How to Create Privacy in Your Backyard

Using landscaping to separate your yard from neighbors


AUGUST 13, 2021

backyard-privacy desktop

Your backyard is where you go to retreat and unwind, and nothing will destroy your serenity faster than your next-door neighbor’s prying eyes gazing from their kitchen window. Lucky for you, there are many budget-friendly landscape design options that can create privacy in your backyard. Whether it’s a semi-enclosed outdoor room or your partially private deck or patio, here are some backyard privacy ideas that will ensure a cozier and more relaxing outdoor space or seating area.

Plan your space

How do you plan to use your outdoor space? Think of your outdoor area as an extension of your home’s square footage. You may be looking to create a play area for the kids, a spot to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and a good book, or a private space to garden.

Even the smallest outdoor area gives you the opportunity to create something spectacular while ensuring privacy and security. Here are some things to consider:

  • Go vertical. Incorporating tall privacy features, such as fencing, gives you the opportunity to get creative. Enjoy cooking with basil or rosemary? Nurture your inner gourmand by creating your own backyard herb garden using vertical planters on a wall or privacy fence.

  • Assess your soil. Does your soil need a little TLC? Add an inch or two of compost to the ground or flowerbeds, and continue to do so each year. This material will break down to improve soil structure and fertility and ensure healthier annuals, perky perennials, and hearty hedges to keep your backyard private and pretty. If you’re in a cold-weather climate, apply the compost as mulch after the soil freezes in the winter for added effect.

  • Stick to the edges. A large backyard allows you to move away from your property’s perimeter; however, furniture positioned close to walls and tall fences or privacy structures help conceal your neighbors’ view. Add a sofa against a wall or comfortable club chairs next to a tall trellis to ensure privacy. You can even create bar-style dining by placing long, tall, rectangular tables next to a wall or fence.

Ponder privacy fence ideas

You may decide to install a privacy fence or already have one in place; however, these barricades can be a bit ho-hum and don’t always evoke relaxation. Consider adding lush greens to create an inviting softness to your backyard. If you don’t have greenspace but still want to add privacy shrubs, incorporate planters along the fence line, or consider adding vertical gardens, living walls, or lattice panels with climbing vines or plants, such as morning glory. You can even attach a trellis or pergola to your deck or porch. Plant bamboo or other ornamental trees in large planters that line your fence for a more unique option, with plenty of eclectic appeal.

Select fast-growing shrubs or plants

Tall plants and fast-growing trees are great ways to add privacy to your backyard. Italian cypress, Idyllwild juniper, and American holly are hardy, fast-growing evergreens that make your yard attractive and private.

Other fast-growing trees and shrubs that grow well in different zones include:

  • Holly varieties, like the Sky Pencil and Oak Leaf

  • Juniper, like Wichita Blue and Spartan

  • Wax myrtle

  • Canadian hemlock

  • Dawn redwood

  • Other cypress, like Leyland and Italian

  • Willow hybrid

  • Red twig dogwood

  • Loropetalum

  • Arborvitae

  • Ligustrum

Many of these trees and hedges can thrive in all different types of soil and grow several feet every year, so select a spot that is safely distanced from your home’s foundation to discourage structural damage from fast-growing roots. You also need to consider a tree’s mature crown. As some trees grow, they can spread out in widths of 10 to 15 feet, so make sure you space plants and trees according to recommendations.

Consider backyard accessories

A free-standing canopy or pergola with outdoor curtains is a great way to add shade from the noonday sun while adding another layer of backyard privacy. Here are a few other ideas to create a private backyard space in which you’ll actually want to spend time:

  • Outdoor curtains or privacy shades can be added to a pergola structure, outdoor porch, or balcony overhang for increased seclusion. These fabric “walls” will shield you from the sun or neighbors’ glances while providing a luxurious sanctuary. Choose fabric as simple as sailcloth or go with outdoor curtain fabric found online or at your local fabric store.

  • Wooden shutters can create a room-like space. Hinge three or four wooden shutters or doors together to create a one-of-a-kind privacy screen. You can find these elements at local antique malls or estate sales. Dress them up with plant hooks or string lights to create evening ambient lighting. You can also install caster wheels to allow for easy relocation.

  • Umbrellas add shade and give you a bit of a buffer from neighbors.

Once you’ve created a more private space, throw in a water feature, such as a small pond, fountain or even a birdbath — all of which could be a fun DIY project — and you have a soothing backyard oasis.

Keep outdoor security in mind

Don’t make things too private when planning your outdoor space, however. Shutting out your neighbors completely means they also can’t see burglars when you’re away. Keep these things in mind to ensure front yard, backyard, and garden security:

  • Trim bushy plants to decrease potential hiding spots for burglars.

  • Cut plants or arrange decorations to allow strategic sightlines so your neighbors can spot unwanted guests from their home or backyard, and so law enforcement can view them from the street.

  • Use loose rocks in your landscaping to ensure you hear intruders approaching.

  • Install outdoor, weatherproof home security cameras with monitoring.

  • Add a gate camera for detection before anyone tries to breach your home or yard.

  • Hide security cameras to prevent thieves from avoiding or disabling them.

  • Use authentic home security signs and stickers. Skip the fake security signs.

  • Burglar-proof any sliding glass doors.

  • Install outdoor lights with motion-detection sensors.

For more tips on using outdoor home security cameras to protect your backyard sanctuary, visit the Brinks Home™ website.

Allison Clark is a senior writer for Brinks Home. She enjoys educating others on the benefits of smart home security and using technology to simplify everyday life.

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