5 Inexpensive Ways to Cover a Chain-Link Fence for Privacy

Written by Kaitlyn Pacheco
Updated July 27, 2022
Photo: Zbynek Pospisil / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Learn how to add privacy to your chain-link fence

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

A chain link fence enables your kids and pets to play safely around the yard, but doesn’t provide much privacy. Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable options to help you cover your chain-link fence so you can water your petunias in your pajamas without the neighbors seeing. 

Whether you use a bamboo screen, wire mesh, or wooden panels, there are simple solutions to create a private, relaxing outdoor living space and regain your peace of mind. 

Below we outline several chain-link privacy options along with printable, family-friendly activities to celebrate your newfound tranquility.

Photo: BWFolsom / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Chain-link fences have large openings, making it easy to slide slats down the fence to provide more privacy. Installation is relatively straightforward, albeit time-consuming.

The slats are typically made from aluminum or high-density polyethylene, meaning they are built to last—even decades—and it's easy to replace any slats that get damaged.

The material of slats makes them easy to paint, meaning you can customize them to match your home’s aesthetic

The cost of chain-link fence privacy slats is $3 to $10 per linear foot, not including the labor costs for installation. 

  • Privacy coverage: Slats provide about 75%–85% visual coverage.

  • Durability: Slats can last you decades if you invest in a quality brand.

  • Cost: $$$

  • Installation difficulty: Medium

2. Wire Mesh

Photo: beekeepx / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

While wire mesh isn’t the most attractive option, it provides privacy at an inexpensive price. Wire mesh is wind- and water-permeable, meaning it could last you longer if you live in an area with extreme weather.

A local chain-link fence installation company can easily install wire mesh with brass grommets and zip ties. Depending on the thickness of your mesh, it could provide 80%–90% visibility coverage.

While this solution provides great privacy, it comes at the cost of an unappealing aesthetic. For this reason, they are used less often for homes and more often for industrial sites or schools. 

  • Privacy coverage: Wire mesh provides 85%–95% visibility coverage.

  • Durability: Wire mesh can last you years and is water- and wind-permeable.

  • Cost: $

  • Installation difficulty: Easy

3. Bamboo Screens

Photo: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

Bamboo screens are an efficient privacy solution with a natural aesthetic that could compliment any outdoor butterfly garden. It’s best that your screen is made from bamboo poles cut right on the node to make them more weather-resistant. When bamboo poles have exposed ends, they accumulate rain, causing them to deteriorate faster.

Installing a bamboo screen is relatively easy using cable ties. Just loop the ties through your bamboo every foot or so from top to bottom. Once installed, you can trim excess from the cable ties for a cleaner look.

The biggest downside of bamboo screens is they have a short lifespan since they are made from organic material. If your bamboo isn’t regularly maintained, it could turn brown and develop sizable cracks. 

  • Privacy coverage: Bamboo screens provide 85%–95% visual coverage.

  • Durability: Bamboo is susceptible to weather damage and wear and tear from a lack of maintenance.

  • Cost: $$$

  • Installation difficulty: Easy

4. Reed Screens

Photo: misszin / Shutterstock

Reed screens are a lightweight and low-cost privacy option that’s great for travel. While the screens themselves are highly susceptible to weather damage, they’re affordable enough to replace easily. 

You can use wire to fasten your screen to your fence in less than a couple of hours. Once installed, the screen can provide 80% to 90% privacy. As they age, however, reeds will begin to gray and fall out, exposing your space.

Reed screens are affordable and easy to find at housing centers. A 4-by-14-foot reed screen can range from $35 to $40.

Reed screens also make for an appealing aesthetic to set the mood for a backyard beach retreat.

  • Privacy coverage: Reed screens offer 80%–90% privacy.

  • Durability: Reed screens are very susceptible to damage from weather and aging.

  • Cost: $

  • Installation difficulty: Easy

5. Wooden Panels

Photo: Jane Rubtsova / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Wooden fence panels are an attractive privacy option that completely covers your yard and can last for decades when properly installed and maintained. To further increase durability, you can apply weather-resistant sealants to your panels.

A wood fence installation company in your area can complete this project for you, but it’s not an easy DIY. Installation requires two or more people and a variety of materials and tools. While panels can be installed either vertically or horizontally, the latter method is easier. 

Materials you may need for installation include: U-brackets or C-brackets, exterior wood screws, zip ties, carpentry nails, a drill, and a hammer. 

Keep in mind that your city might require a fence permit for wooden panels. Check with your HOA or city before beginning installation.

  • Privacy coverage: Wooden fence panels offer 95%–100% privacy.

  • Durability: The most durable option on our list, wooden panels can last you up to two decades.

  • Cost: $$$$

  • Installation difficulty: Hard

Celebrate Your New Yard

Once you have privacy for the chain-link fence, it’s time to enjoy your space with the whole family. Whether you want to camp in your yard or decorate the sidewalk with chalk, there’s a never-ending assortment of family-friendly activities to do. 

You may even want to create an activity mason jar. Simply print out the activities below, cut them out, fold them, and put them into the jar. Then your kids can pull out an activity to decide what your family will do for some outdoor fun.

Photo: karandaev / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Download Printable Family Outdoor Activities Here

Download Chain-Link Fence Moodboard Here

Frequently Asked Questions

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.
Chain Link Fence