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Look at the lines of your home -- it might give you the perfect spot to place a deck (and make mowing or other yard-maintenance chores easier to boot). This deck-and-pergola combination, for example, is a perfect solution for an odd space.
A privacy fence is one of the most common ways to block a view. Here, a simple fence caps off a deck, providing a perfect, secluded retreat. A series of container gardens soften the deck, making it even more inviting.
Instead of clearing the ground when you add a deck, take advantage of what's already there. This old apple tree isn't just a great addition to the yard -- it gives the deck more privacy by creating a soft, natural canopy, too. Lush plantings around the edge of the deck also help it feel softer and more secluded.
A pergola can do triple duty for your deck. Beyond helping your space feel cozier, a pergola creates shade and adds interest -- especially if you enhance it with hanging baskets or planters.
Background noise from a busy street can be just as annoying as seeing your neighbor's weedy back yard. Solve this kind of problem by adding a fountain or other water feature to your deck. Even a gentle trickle of water can make a big difference in how much you enjoy your time outdoors!
Evergreen trees are first-rate picks for creating privacy. They block any view and offer a lush, green backdrop. Plus, dense evergreens help filter noise. There's an evergreen for almost every garden; they come in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes -- including columnar types that grow no more than 2 feet across.
Gardeners in warm-winter climates know how tropical plants can create almost instant privacy. Even gardeners in the north can enjoy these fast-growing, big-leaf plants: Grow them as houseplants and move them in and out each season or treat them as exotic annuals.
While an outdoor fireplace is this deck's focal point, it's the simple privacy screen that makes the biggest difference. Even though the screen doesn't completely block the view, it provides enough protection to make the deck more enjoyable.
A traditional awning offers protection from the blazing summer sun -- as well as from the neighbors' second-floor windows. Awnings come in a range of styles and options, including retractable types that you can use whenever you want.
If blocking the view of your entire deck isn't possible, then work on a section of it. Here, a beautiful Hinoki cypress creates a beautiful focal point that draws your eye away from the more-visible deck areas behind it.
Vines are the ultimate plant for providing privacy. Here, an evergreen clematis forms a beautiful roof over this tiny deck. It also provides an extra privacy "wall" as it scrambles up the support posts.
A few small trees dotted around the edge of your deck create a soft, leafy curtain without taking up too much space in your yard. Add drama and interest by selecting different types of trees. Small maples (such as Amur maple), for example, create bold fall color while crabapples offer springtime blooms.
Check out the wide variety of outdoor-friendly fabrics to create a perfect screen. Sheets of fabric sewn like curtains and hung from an old curtain rod or wire are quick and easy to put together. Plus, they're inexpensive -- so you can have a couple of different options to fit your mood.