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Add Privacy to Your Backyard

10 Ways to Add Privacy to Your Backyard

Cheap ways to block neighbors view: Once, you could relax in your own backyard. The next-door family cut down trees. The neighbors’ new master bedroom has a second-story porch overlooking your yard. Suddenly, you’re in a fishbowl.

As larger residences occupy smaller lots and demand for outdoor living spaces rises, privacy is at a premium. You may also wish to limit your neighbors’ sunbathing and talking.

Without a fence, how can I get backyard privacy?

First, think about fences. Without a fence, you can create privacy with surrounding plantings, stone walls, or garden buildings.

10 ways to block neighbours’ backyard views

Our best backyard privacy ideas

  1. Offset sheets

Staggered boards are stained black, yellow, green, and red. Shrubs and a tree canopy provide a unique privacy fence.

  1. Privacy screens

His landscaping solution can provide year-round screening and isn’t limited by municipal laws. Fast-growing columnar evergreens like Italian cypress and arborvitae, or a trimmed privet hedge, can divide two yards or block the view from a kitchen window.

To plant a new privet hedge, dig a 2-foot-wide, 2-foot-deep trench and cover the branching trunk with earth. Drip-irrigate the first year. These deciduous shrubs demand a temperate environment and frequent pruning.

  1. Plants that provide privacy

In bigger yards, layering deciduous or evergreen trees, shrubs, and perennials in odd numbers gives a realistic aesthetic. Elliott Brundage, a landscape architect in Andover, Massachusetts, recommends using evergreens in the background and deciduous trees in the foreground to add texture, depth, and color.

Deciduous shade trees can block a neighbor’s view from a second-story window or patio. The canopy gives summer seclusion and shade over a deck or patio. In winter, naked trees let the sun into the house.

  1. Deck-Privacy Container Gardens

Arborvitae or clumping bamboo can be used to screen a raised deck seating area. Pots with wheels or that are made of light materials are great for parties or cleaning the deck.

  1. Barriers

Pools, patios, and playgrounds may need a quick visual buffer. A 6-foot solid board fence is the simplest way to provide year-round privacy on your property (and any other restrictions). Fences have a smaller footprint than plants, so they may be preferable in a side yard with a limited area. Visit to view the different types of fences that will suit your preference.

You can stain-board fences to fit your home’s architecture. Eric Sauer, a landscape architect in Dayton, Ohio, believes a privacy fence isn’t necessarily aesthetically beautiful. Sauer says the best way to soften a board fence is to add an open lattice or baluster top and plant flowering or evergreen shrubs.

Stone wall with a fence

Mount a 3-or 4-foot lattice or picket fence on a 2-or 3-foot stone wall. The wall blocks distant views, although the openwork fence doesn’t feel claustrophobic.

  1. Ironwork on masonry walls

A 5-or 6-foot-high stone or stucco wall feels less intimidating with windows carved into it; ornate ironwork can decorate such apertures.

Michael Glassman, a landscape designer in Sacramento, California, finds fencing at garage auctions. He may use a $50 cast-iron part as a trellis for vines, attaching brackets to the house. “Unlike new ironwork, salvage lends the landscape a more permanent aspect,” adds Glassman.

  1. Panels/pergolas

Small patios, outdoor kitchens, and decks are easier to screen than a whole yard. By enclosing them, you may eat or party indoors while enjoying the weather.

Enclosures may be a slatted-top wooden pergola with climbing vines on a patio or two fixed lattice panels on a raised deck. On the ground, you can set up a gazebo made of iron and surround it with potted vines and hanging baskets.

  1. Lattice, wood panels, and ironwork.

Lattice, louvred wood panels, or ornamental iron can be put into the ground to enclose a pleasant corner or construct a U-shaped building that preserves views. For the greatest flexibility, place post ends in lightweight planters with wheels; anchor them with concrete plugs or gravel. So you can generate additional space when entertaining.

Semitransparent structures don’t provide complete privacy, but they add visual appeal and let in light and breezes. Stephanie Hubbard, a Boston landscape architect and TOH TV regular, thinks they offer a psychological buffer.

  1. Noise-masking fountains

Even if you don’t agree with your neighbors, you may be able to hear them. Or you may be irritated by traffic or AC compressors. A fountain can mask undesirable sounds with pleasant white noise. These range from plug-in, off-the-shelf units to unique designs that create a focal point.

The sound of water becomes louder as it falls further and goes across more tiers. A landscape designer in Sacramento, California, warns that a loud fountain might be just as annoying as the noise you’re attempting to disguise.

“You don’t want to have to yell over flowing water at dinner,” says Glassman, who designed this wall and water feature. If you purchase an adjustable recirculating pump, you’ll find a relaxing sound level.


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