To keep out wandering eyes and noise pollution, use smart landscaping solutions.
There was a time when you could relax in complete isolation in your own backyard. Then the next-door family cut down some trees on their property. The neighbors’ new master bedroom, on the other hand, offers a second-story porch with wonderful views—into your yard. You suddenly feel as if you’re in a fishbowl.
Privacy is becoming increasingly important as larger residences occupy ever-smaller lots and the demand for outdoor living areas develops. It’s not only about inquisitive eyes invading your personal space; you may also want to filter out your sunbathing neighbors’ chatter.
Without a fence, how can I get privacy in my backyard?
The first answer that comes to mind is usually a fence. There are a variety of options for creating privacy in your backyard without a fence, ranging from perimeter plantings to stone walls or garden structures.
How to Keep Your Backyard from Being Seen by Your Neighbors
Here are some of our favorite backyard privacy ideas to get you started.
1. Wooden Planks that are staggered
Soft colors of black, yellow, green, and red stain the staggered wooden boards. They create a one-of-a-kind privacy fence with a feathery tree canopy overhead and bushes in front.
2. Personal Privacy Hedges
This privacy landscaping idea can provide year-round screening and is often unrestricted by height restrictions imposed by municipal ordinances. Fast-growing columnar evergreens like Italian cypress and arborvitae, as well as a shorn privet hedge, can provide a simple solution for separating adjoining yards or concealing sight lines out a kitchen window where space is limited, such as in a side yard.
Create a two-foot-wide, two-foot-deep hole for a new private hedge, place individual bushes approximately 12 inches apart, and bring soil up to the branching trunk.
The first year, use drip irrigation to water thoroughly and often. These deciduous shrubs demand a temperate climate and a homeowner who is ready to use sharp shears as often as necessary to thrive.
3. Plantings for Privacy in Layers
Planting a mix of deciduous or evergreen trees, shrubs, and perennials in bigger yards produces a more naturalistic effect, especially if the plants are layered and grouped in odd numbers. To provide texture, depth, and color, stagger evergreens in the background and step down the height in the foreground with deciduous material.
Planting deciduous shade trees—which range in height from 25 to 60 feet depending on the species—is an effective technique to block a neighbor’s view from a second-story window or terrace. The canopy gives privacy and shade in the summer when placed over a deck or patio. The naked branches of the trees allow the sun to shine into the house in the winter.
4. Container Gardens for Deck Privacy
Clumping bamboo can be used to create a green screen surrounding a seating area on a raised deck. Pots should ideally be elevated on casters or constructed of lightweight materials so that they may be readily moved for parties or deck repairs.
5. Fences and Walls
Pools, patios, and playgrounds that have recently been erected may demand a visual boundary in a hurry. A 6-foot solid board fence is the simplest option to establish year-round privacy in your backyard; however, verify local construction laws for fence heights. Fences have a smaller footprint than plantings, so they may be the ideal option in a side yard where space is limited.
Board fences are available in a variety of styles to match the architecture of your home, and they can be stained to match the house. However, while a privacy fence may alleviate the problem, it isn’t necessarily the most attractive option.
Also, metal gates are excellent for securing your property. Intruders and robbers are deterred by having a robust metal gate or fence surrounding their home. Customized gates can also add value to your home by providing a solid security precaution for future owners.
6. Fencing on top of a stone wall
A shorter 3- or 4-foot lattice or picket fence mounted on top of a 2- or 3-foot stone wall is another option. From afar, the wall is tall enough to block sight lines, while the openwork fence provides privacy without feeling claustrophobic.
7. Ornamental Ironwork on Masonry Walls
Similarly, when windows are cut into a 5- or 6-foot-high masonry wall of stone or stucco, it feels less imposing; often, beautiful ironwork can decorate such holes.
8. Panels and Pergolas
Screening defined areas such as small patios, outdoor kitchens, and decks is typically easier than screening an entire yard. You can re-create the intimate sense of eating or partying indoors while still enjoying the great outdoors by erecting an enclosure around them.
A slatted-top wooden pergola covered with climbing vines on a patio or a set of fixed lattice panels along two sides of a raised deck are examples of enclosures. Prefabricated iron gazebos can be placed directly on the ground, with potted vines and hanging baskets filling in the spaces.
9. Ornamental ironwork, lattice, and wood panels
Lattice screens, shutters like louvered wood panels, or pieces of ornamental iron with anchoring posts can be buried to enclose a pleasant area or create a U-shaped structure that maintains good views. Consider putting the post ends in lightweight planters with wheels for maximum flexibility; to anchor them, add concrete plugs to the feet or place the posts in gravel. When you’re entertaining, you can shift them around to make more open space.
Although semi transparent structures can not give complete privacy, they do add visual appeal to a landscape while allowing natural light and breezes to pass through.
10. Using Fountains to Mask Noise
Even if you don’t agree with your neighbors on everything, you may be close enough to hear their talk. Alternatively, you might be irritated by obtrusive traffic noise or buzzing air conditioner compressors. In such instances, including a fountain in your privacy plan might provide nice white noise to conceal undesirable sounds.
These can range from plug-in devices that sit on a table or hang on the wall to unique designs that become the focal point of the room.