Fortify Your Homestead with A Living Fence


We want to teach you how to build a fence from something unexpected. Rather than some industrial-strength, bullet-proof material, we suggest something a little bit more natural – plants. An agricultural or living fence can be a prepper/homesteader's best friend. A living fence is essentially a hedge fencing around your property, bunker or bug out location that creates a natural barrier between you and the outside world. It serves as the perfect disguise for keeping things hidden and away from view.

Of course, there are other advantages to having a living fence. It provides a niche for more species to inhabit, as well as a barrier to keep species out. Kinda balancing out the flow of nature. Depending on the type of plant you choose, it may also provide food or medicine for your family or livestock.

Homesteaders typically create living fences by planting appropriate shrub or tree species — via nursery plants, stem, or root cuttings or seeds — at a close spacing. As they mature, the close spacing creates a thick, bushy growth and forms a hedge.

 Choosing your Homestead Plants

Living fences typically start with a shrub or tree – either as potted plants, roots, or by seed – and are planted at much closer spacing than the norm. As they mature, the closeness of the plants will force thick, bushy growth, forming a hedge.

It is wise to use a native plant that can withstand regional weather, insects, and disease. Don't be afraid to mix it up!

1. Planting

Make the holes slightly wider and deeper than the pot, root, or seed you are planting.

Fortify Your Homestead with A Living Fence | Planting

Create a raised mulch ring around the plant for water. Small trees should be staked in three directions to hold them upright.

2. Mulch

When planting is complete, spread mulch or straw hay to help control the weeds. Mulching also improves root growth, protects the soil from erosion, and conserves moisture in the soil. Cedar mulch is our favorite, because it also smells very nice.

Learn how to make your own mulch with this video tutorial:

3. Upkeep

Water about every other day in a dry climate, or at least once a week for six months to a year, until the shrub or tree seems pretty grounded. Weed and water often just after planting.


After the first six months, you should be able to remove any tree stakes. Just be confident that the tree is able to stand alone. Trees can be re-staked, if need be.

Check out this video on maintaining your privacy hedge:

Once you have accomplished your first living fence, you can move on to creating a massive hedge maze to keep intruders at bay!

Check out related articles here:

For awesome survival gear you can’t make at home, check out the Survival Life Store!

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 6, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

8 Responses to :
Fortify Your Homestead with A Living Fence

  1. Mark says:

    A hedge can also provide cover for the bad guy or home invader so be careful where you put it.

  2. Mark says:

    This is an old concept, especially in the Southwest.
    Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) has been used as far back as the 1600s as a natural corral.
    Privacy hedges of Russian Olive mixed with green briar would be more effective for deterring intrusion than euonimous (which is a water hog until established and has intrusive roots) and a bit of bunchgrass. .
    Other plants that should be considered are Prickly Ash, most acacias, wild roses, and shrub bumelia spp.
    I will also agree with Left Coast Chuck on the agave species such as Spanish dagger, levhuguilla, and sotol. All have spines and/or hooks on the edges of the leaves.
    An all time favorite for pollinators would be the various succulent cacti species like various prickly pear, turkey pear, and cholla.
    I have seen bee hives set in or near “living fences” as an added bonus.

  3. Great Grey says:

    It also a way to get around zoning that limits fence height if you need to block people from looking out their second floor windows and then they complain about what you have in your yard.

    1. Lauren J says:

      This is a great tip, Great Grey! Thanks for sharing. I would have never thought of this, but it could be a great idea for extra privacy.

  4. Tasauf says:

    Thank you for share your knowledge. This post is so good. I think this blog be effective for everyone.
    Thank you

  5. David Nash says:

    Its interesting that you just posted this, as I just bought some land to developing into a diy homestead, and have been researching building a living fence. We are thinking a base of osage orange and locust.

  6. jolj says:

    This is a cheap way to get me to buy your stuff & it is a faults hope, no live fence can do anything for a prepper, unless it is fruit trees. No protection from high powered scope or a tracker.

  7. John says:

    I don’t need this stuff. There is a wolverine that lives in the woods behind my property. If something weird is going on he shows up to see what’s going on. This place is secure.

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