By: Xi Wong

We would all like a bit more privacy in our lives.  Some place to relax and get away from it all.  Why not right in your own backyard?  There are numerous ways to do it, some more economical than others.  So come on, kick back, have a barbecue, get a hammock or just sit on a blanket and stare at the night sky.  Privacy is up to what you need and what you can imagine.

Backyards provide a great opportunity to create outdoor living space. For most homeowners nothing is really out of reach. It will only depend somewhat on the size of your backyard and what level of privacy you desire. In many cases less can be more and do some planning.  

Fences Make Good Neighbors

A fence is the most common and one of the easiest solutions for privacy.  Make sure to check your zoning requirements ahead of time.  After all you don’t want to build a six-foot fence only to realize that 4 feet is the maximum in your subdivision.  And obviously a well-constructed fence will quickly provide a number of benefits.  First there will be a clear separation between properties and second depending on height maximum privacy and noise reduction.   

Picket Fencing

Fences also require a smaller footprint than shrubs and plants. A fence also makes sense when space is limited, and privacy is desired. Keep in mind what you want to achieve when choosing materials.  Some fences will require more maintenance than other.  Vinyl is much easier to deal with than cedar. Fencing also can work to create separation without being “solid”.  A picket fence provides clear demarcation while enhancing the visual “look” of your yard.  When coupled with the strategic placement of plants, vines, shrubs and trees it is possible to create a very private effect for your backyard living space.

How Big Is Your Budget?

If money is not a consideration, there is always the Great Wall effect. Clearly a wall constructed from stone or other combinations of building materials, brick, rock and the like will add maximum privacy and uniqueness to your outdoor environment.  It is not always easy to construct a wall that complements the materials of your house, but we are looking at higher end budget options at this point.  Furthermore, while you may never get a complete return on this investment a wall made from “stone” will be built to last and require very little if any maintenance. And since money is not a consideration you can go wild integrating additional ideas and features into your backyard privacy goals.

Garden Additions and What to Plant

When space is at a premium you may want to consider a “softer” approach.  After all, a tall fence may be too confining. A garden addition needs to reflect your desires and goals for privacy and comfort. There are many ways to work with small areas where you integrate plantings, planters, terracing, walls, terraces and the like.  As with any area in your backyard if you have space you have the ability to create separate and special private areas within the whole of the yard you have made private.  These defined areas can be small patios, terraces, decks and even outdoor kitchen areas.  How you make them separate and private is up to you.   Trellises, arbors open panels, shrubbery and ornamental trees can be used to enhance exclusive enclosures in your outdoor spaces,

You can enhance all aspects of privacy for your outdoors, your outdoor activities and how you entertain in so many different ways. Climbing vines, hanging baskets and colorful flowers along with shrubs and hedges provide excellent privacy.  Evergreens like Italian cypress and arborvitae work beautifully for separating adjoining yards or blocking sight lines out of windows or off decks. Larger evergreen and deciduous shade trees while expensive can help in numerous ways.  They provide privacy at higher elevations and they offer shade. Whether your backyard is large or small privacy is a matter of personal taste, budget creativity.