Whether you’re playing with the kids, enjoying a family meal, or even just catching some rays, the last thing you want is to be put on display in your own backyard. The demand for outdoor living space among homeowners has grown over the years, making privacy that much more important. If your yard is exposed to the neighbors, you might want to come up with tasteful and functional ways to add a subtle barrier between your yard and others around you.
Keep these simple tactics in mind to create a secluded sanctuary in your backyard.
Lining your property with a row of hedges is an easy and clean way to add a divide between your lot and the next. Privacy planting like these can create privacy and drown out the chatter from next door.
To plant a new hedge, dig a trench about two feet wide and two feet deep, and allow about a foot between each shrub planted. Add enough soil to reach the branching trunk, and be sure to water frequently within the first year. Keep in mind that hedges require regular trimming in order to keep them neat and tidy.
Layer Your Greenery
If the space permits, try layering your greenery to create a wonderful display of plants, flowers, shrubs, ornamental grass, and trees while shielding your outdoor area from the neighbor. Start with the tallest greens in the back, then gradually step them down in height to create depth, visual appeal, and texture.
If the neighbors beside or behind you are perched up higher than your lot, or have a raised deck or terrace, plant tall-growing shady trees to block out the neighbors view into your yard.
Install a Fence
A fence is an obvious way to add privacy to your property, but it doesn’t have to be so cold and dull. You can dress it up with some paint, vines, shrubs, perennials, or hanging planters to make it more pleasing to the eye compared to a long line of plain wood.
Fences are perfect for year-round screening and for side yards where space is particularly limited. Just be sure to check with your local jurisdiction to see if a permit is needed, and what height restrictions you’ll have to adhere to.
Install Lattice or Ornamental Screens
If the thought of a fence is just too severe for your tastes, then lattice is the next best thing. It’s the perfect way to add seclusion without entirely shutting your property off.
Lattice is also an ideal way to add some of your favorite vines or climbing flowers for a decorative and tranquil space. You don’t have to ward off the entire yard with lattice, either. Instead, consider adding it only to specific areas where privacy is especially craved, such as in the corner or against the eating area.
Add a Retaining Wall
While a little more expensive and labor-intensive, adding a decorative stone retaining wall is a fantastic way to seclude your yard. If you don’t want to look at a complete wall of stone, you can erect a shorter retaining wall, then mount some decorative trees or shrubs along the top half to break up the monotony.
Keep in mind that locations with poor drainage will require deeper excavation to reach below the frost line, as well as piping installation to allow for adequate water drainage from the footing.
Build a Pergola
If you’ve got defined spaces in your yard, such as an outdoor kitchen or patio, you might want to focus your screening to these specific areas rather than your entire yard.
Pergolas work wonderfully in defined spaces like these, while offering shade from the sun. You can even take things a step further by installing an enclosure around the pergola to create a higher level of intimacy and privacy while enjoying a family meal or entertaining guests.
Plant Some Trees
Even just one single tree can be enough to block a view and offer you the privacy you desire. Choose a wide-growing tree, such as a dwarf maple or birch to both shield your yard while acting as a decorative focal point to your overall landscaping scheme.
You can also plant a row of columnar trees around the perimeter of the property or in specific areas if your yard is smaller in scale; they grow quite tall, but don’t take up too much horizontal space.
Add a Fountain
In addition to blocking the view into your yard, you’ll likely want to shield it from surrounding noise as well. Whether it’s the chatter of the neighbors, the loud play of neighborhood kids, or traffic from the street, a decorative fountain can work quite well at drawing out unwanted noise.
You can go as simple or as elaborate as you desire. The pleasant sound of trickling water can block out noise while creating a tranquil sanctuary right in your own backyard.
There are no hard-fast rules that dictate that you should use only one of the above strategies to boost privacy in your yard. You might even want to consider incorporating several tactics to increase solitude and create a secluded retreat for you and your family to enjoy.