11 Ideas for Better Backyard Privacy

Sunshine and warm temperatures invite you and your family to spend entire days outdoors, so it's important that you be able to enjoy endless hours in your backyard without worrying about too much exposure to the sun—or curious passersby. Try one of these 11 solutions for adding privacy and shade to your backyard oasis.

  1. Construct a Classic

    Wood Fence Designs

    Common in neighborhoods across the country, wood fences are practically an outdoor staple. With a variety of woods to choose from, ranging from light to dark, and just as many style choices, wood fencing does more than boost backyard privacy—it also boosts design. Compared with other fencing materials, wood is also relatively inexpensive and, with proper construction and routine maintenance, long lasting. So long as you have basic woodworking knowledge, a DIY wood privacy fence is well within reach. 

    Related:  Fence Styles—10 Popular Designs to Consider

    Zillow Digs home in Pasadena, CA

  2. Grow a Living Fence

    Living Fence

    Hedges have been a privacy landscaping hallmark for centuries, particularly along property lines. One advantage is that, depending on your choice of plant material, a well-planned hedge can reach virtually any desired height. The downside? It takes either lots of money or lots of time to establish a long, high hedgerow. Plus, hedges need a fair amount of maintenance. But with the right placement, even a hedge of modest proportions can be very effective. 

    Related:  Living Fences—11 Boundary-Setting Solutions


  3. Fill in with Bamboo

    Bamboo for Privacy

    A built-in bonus of turning your backyard into an exotic tropical retreat? Natural privacy. That's because bamboo, an essential for any tropical space, grows tall enough to shield your cozy hideaway. Plant it on its own, or use it to fill in gaps around pergolas and fences. Take care, though: Bamboo is invasive and should be planted only in beds or in containers with strong barriers.

    Related:  1 Dozen Ways to Make the Most of a Small Yard

    Zillow Digs home in Pasadena, CA

  4. Fold Out a Private Enclave

    Outdoor Folding Screen

    Wide open yards are great for a lot of reasons—but they're not ideal for private outdoor spaces. Build an intimate corner into an expansive backyard by bordering a patio with small trees and shrubs. Then, anchor your patio furniture with a simple structure like the one shown here. Unlike a traditional privacy screen, the open frame permits light and wind to pass through, resulting in a space that's both breezy and cozy.

    Related:  9 Double-Duty Favorites for Tiny Outdoor Spaces


  5. Put Up a Pergola

    Pergola Ideas

    For a little privacy without worry of blocking a stunning backyard view, consider building a pergola. Even though it stands without walls, its wood columns and beams still offer some obstruction for neighbors who might be looking in. A pergola is an exceptional choice for placement atop an elevated deck, as seen in this lofty example.

    Zillow Digs home in Seattle, WA

  6. Plant Your Pergola

    Garden Pergola

    For a pergola with a little something extra—specifically, coziness and shade—fill in the structure's sides and open top with twining plants. The crossbeams and poles make the perfect base for climbing greenery, especially in a sunny site. The overall effect is serene and romantic as well as intensely private. It may take a while for the vines to make it to the top—but it's worth the wait! 

    Related:  10 Zero Dollar Garden Hacks

    Zillow Digs home in Los Angeles, CA

  7. Hang Out with Your Greenery

    Vertical Garden Ideas

    Here's another take on a living fence: a custom-made vertical garden. Fill it with vegetables and herbs or flowering plants ready to overflow. No matter your choice of greenery, the decision to garden in hanging planters will both screen your yard from outside view and free up space to use for lounging, grilling, and other outdoor activities.

    Related:  Growing Up—10 Inventive DIY Vertical Gardens


  8. Elevate Your Style

    Small Backyard Landscaping Ideas

    If you're rethinking your backyard altogether, you may be able to build privacy from the ground up. Cascading landscapes achieve this in a discreet yet picturesque way. Here, the backyard’s multilevel design showcases bushes and trees planted at varying heights, creating a secluded retreat that still feels open and airy in the middle. These terraced setups can also increase backyard decor options by spacing out such elements as hanging baskets and birdbaths on different levels so that all are highlighted without crowding one another.

    Related:  10 DIY Step Stones to Brighten Any Garden Walk 

    Zillow Digs home in Omaha, NE

  9. Go Modern

    Metal Fences

    Corrugated metal is one of the more modern fencing options on the market. Its industrial quality seriously shields your backyard from curious onlookers while contributing yet one more texture to the common palette of stone, gravel, and concrete. Found at home improvement stores and purchased in budget-friendly sheets, these metal fences are also extremely durable, ensuring a long-lasting privacy solution for your space.

    Related:  The Invincible Yard—12 Ideas for Lazy Landscaping

    Zillow Digs home in Palm Springs, CA

  10. Try a Trellis

    Trellis Ideas

    Whether simple or elaborate, store-bought or custom-built, a backyard trellis provides a direct yet self-effacing solution to the privacy problem. Even as the structure interrupts sight lines, it admits softened breezes and dappled sunlight. Plus, as the ideal support for any number of climbing plants or flowering vines, a trellis can become an attention-grabbing focal point in the design of your outdoor living area. 

    Related:  Top 10 Backyard DIY Projects


  11. Conceal with Curtains

    Outdoor Patio Curtains

    Just as valuable in your backyard as they are in the bedroom, a few opaque panel curtains will both block your view of neighbors and further establish the sense of an outdoor room. If you're able to mount them, curtain rods are the easiest way to keep your panels in place. Consider hanging curtains along the sides of a porch, pergola, or custom corner unit like this one.

    Related:  7 New Ways to Use Old Windows

    Zillow Digs home in Phoenix, AZ

  12. Bring the Indoors Outside

    Bring the Indoors Outside

    These smart designs for shade and privacy elevate your backyard to enjoyable space for hanging out and relaxing. Check out other DIYs and buys to make your outdoor space more comfortable


  13. Don't Miss!


    Sign up today to get crucial reminders and good-to-know tips for maintaining and improving your home!