The Best Ways To Add Privacy To Your Garden

I live in a neighborhood of small yards.  Enjoying your yard is pretty public without some additions to it.  Do you have the same problem? Or perhaps you have a view you don’t like. Let’s consider the best ways to add privacy.

I. Add A Fence

There are many types of fences available from chain link to stone or solid wood. Review your budget and climate requirements, and do your homework before choosing. Choices include wood, metal, stone, vinyl, and various styles such as lattice, spindle, rail, Victorian, and picket to name a few.

A. Wood fences

Wood fences are popular in my neighborhood.  You can leave the wood natural  to weather or paint it.  Be sure to use wood treated to resist termites and fungal decay. Trees, vines, and plants can be added to provide an attractive background which also camouflages the fence.

Add hanging baskets to soften the look and add color.

Wood is the best material for a DIY privacy fence. Fence wood, usually cedar or pine, is plentiful, relatively inexpensive, and simple to work with. A wood privacy fence can be built either from individual fence boards and stringers or from pre-fabricated wood panels.

If you can find a source for cheap or free pallets, a pallet fence is a cheap option but your fence will be short and made of non-treated wood. In Florida’s climate, a pallet fence would not last long and I don’t recommend it. The Spruce has a great article, How to Build a DIY Privacy Fence on a Tight Budget.

You can place your deck or patio next to the privacy fence and decorate it with lights.

B. Corrugated metal

Solid walls are attractive and sturdy. Corrugated metal makes a unique modern statement and is durable. Add evergreen bushes to soften the look and a water feature for the sounds.

Life Should Be Costless has an interesting post, DIY Farmhouse Corrugated Metal Fence. The corrugated metal fence has built in planter boxes which makes the yard friendly and cozy.

If you like the corrugated metal fence idea, check out Home Garden Guide‘s 9 Corrugated Metal Fence Design Ideas for different ways to build and decorate your fence.

C. Chain-link fences

Chain-link fences are low maintenance and durable. We’re all familiar with classic silver chain-link fence, but they now come in colors: silver, black, green, and brown. I personally like the black fence as it looks more modern to me.

Modern chain-link fences can provide privacy if you weave plastic privacy slats in the links. It takes time to maneuver each slat through the wire mesh, but otherwise the process is easy. 

There is a company in Texas, Put In Cups, that makes cups and templates for chain-link fence graphics. Put up a school mascot or a personal design. Make an order and then again spend time placing the cups for the design. Below someone spent a lot of time making the graphic using the cups.

There are other options in adding privacy to the chain link fence. Adding artificial plants in the links is one. Another is to plant real greenery like vines to grow over the fence. There are pros and cons for both. You can also attach slats or panels to the fence. My favorite look is reeds. Reed fencing attached to the chain link creates a natural background for your garden but it’s only one side.

D. Vinyl fencing

There are multiple benefits to choosing vinyl for your fencing needs. Vinyl fencing is extremely durable and requires minimal maintenance. The fence panels are fade resistant, don’t rot, scratch easily or require any paint touch-ups. Above all, the panels are easy to clean, allowing the vinyl to retain its blank canvas look for years to come. Cost is a significant deterrent to choosing vinyl for a fence. It is by far one of the most expensive fencing material out there.

Besides the classic white, vinyl fencing come in various wood shades for a more natural look.

E. Metal fences

When we think of historic homes, there is usually a hand-made wrought iron fence in the image. Today hand-made is very pricey, and most modern metal fences are pre-fabricated. They are still pricey and often seen more in commercial backgrounds. There are 3 types of metal fences: tubular aluminum, tubular steel, and solid steel. The tubular aluminum fence is attractive and still retains the classic look. Most metal fences do not really give you privacy due to the spaces between parts.

Modern metal fences can also be made of metal panels which can have a design. Below metal panels are linked with concrete for a beautiful wall of privacy in the garden.

F. Bamboo fence

A bamboo privacy fence can add tropical style to your space. Look for a bamboo slat fence that’s made with cut bamboo. A sustainable material, this type of bamboo privacy fence embraces the rustic look. Unique fence ideas like bamboo slats can also bring a more upscale feel to a yard. 

G. Stone or brick fence

Brick or stone fences add the utmost in privacy. Depending on the type of stone or brick you choose, your yard can reflect a classic look, old world charm or modern appeal. One of the most popular choices, brick and stone fences are seen everywhere from country estates to townhomes in major cities.

