Private Eyes Are Watching You – How To Shield Your Backyard From Neighbors

Do you long for some privacy in your own backyard? Today's homeowners are often stuck in close quarters with neighbors on all sides -- many with multi-story homes -- and feel like it's impossible to be truly alone. But it can still be done, with some clever landscaping and hardscaping techniques. Here are 5 ways to create your own private haven in any yard. 

  • Put a roof over your head. A solid, expensive roof is often not necessary to shield your entertaining space from second-story neighbors. A canvas sail canopy strung between rafters over the patio or a lattice roof planted with flowering vines can serve just as well. Drapery can also often be easily added to an existing patio and is removable during bad weather or when not needed. 
  • Plant tall things throughout the yard. One obvious solution to blocking views is to create a "fence" of hedges or trees along the edge of your property. But you can go even further with this idea by placing trees strategically all around. This can add layers of privacy throughout the yard. You can plant a small cluster of birch or aspen, for example, to shade a small sitting area. Potted columnar fruit trees can be placed in a row to create an outdoor room hidden from view of neighbors or even the house. 
  • Add a fountain to cover noise. Privacy isn't just about blocking the view of others; it may also call for blocking out noise. If you live on a busy street or have noisy neighbors, a little bubbling water may help create the feeling that you're by yourself. If one simple outdoor decor water fountain doesn't do the job, try a waterfall-style fountain or a small stream. 
  • Add a clever wall. Hiding an entertaining space on your patio or deck can be done attractively with the use of unusual materials. An ornate, vintage double door can be hung from the rafters to block prying eyes while adding a beautiful focal point for your decorating. Look for hardwood privacy screens in unusual designs or build your own vertical, or wall, garden. Instructions for vertical gardens are available on the internet, and these green wall designs can come in any shape or size you want. 
  • Garden vertically. There are a number of ways to add to landscaping that provides some height to hide your yard. Large containers are perfect for decks or small townhouse yards. Start with a tall container as tall as 2 or 3 feet, then plant ornamental grasses and small trees to create a barrier that extends far above guests. Another simple way to add height to a garden is to build permanent planters or a berm between 1 and 3 feet high. While that may not seem to add too much height, once you add in the heights of flowers and shrubs, you can add a beautiful and colorful wall to any yard. 

No matter whether your budget -- or your yard -- is large or small, you can find ways to add privacy from foot traffic and neighbors. You're only limited by your imagination.