These Gorgeous Wood Fence Colors Will Transform the Backyard into the Most Cheerful Space

It's all about adding interest and depth, and these tones are the perfect tools for doing just that

tall pale blue painted garden fence
(Image credit: Alamy)

Painted garden fences can give your outdoors extra gravitas. From cool, complementary colors and striking monochromes to contrasting tones, we've gathered ideas to see how experts dial things up when it comes to making privacy fences a feature.

'Painted wood fences not only give your exteriors a fresh look, they also offer practical benefits,' says Helen Shaw of Benjamin Moore. 'Paint ensures the woodwork is protected against the natural elements and therefore extends the life of the fence. From an aesthetic perspective, paint can highlight the fence as a focal point, which can be integrated with other features.'

If you too are interested in giving your privacy fence a new, fresh look, then these ideas suggested by experts are a great place to start.

1. Offset florals with an olive tone

A green fence with flowers in the foreground

(Image credit: Getty)

A great backyard and fence color is green as it beautifully merges into the surroundings yet adds layering to the outdoor features.

'Olive is a great color for the garden as there is a lot of green here already and all flowers look amazing with it,' says paint expert, Annie Sloan, who recommends choosing a dry day if you're going to do the task yourself.

'Start in the morning, so the paint doesn't dry too quickly in the sun,' she says. 'Once your fence is painted, I recommend leaving it for a couple of days to dry out completely and bond with the wood. I usually apply lacquer as my wooden gate has some flat horizontal surfaces where rainwater can pool, although it is not usually necessary on vertical surfaces.'

2. Bring the drama with a charcoal-hued fence

Chalk Paint in Athenian Black and Olive

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

If you want impact, go for a monochromatic black or graphite tone on a tall feather board or solid panel fence. This will create a dramatic, modern style, provide plenty of privacy, and work well in urban spaces. Plus, it's one of the best colors to paint if you want to make your small backyard look bigger.

'Dark colors like Graphite or Athenian Black create a contemporary look,' says Annie. 'They will also ground a scheme and provide a gallery-style backdrop for a selection of statement potted plants. If you like a weathered, rustic look over time, there is no need to apply chalk paint lacquer to protect the surface.'

3. Introduce elegance with rich navy blue

fence painted in Evening Blue from Rustoleum

(Image credit: Rustoleum)

Perhaps you'd prefer a bold backdrop that's warmer than black or gray? If that's the case, consider rich natural tones, such as navy blue or forest green. This look is a beautiful balance between impact and elegance.

If you like to entertain or enjoy your modern garden in the evening, these colors on fencing look lovely when night falls.

'As the two colors most regularly seen in nature, blue and green are natural choices,' says Helen Shaw at Benjamin Moore. 'The beauty of these shades is they require our eyes to do little, to no, adjusting, which is perfect for creating harmony and elegance throughout the space. Opting for rich, darker shades of these colors such as navy blue and forest green, not only add a touch of drama and luxury, but on a practical note, will show less wear and tear.'

4. Add warmth with yellow

garden fence painted in India Yellow from Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

A north-facing courtyard garden or yard shrouded in shade for much of the day can feel a little gloomy, even when the sun is shining. Painting a perimeter fence in a warm color will lighten the look and add a cheerful tone.

'If you want to bring some impact to an unpromising space or add a zest of color to a gloomy plot, then vibrant, warm spice colors can help,' says Patrick O'Donnell, paint expert at Farrow & Ball. 'Think a partitioning fence in the heat of India Yellow or the terracotta tones of Red Earth — both colors will bring a little dose of the exotic, even on a flat, winter light day.'

5. Create interest with contrasting tones

shower enclosure painted in Red Earth from Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Timber garden fencing isn't just for the perimeter of a property; it can be used to section areas too. Instead of leaving timber fence panels and nearby walls in their natural state, create interest by painting them in contrasting colors.

'Courtyard gardens are a great way to play with color, especially if deprived of much natural light,' says Patrick. 'With fencing and color, you can create depth and relief through judicious use of tones and placement, defining areas. Create zones in a tonal palette and soften the lines with planted pots.'

3 paint colors for wood fences

Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.