DIY Projects | Garden | Outdoor Living

Bamboo Chain-Link Fence Cover Tutorial

Make an attractive DIY chain-link fence cover in just a few hours, using inexpensive bamboo privacy screen with this step-by-step tutorial.

Cover an Ugly Chain-Link Fence: one-afternoon project! before and after photos of a chain link fence covered with bamboo screening

When I bought my house about a year and a half ago, the backyard was a bit…rough. There were a few 15-foot-tall tree stumps that someone had just left. The kids and I actually referred to it as the “stump house” when we were house hunting.

ugly backyard with tall tree stumps and dead grass

Lovely, huh?

Well last Fall I had the stumps removed, hydroseeded the backyard, and had a gravel patio installed in the back corner for a future fire pit and outdoor dining space.

This was a HUGE improvement! But I still had this ugly chain link fence with red privacy slats along the back. And behind that is a company’s equipment yard. Nothing says “this is a classy neighborhood” like a pile of rusty oil cans.

backyard with ugly red chain link fence

Also, there are a couple of dogs on the other side of the fence and they like to bark at Fozzy, who then loses his mind a few times every day. So ideally I’d like the dogs to not be able to see each other.

chain link fence with red privacy slats

Needless to say I wanted to disguise the chain link fence and make it a bit taller to add some privacy and block the ugly view.

I tossed around a few different inexpensive ways to do this, but in the end I landed on bamboo screens, because it was the cheapest and easiest way to solve the problem. This project (about 60 feet of fence) cost around $350, versus about $2,500 to cover this same section of fence with wooden fence panels from Home Depot.

A couple of notes about my project before we get started. My chain link fence is about 5.5 feet tall, but I wanted to make it taller to add privacy and block the ugly view. So we installed the first layer of bamboo reed fencing at ground height.

Then for the second layer, we propped a long 2’x4′ up on a couple of paint cans to give us a level platform to support the second layer while we were attaching it to the fence. This gave us an additional foot of height with the second layer, so my finished fence is roughly 7 feet tall.

I don’t have a homeowner’s association breathing down my neck, so I’m not especially concerned with fence height restrictions, but you may want to double-check the rules. Some neighborhoods only allow six-foot fences.

Tools & Materials

A. Bamboo privacy fence screens (I’m using these 16′ panels)

B. Tape measure

C. Wire cutters

D. Cable ties (I liked having a variety of lengths)

packages of bamboo reed fencing
close-up of the ends of the bamboo reed fencing
two bundles of white cable ties


1. Roll out the first panel & set it in place.

Each of these bamboo reed fence panels is 16 feet long. This is great because it means you can cover a lot of area quickly. The rolls of fencing aren’t heavy, but they are big and a bit awkward for one person to handle alone. It’s really helpful to have two, or possibly even three people to help put it in place.

I would recommend only rolling out a single panel at a time.

chainlink fence with one layer of bamboo reed fencing attached to it

2. Attach the bamboo privacy screen with zip ties.

Next you’ll want to get the panel attached to the fence in several places so it won’t move around on you while you’re trying to work with it.

close-up of hands attaching bamboo reed screen to a chain link fence with a cable tie

The bamboo reed fencing is held together with small black wires that run horizontally and wrap around each stick. These wires are placed roughly every four inches, but they don’t make straight lines.

close-up of wires holding bamboo privacy screening together and a hand holding a ruler in front of it

Ideally, you’ll want each zip tie to wrap around one of these small black wires and also go through an intersection of the chain link fence wires. This will prevent the decorative panel from moving up and down.

The spot circled in red in the photo below is where you should place a zip tie.

close-up of bamboo reed screen in front of a chain-link fence showing where to place the zip tie
close-up of hands using a zip tie to secure bamboo to a chain-link fence.
close-up of a zip tie attaching a bamboo privacy screen to a chain link fence

The trickiest part of this project is getting the cable ties through the fence and back. This is the point where you’ll want to have your DIY buddy go to the other side of the fence if at all possible.

close-up of a cable tie securing a bamboo privacy panel to a chainlink fence

We didn’t have access to the other side of the fence, so we made do the best we could.

I found it was best to leave the long tails on the cable ties while tying them. This made it much easier to see where the ties were placed.

bamboo chain-link fence cover with cable tie ends sticking out

3. Cut the cable ties.

When the entire panel is securely attached, come back with the wire cutters (or a sharp pair of scissors will work too) and cut the tails off the cable ties, making them as short as possible. Once you’ve done this, the cable ties will visually blend in with the rest of the fencing.

close-up of a cable tie being cut with wire cutters

4. Continue installing the first layer.

Repeat the steps above for the second bamboo panel. Try to line the two adjacent panels up as closely as you can. If you end up with a weird gap, you can come back later and work some magic with zip ties (more on this later).

ugly chain-link fence partially covered with bamboo privacy screening

5. Cut fencing panel.

When you get to the end, you’ll need those wire cutters to trim the bamboo panel down to size. Just take the wire snips and cut each wire from bottom to top. The wire is very thin, so it should be easy to cut.

6. Install second layer.

Now start back at the beginning and add a second layer, securing it with the zip ties. It will be slightly more difficult to get the zip ties through the fence and back with each additional layer you add.

man holding a roll of bamboo privacy screen

I wanted my fence to be seven feet tall, so we built a makeshift platform out of paint cans and a 2×4 to use as a platform and installed the second layer several inches off the ground.

man holding a roll of bamboo reed fencing up against a fence

Project Notes

As you can see, my chain link fence already had red privacy slats woven through it. I was originally planning to remove these, but in the end I decided that they added a little more privacy and barely showed through, so I left them in place. If I didn’t have these slats, I would probably have installed an additional (third) layer of the reed fencing.

  • I was originally thinking I would need to find special beige cable ties to go with the fencing, but I changed my mind once I tested a few of the white ones. Once the long ends are cut off, they blend right into the bamboo and they’re not very noticeable.
finished bamboo chain link fence cover

Now it’s finished and looks so much better!

Helpful Tips

  • This is easiest as a two-person job, so recruit a friend if you can.
  • This project will be much easier if you have access to both sides of the fence. Once the panel is attached at both ends, if you have one person on either side of the fence you’ll be able to feed the zip ties through much more easily. This is especially important as you add more layers of bamboo.
  • You’ll probably want to plan on at least two layers of bamboo. A single layer is fairly see-through.

More Backyard DIY Projects…

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DIY Vertical Garden

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The Easiest DIY Outdoor Curtains!

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