Remember, there’s no rule saying a fence has to run the length or perimeter of your yard. Put a panel or two just where you need it. It’s a great way to save money.  Then you have created a privacy screen.

II. Privacy Screen

A single panel of fencing can act as a privacy screen for your patio or create a garden room. If a panel or two in your yard looks a little strange, dress it up with a coat of paint, window boxes, or an espaliered shrub or small tree.   .

You can buy or make privacy screens. Just like fences your choices of material include various wood, vinyl, and metal screens, but also consider adding curtains beside a small patio. Thrifty & Chic tells you how to add a DIY Privacy Screen for $100.

There are also composite privacy screens. I love that the Side Composite Awning below is retractable. Pull it out for privacy. Retract when done. Now the room inside has a complete view again.

Below is a privacy screen that’s movable and can be re-positioned when necessary.

Privacy screen

III. Build A Gazebo, Pergola, or Screened Room

Make your own outdoor space with a pergola, gazebo, or screened room. What’s the difference? Gazebos are typically round or octagonal, while pergolas are square or rectangular. Gazebos have a roof, while pergolas have cross beams, but no roof. A screened room has floors, ceiling, and walls.  If you just want shelter on your patio, go with a gazebo.

If you just want architectural detail, try a pergola.

For a complete outdoor living space, go with a screened room.  Family Handyman has a tutorial for a screened patio.   

As we discussed under privacy screens, if you have an open pergola, porch, gazebo, or patio add outdoor curtains. This is the most budget friendly option for defining your space and adding style.

IV. Plant A Hedge of Bushes or Trees

Bushes and trees make a great hedge to mark the boundaries of your yard or create garden rooms. I believe it’s an easier DIY too because I don’t have carpentry skills.  Evergreen bushes are great as dividers and providing a green background.  If you like a manicured look, you can even trim them into shapes. Just remember that shaping increases the frequency of your maintenance. Review the bushes that thrive in your growing zone and what their needs are.  I like that evergreens are always green, but flowering bushes like rhododendron are beautiful too.  I like the photo below with its varied colors and textures. This hedge will change with the seasons.

Colorful hedge

Choose plants appropriate for you climate for a living fence or screen to add privacy to your yard, patio. or deck. Besides a traditional boxwood or Indian Hawthorne, many plants including rose bushes and cactus work just as well.

The Garden Glove has an interesting article, Privacy With Plants with lots of ideas on creating living walls.

V. Use Potted Plants To Screen Your Porch or Patio

Last but certainly not least is a screen of potted plants.  This is perfect for apartment/condo balconies, porches or patios. Create a living wall that is movable and easy to replace with the seasons. If you rent, it’s also easy to move to a new home.  Like the folding screen in the privacy screen section, potted plants can be moved, replaced, or repositioned which provides great flexibility.

Potted plants include a large planter with a trellis for vines to grow up and over.

Choose one of the suggestions or a combination of them to provide you a beautiful outdoor environment.  Enjoy your beautiful summer days outside with style!  Thanks for the visit!

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I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

12 thoughts to “The Best Ways To Add Privacy To Your Garden”

  1. Hi Carol. I love the tin/metal but would be afraid of rust over time. The vinyle fence is my dream fence. We have the wooden fence and it’s in need of some help. 🙂 I am praying for a way to get the vinyle one. Great ideas and article. Pinned and thank you for sharing at #aclwcc.

    1. The vinyl is also my dream garden addition. I know it costs big bucks that I don’t have. My old wooden fence needs so much to be replaced. I can’t do that either right now.

  2. Love the bamboo fence and shrubs as ways to add privacy. Thanks for offering these great ideas. Nancy Andres @ Colors 4 Health

  3. Very creative ideas Carol. We don’t have neighbours but we do live right on a lock on the canal, which means we have people passing by walking and boats cruising past at the front of the house. I would love to have some kind of high privacy hedging to the front, but sadly it would interrupt our views of the fields beyond.
    Luckily we have privacy to the rear of our house!

  4. I love all these ideas and I often find myself looking on Pinterest for ideas on how to make our courtyard more private. But I haven’t really found any solutions that are inexpensive. When we first bought our place over twenty years ago. The house next door had a lovely front garden and the trees would hang over our fence. Unfortunately, the owner passed away and along came some developers who built a giant two-storey home. So now we have this ugly wall right next to us and the people next door can see right into our courtyard from their second floor ☹️

    1. The most inexpensive could possibly be curtains but you’d have to figure out what to hang them from. That might not be inexpensive. What a shame they built such a large house to strip your patio of privacy.

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