15 Simple Ideas for Boosting Privacy in Your Backyard

outdoor furniture sitting area of deck tree privacy
Photo: Keller and Keller Photography Inc

A backyard can be a haven from the hectic activities dealt with on a daily basis. Create a hidden sanctuary with these landscaping tips and simple solutions to make your yard more private.

01 of 15

Raise Up Your Plants

woman in yard with tall flowering plants
Janet Mesic-Mackie

Give your favorite plants better view-blocking power by growing them in raised beds or berms. You will be surprised at how much more secluded your yard feels by mounding the soil enough to add a foot or two to your plants' height. Plus it puts medium-size plants at eye level. Grow extra-tall perennials to quickly create a living privacy screen.

Test Garden Tip: Raised beds or berms are also a perfect solution if you struggle with rocky, clay, or otherwise poor soil.

02 of 15

Create a Room

Hammock above stone path
Andreas Trauttmansdor

If you don't want to work on making your entire yard a private paradise, take one corner and transform it into a secluded getaway. A simple way to do this is to carefully place a couple of trees to form a pocket. Here, for example, two pine trees make a hammock feel tucked away. A redbud tree just behind the hammock enhances the effect.

03 of 15

Add a Lattice Fence

Lattice fence with pink flowers
Kritsada Panichgul

Do you feel a little claustrophobic at the thought of fencing your yard? Try adding a lattice fence. It's an ideal way to achieve privacy and enclosure without closing off your yard too much. Plus, simple lattice panels are perfect for showcasing climbing roses or your favorite vines. You may find that fencing with lattice is less expensive than building a traditional fence so you can save money to boot.

04 of 15

Layer Plantings

backyard with lattice fence and flowering plants
Kritsada Panichgul

Most people's main goal of creating a sheltered yard is to block your neighbors' views of your space. But you can also make it an extra-secluded yard by layering plantings to form pockets or a living wall where you can't see your house or another part of the yard. That way you can feel like you're getting away from it all without actually going anywhere.

05 of 15

Use a Hedge

outdoor furniture sitting area of deck tree privacy
Keller and Keller Photography Inc

Enjoy a wall of green by planting a hedge. Look for evergreen varieties such as the arborvitae shown here to provide year-round screening or try types that lose their leaves in winter but make up for it by putting on a show with attractive flowers or a blaze of fall color.

Test Garden Tip: While many plants are suitable as hedges, yours will be a cinch to care for if you select a variety that's adapted to your climate and that matures at the height and width you want your hedge to be.

06 of 15

Look for Interesting Materials

plexiglass fence
Janet Loughrey

Use an unexpected element to screen the view into your yard to enhance the overall effect. For example, build a fence from out-of-the-ordinary materials or decorate a fence with architectural detailing. The plexiglass used here stops the neighbors from peering in but allows light to pass through. It also shows off textures on the other side.

07 of 15

Mix It Up

patio border hedge and fence
Peter Krumhardt

There's no rule that says you have to stick with one strategy for creating privacy. So keep your landscape exciting by incorporating several types of screens. For example, this patio uses an attractive fence as well as a low hedge. A large tree casts shade and blocks the view of the patio from above.

08 of 15

Climb the Walls

window frame trellis covered in vines
Peter Krumhardt

Vines are like the Swiss Army knife of the gardening world—there are so many ways you can use them. Plant a flowering vine like this fast-growing morning glory to cover a fence, dress up a wall, or beautify a pergola to create a colorful living screen.

09 of 15

Use Containers

enclosed checkered patio
Jon Jensen

Big, bold container gardens are ideal for creating privacy, especially if you have a small space such as a deck or patio. Plus, you can find containers and plants to fit any landscape style. Here, large metal containers hold majestic palms for a modern look.

10 of 15

Hide Behind Structures

backyard patio enclosed by plants
Kelly Bugden

Let structures on your property create privacy for you. For example, tuck an outdoor living space beside your garage so the walls block views from neighbors. Or site a patio or deck where it's shielded from view by your home.

11 of 15

Plant a Tree

Golden Locust tree by wood fence
Richard Felber

A single tree can be an effective way to block a view. Plant a fast-growing tree to shade your space from the sun and the neighbors' view in just a few years. Here, a golden locust (Robinia 'Frisia') does double duty: It shields the yard from view and creates a focal point in this garden. For year-round greenery, consider adding evergreen trees to your yard.

12 of 15

Decorate a Fence

double door gate fence landscaping surrounding path
Jack Coyier

Let's be honest: Fences can look s little ho-hum. Luckily, they're easy to dress up with the right plants in front of them. Here, a border of easy-care annuals, perennials, or shrubs soften a fence's appearance. And extra-tall perennials that rise above the fence to provide additional screening

13 of 15

Punctuate Your Yard

backyard nook created by trees and shrubs
Bob Stefko

Many homeowners plant trees and shrubs only around the perimeter of the landscape or as a foundation planting close to the house. But by planting them throughout the yard, you screen your space more effectively.

Test Garden Tip: Use columnar varieties if you have a small yard; they grow tall, but most columnar selections stay less than 10 feet wide.

14 of 15

Keep It Simple

two-panel white fence on piled stone border
Rob Cardillo

There's no rule saying a fence has to run the entire length or perimeter of your yard. Put a panel or two just where you need it. It's a great way to save money and add to your home's curb appeal.

Test Garden Tip: To make a panel or two of fencing in your yard look more like a design feature, add a coat of paint to make them stand out, and use them to support an espaliered shrub or small tree, or an eye-catching climbing rose.

15 of 15

Mask Sounds

asian-style serenity garden water feature fountain
Andreas Trauttmansdorff

Privacy extends beyond your sense of sight. Install an outdoor fountain, stream, or other water feature to muffle bothersome sounds. Or look for plants, such as quaking aspen and many types of ornamental grasses, that rustle softly in the breeze.

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