Backyard Privacy Ideas

Backyard Privacy Ideas

Level: Beginner

Our homes are our indoor sanctuaries, providing privacy and solace from the hectic day-to-day world. The backyard should be no different. Creating a private, tranquil outdoor space where you can relax with family and guests without intrusion isn’t as difficult as it might seem. It just takes some careful planning. Check out these backyard privacy ideas to learn how the right combination of fencing, landscaping features and outdoor structures can create a secluded oasis almost anywhere in your backyard.

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    • Step 1: Remove the Fixtures or Mask around Them

      Come up with a backyard privacy plan. Think about what you want and need to make your yard secluded. Are you looking for privacy and noise reduction? Consider the space you have to work with, including property lines and neighbors’ properties, as well as existing fencing and structures. Having a good grasp on all the factors in your design is the key to a successful project.

      Helpful Tip

      Check codes and ordinances in your local municipality—as well as regulations from your homeowner’s association, if applicable—before constructing any fencing or other structures.

      Research backyard privacy ideas online or take inspiration from your neighbors' yards. Look over pictures from books and magazines, and watch home improvement television shows. Absorb all of this information and try to picture what would work in your yard. Remember to stay realistic with your ambitions. You'll need to maintain landscaping features and pay for them. Don't get in over your head if you don't have the time for regular upkeep or the money to fund a grandiose project. A combination of fencing, landscaping and structural components for backyard privacy can produce the most effective and appealing results.

      Sketch out your plan on paper. Draw how you want your backyard to look, and measure (or estimate) the dimensions of your space. You don’t have to be an artist, so don’t stress out about how your sketch may look. The idea is to visualize the design.

      Keep reading below to learn about the different options available to increase privacy in your backyard. For more in-depth, general landscape planning, see the project, Plan Your Landscape.

    • Fencing

      Privacy fencing is usually the first line of defense in the battle for a more secluded backyard. A fence that surrounds your backyard at a height that discourages curious eyes is an obvious choice. This fencing can be made of wood, metal, masonry, vinyl or plastic, and in a solid, slatted or latticed design. It all depends on how much privacy you want, your budget and your aesthetic preferences. Fences work both ways, and can add privacy to a neighbor’s property as well as yours.

      Wood fencing is a very common choice, often made of cedar or pressure-treated wood. Cedar is naturally resistant to the elements and pests. Pressure-treated wood is manufactured to resist insects and rotting for a long period of time. Wood fencing also lends itself well to different finishing options. It can be stained, as well as painted. Vinyl is also popular. Made of PVC, this fencing is durable and does not deteriorate over time. It is easy to clean and maintain because it doesn’t require refinishing.

    • Landscaping

      You can build a very effective barrier using natural landscaping elements. Trees, shrubs and hedges can be attractive and provide ample privacy and noise reduction in your backyard.

      In addition to privacy, planting a row of trees can provide shelter and shade for your backyard. When planning your landscape, choose from fast-growing tree varieties such as eucalyptus, sycamore, weeping willow and evergreens. Evergreens provide full privacy all year round, and the same goes for shrubbery and hedges.

      Planting a tall evergreen hedge is a natural way to create a private enclave in your backyard. Hedges also decrease neighborhood noise and reduce harsh winds. American Arborvitae, Green Giant Arborvitae, Emerald Arborvitae and wax myrtle are popular choices, and can grow to be more than 10’ in height. These hedges must be kept trimmed and manicured or they might grow too high. Prune hedges regularly to promote health, growth and density. Once per month during growing season should be adequate to keep the hedge at peak growth and shape so it will look its best.

      Depending on your climate, you can create a bamboo screen by planting bamboo trees instead of building a fence. Bamboo grows quickly and is a good green alternative to regular fencing. When using bamboo for a privacy screen though, be sure and plant the clumping variety in the ground. The roots of this type clump together and don’t invade the surrounding area as quickly as the “running” type, which can spread quickly out of control around your yard or your neighbors’ yards. Avoid this type unless planted in deep trenches or in plastic or stone planters where it cannot spread out of control.

    • Structures
      Arch StructureScreenGazebo

      Outdoor structures such as pergolas, gazebos and privacy screens can also be used, particularly when a neighbor’s view is high enough to see over a fence or row of trees or hedges. Climbing vines can be grown atop a pergola for even more privacy, plus they add a natural beauty to your cloistered refuge. Screens and shades can be hung from both pergolas and gazebos to provide further enclosed seclusion. In addition, pergolas can be constructed around patio areas or in a separate location to extend an already private area. Similarly, you can strategically erect trellises covered with climbing plants or privacy screens in your yard to create a private corner or at an exposed part of your patio or deck.

      Check in your area for a reputable gazebo builder to find out what options are available. Or if you’re handy enough, you can construct one yourself using blueprints downloaded from online or from books. Remember to check local codes and ordinances before beginning. Your local True Value® hardware store also has a selection of pre-fabricated gazebos to choose from.

      Helpful Tip

      Installing a running fountain or water garden is a beautiful addition to your backyard landscape that also can drown out noise from the surrounding area.

      All right! Now you have some backyard privacy ideas to get you started on creating your own private outdoor escape.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

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