets the tape fill more of the gap, providing better privacy than slats.

Fenpro Privacy Tape is one of the few brands out there. It comes in six colors and it’s well reviewed on Amazon, though one reviewer cautions it’s “agonizingly tedious to install.” Looking for more ideas? A living fence is a great alternative to regular fencing. It can bloom, attract wildlife and even change with the seasons.

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Faux Ivy Leaves Polyethylene Privacy Screen Ecomm Wayfair.com

Artificial Greenery

Nothing camouflages a chain link fence better than natural vegetation. If you don’t want to wait for it to grow, artificial vegetation like Yaheetech Faux Ivy Privacy Screen can be great alternative. The plastic ivy leaves with mesh backing can be attached to the front of the fence or draped over the top.

Best for small fences, the 10-foot rolls are 38 inches wide, so you’ll need two to cover a six-foot fence. Attach them to the mesh with zip ties, then take them down and store them as weather and aesthetics dictate.

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Sunnyglade 6 Feet X 50 Feet Privacy Screen Fence Heavy Duty Fencing Mesh Shade Net Cover For Wall Garden Yard Backyard Ecomm Amazon.com

Mesh Privacy Screen

For a lightweight and opaque fence covering, you can’t do better than the Sunnyglade Privacy Screen. The polyethylene mesh features a sun-resistant coating, making it one of the longest-lasting privacy and shade screens on the market.

The generous number of grommet holes allow you to bind it tightly to the fence rails with zip ties. Each screen is 50 feet long, making it a really inexpensive way to cover a long fence. It comes in four-, five- and six-foot widths.

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Mgp Natural Reed Fence Ecomm Amazon.com

Reed Privacy Screen

Reed offers a natural look for your garden or boundary fence, and it’s also a rapidly renewable resource. You can find reed fencing at any hardware store, but much of it is cheap. The MGP Natural Reed Fence is bound with natural fibers instead of wire, keeping the fence looking good longer.

This product covers a four-foot fence and provides partial privacy on higher fences when hung from the top rail. Attach it to the rails and fencing mesh with zip ties.

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Natural Bamboo Fencing Decorative No Dig Fence Panels 3:4 Ecomm Wayfair.com

Bamboo Fence Panels

Bamboo is another natural, sustainable material that can readily be attached to a chain link fence to provide privacy. Bamboo poles are typically wider than reeds and there’s more space between them, so the privacy isn’t complete. But bamboo makes up for it with durablity.

The Natural Bamboo Fencing by Backyard X-Scapes consists of entire poles, not the split ones found on other bamboo products. This makes for a sturdier fence cover that looks as good from one side as it does from the other. Panels are six feet high and eight feet wide, attachable with zip ties.

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Cedar Dog Ear Fence Panel Ecomm Wayfair.com

Wood Fence Panels

Covering a chain link fence with these essentially makes it a wood fence. Doing this with prefabricated panels is easier and less expensive than attaching individual slats.

These six-foot by eight-foot dog-eared Cedar Fence Panels offer complete privacy. And because they’re cedar, they’ll last a long time whether or not you finish them. Secure the panels to the posts and rails with U-bolts.

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Freedom Brighton White Vinyl Standard Fence Panel Ecomm Lowes.com

Vinyl Fence Panels

Like wood ones, vinyl fence panels offer complete privacy, and they’re easy to install. They also last longer than wood, but tend to be more expensive.

The Freedom Brighton Fence Panels available at Lowe’s cost about the same as wood. But they come in six-foot lengths rather than eight-foot, so you’ll need more of them.

If aesthetics is your main concern, you may not mind paying extra. Unlike wood, vinyl panels won’t turn gray in the sun.  They just need occasional washing to keep them looking like new.