Do you love to spend time in your yard but are uncomfortable with the thought of prying eyes? If so, you need to add more privacy to your landscape design. There are many ways to do this, whether the space is in the rear or the front of your home. The following ideas can help with various privacy concerns.
Protect from above
One of the greater privacy challenges is when your neighbors can clearly see into your yard from their second floor. Fortunately, there are a few ways to counteract this problem.
The easiest way is to use an overhead shade structure. If you don't like the closed in feeling of an awning or patio cover, then consider a pergola. You add further privacy to a pergola by training vines to grow over the top or by using light colored pergola shades over the slats. This way, you still get dappled light and an open airy feeling, but no one can see you.
Another option is to use trees to provide privacy. A dense, quick-growing shade tree, such as a feathery mimosa or a pretty maple, can be just the thing to block out the neighbors' view while improving your own.
Block street views
Finding privacy in front yards can be more difficult since many towns or HOAs limit the height of front lawn privacy fencing. Instead, you need to get creative if you want a private patio or exterior courtyard area.
A plant screen is your best option. You can plant hedges, either around the perimeter of your property or just around your seating area. Privet, rhododendron, and lilacs are all attractive options. Lilacs in particular can be pleasant in spring and early summer with their pretty flowers and strong fragrance.
If you don't have a way to plant, perhaps because the area is paved or you have a front deck, consider potted screen plants. You can grow tall bamboo, small trees, or tall fountains of ornamental grass in pots or deck planters. Simply place these so they block the view from the street.
Deal with sneaky slopes
Living on a slope or hill results in an entirely different backyard privacy concern – the fence you can't see over can easily be peered over by your neighbors upslope from you. You can also easily see into their yard, which can be uncomfortable for everyone.
The first option is to add height to the fence. You may need to discuss this with your neighbor so you can come up with an aesthetic option you both agree upon, such as adding paneling to the top. Since a tall fence can feel imposing, consider using wooden slats or lattice work. This allows light through so the fence doesn't seem overwhelming, but it's relatively private.
Of course, tall hedges and trees are the other option if adding to the fence height won't work. Consider evergreen varieties, since these will provide privacy year around.
For more help, talk to a landscape designer in your area.