Creating backyard privacy

There are several different ways to create backyard privacy. Hedges, fences and pergolas provide different options for privacy depending on budget, maintenance requirements, landscape design and the level of privacy required. Gaining privacy from neighbors or passing traffic can be accomplished while improving the beauty of the landscape as well. Some independent research or a landscape designer can help with the choices involved.

One way to help decide which privacy method is best for your yard is to consider a method that fits into the existing landscape. Lisa Hallott Taylor writing for The Spruce suggests, "Analyze the size of the area you'd like to have screened. Most important is the height because you don't want something too tall to dwarf your space or too short to give prying eyes a direct line of sight." Also, consider which materials will work best with the size of the area that requires privacy and go well with the design of the rest of the property.

Privacy hedge

Hedges offer privacy with a softer more natural approach than putting up a solid wall. Jennifer Noonan writing for says, "Hedges have been a privacy landscaping hallmark for centuries, particularly along property lines." Hedges are living walls that will require trimming and care to keep the plants healthy.

There are many types of plants to choose from for privacy hedges and different varieties of each plant. Some popular options are boxwoods and arborvitae which offer year-round green foliage and fast growth.

Boxwoods are a popular plant for privacy hedges that offer dense green foliage that is deer resistant. says, "American boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) tends to be larger and grows faster than English boxwood (Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa')." There are many varieties of boxwood so be sure you don't purchase a dwarf variety when planning a tall privacy hedge.

Green Giant Arborvitae is another popular choice for a privacy hedge because of its hardiness and fast-growing nature. The Arbor Day Foundation says, "The green giant arborvitae is a large, vigorous, fast-growing evergreen—shooting up by as much as 3 feet per year until maturity." Even though these plants grow fast, other options may be desired if privacy is needed right away.

Build a pergola

A pergola can add privacy to the backyard even though it won't provide the complete privacy of a solid fence or hedge. For additional privacy attach lattice to the walls and roof to allow it to be used as a trellis. Climbing plants will create a denser barrier than an open pergola and add beauty to the landscape as well. Jennifer Noonan writing for says, "The crossbeams and poles make the perfect base for climbing greenery, especially in a sunny site." With greenery filling in the roof, additional shade will be an added advantage on a steamy summer day.

While waiting for the plants to grow and climb hang curtains or other wall hangings on the inside of the pergola. Noonan goes on to say, "Just as valuable in your backyard as they are in the bedroom, a few opaque panel curtains will both block your view of neighbors and further establish the sense of an outdoor room." Unlike climbing greenery, curtains can be tied back or taken down during times when privacy or shade isn't needed.

Create a privacy garden

Another alternative to fencing in the entire property is to enclose a section of the yard with trellis walls covered with climbing flowers. Just as a pergola creates the effect of an outdoor room, trellis walls with a garden gate or arbor entrance can have the same effect. This will create a secluded area on the property rather than fencing in the entire yard. To ensure absolute seclusion a privacy garden can be built within a property that is already bordered by hedges or fencing.

Privacy fence

When many homeowners think of backyard privacy, they think of fences. Whether constructed from wood, vinyl, bamboo or composite a well-constructed fence will provide years of privacy. Depending on the style and height, fences provide a range of privacy levels.

For example, a louvered fence provides a good deal of privacy without the look of a solid wall. Thomas Baker writing for explains, "Vertical louvers or staggered boards afford privacy when viewed straight on but allow airflow and open views from the side." A louvered fence prevents the outside world from looking into your yard without losing a precious summer breeze.

On the other hand, if complete privacy is more of a priority than a breeze, a vertical board fence will provide a solid barrier between the outside world and a private yard. Baker continues, "Overlapped or butted edge to edge, tall vertical boards, ensure privacy." Edge-to edge vertical boards will create an impenetrable panel of privacy.

While some homeowners may visualize an unattractive stockade fence when they think of vertical privacy fence, there are many modern designs that combine curb appeal with privacy. In addition, horizontal boards are also a popular choice when considering a privacy fence. The terrain of the area may be a factor when determining which type of fence is the best choice as vertical boards may be easier to install along uneven ground than long horizontal boards or panels.

Planning and creating a backyard space with the privacy to relax or entertain guests while secluded from neighbors and passersby can be a fun and creative endeavor.


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