A backyard privacy landscape should be more than just a fence. These ideas offer creative solutions to block views and add structure and beauty to any yard.
Hedges are a perennial favorite for blocking property lines, but they can take a lot of time and money to establish. A more natural alternative is to layer tall and medium plants in staggered heights.
1. Staggered Fence
Fences are often the first structural privacy tactics homeowners consider when landscaping their backyard. But a privacy fence doesn’t have to be just functional or utilitarian; it can also elevate the style and design of your yard. There are many ways to transform a basic fence into a standout feature of your backyard aesthetic, from changing its color to adding a garden wall, or even creating an eye-catching garden on top of the structure.
Whether you’re starting with an existing fence or building one from scratch, using staggered planks or varying the width of board widths can make a fence more interesting and unique. Here, the homeowner staggered planks of wood in soft shades of black, yellow, and green to create a one-of-a-kind privacy fence. This approach not only gives the fence a more natural look, but it also helps the wood grain really stand out.
Staggered fencing also provides a more visually appealing option than solid fences, since it lets light and air flow through the gaps between boards. In addition, staggered panels are more structurally sound than non-staggered ones. Depending on your area’s regulations, you may want to consider leaving gaps between the fence and ground level as well. This prevents children and pets from escaping the yard.
Another way to elevate the appearance of a fence is to frame it with fast-growing evergreen vines. This is an especially effective strategy for older, less attractive fences made of welded wire, also known as field fence. These types of fences can be purchased in individual panels or as contiguous sections, and once framed with vines you’ll have an attractive, affordable, and functional privacy wall.
A water feature can help to add ambiance and privacy to your backyard by softening the sounds of nearby traffic and people. Choose a fountain that will fit in with your overall landscaping design and style, or use a pond to add a focal point that can double as a garden feature. Ornamental grasses and other plants that rustle in the wind can also work to mask annoying outdoor noise.
2. Brick Wall Fountain
A brick wall fountain doesn’t just offer visual privacy; it can also mask the sound of neighbors eavesdropping on your private backyard conversations. While it’s not an effective sound barrier unless you have a solid fence between your backyard and the neighboring yard, this garden water feature can create a relaxing atmosphere for patios, courtyards and other smaller spaces that need a little extra privacy.
Rather than buying a pre-made brick wall, you can create your own with simple steps: simply dig a shallow trench in the shape of the box, lay down a layer of mortar and begin laying bricks up against one another. Once the bricks are set, fill the space with water and add decorative rocks to suit your backyard aesthetic.
You can plant flowering vines like ivy or lobelia to cover the wall and add some color, or grow herbs and vegetables for an extra touch of greenery. While this living wall idea requires more maintenance than the other options on our list, it can be a very cost-effective and beautiful way to get some privacy in your backyard.
If you’re looking for a more traditional outdoor privacy landscaping design, consider using tall plants like shrubs or variations of hedges to define separate areas in your yard. These types of backyard landscaping ideas can help you feel secluded without taking up too much space and will make your home look more stylish when paired with a deck, patio or pool.
3. White Wall
A white wall can provide visual privacy without taking up a lot of space. It’s also a great option for those looking to screen in their backyard while still allowing light into the yard. Whether you build a trellis and weave it with vines or plant a row of arborvitae, you can get a lot of seclusion without blocking your view of the yard.
Using plants as backyard privacy is not just a great way to add color and texture to your landscaping. They can also help you to mask sounds, making it easier to have private conversations in your backyard. When choosing plants for your privacy landscaping, look for those that grow well in the climate and soil of your region. This will ensure that your plant choices thrive and will be low maintenance over time.
Another way to create backyard privacy is to use tall grasses as a fence or divider. Often used by landscapers, ornamental grasses are a natural option for backyard privacy that can be shaped and planted in many different ways to fit your unique space. These grasses will add height and privacy to your landscaping, but they aren’t as permanent as fencing or hedges.
If you aren’t comfortable with a full backyard privacy design, you can use a few trees to make a cozy spot for relaxing feel secluded and intimate. In this backyard, designer Madeline Stuart used a few pine trees to create a secluded spot for a hammock. The tree’s dense foliage and proximity to the house block out any neighbors that might be peeking into the yard.
A water feature can be a great addition to your garden or backyard. In addition to providing a beautiful accent, it can also mask sound so you can enjoy your backyard without worrying about the neighbors eavesdropping on your conversation.
4. Garden Border
Garden borders provide a simple and natural way to add privacy to your yard. They’re often made from a variety of plants and may include tall evergreens like evergreen holly or yew to provide year-round screening and foliage, flowering shrubs and perennials for color, and textured greenery such as ornamental grasses or bamboo. When designing a garden border, it’s important to consider your planting site and conditions. Whether your soil is sandy or clay, how much sun or shade it gets, and other factors can all impact which plants work best in the area. It’s also a good idea to observe other gardens, particularly nearby ones, for inspiration and ideas. Garden centers, public and botanical gardens, and online sources are all excellent places to gather ideas for plantings you’d like to incorporate into your backyard.
A garden border is also a great opportunity to add personality and interest to your backyard by choosing colors that speak to you. For example, if you’re a diehard sports fan, consider filling your border with flowers in the team’s colors. Or, if you prefer an elegant look, try a border filled with flowers in pure white. The key is to make sure that whatever you choose works well in the surrounding landscape, including your house and other structures.
Another element to consider when creating a border is its height. If you’re looking to create a secluded backyard space, consider planting a tree or group of trees. A fast-growing tree like a golden locust can help shield you from neighbors’ views in just a few years, and will add a focal point to your backyard.
To ensure your garden is low maintenance, it’s a good idea to mulch regularly. It is recommended to use organic options such as composted woodchips, leaf or bark, and rotted horse manure. Adding layers of spring bulbs and summer blooming perennials will help your borders to naturalize over time. Keeping borders weeded and mulched will also keep them looking tidy.