10 Strategies to Include Privacy to Your Yard

When You Want to Be Alone
The household next door cleared some trees on their lot. And on the other side, the next-door neighbors' new master suite includes a second-story deck with nice views-- into your yard.

As bigger houses occupy ever-smaller lots and the demand for outside living areas grows, privacy is at a premium. And it's not practically spying eyes invading your area-- you may wish to protect your own view of your sunbathing next-door neighbors and shut out their chatter.

There are myriad methods to add personal privacy in the landscape, from putting in perimeter plantings to constructing fences, stone walls, or garden structures. Here, staggered wooden boards are stained in soft tones of black, yellow, green, and red. They produce an one-of-a-kind privacy fence softened by shrubs in front and a feathery tree canopy overhead.
Privacy Plantings
Property-line plantings can supply year-round screening and are typically not restricted by municipal regulations limiting their height. Where area is tight, as in a side yard, fast-growing columnar evergreens like Italian cypress and arborvitae or a sheared privet hedge can supply a simple solution for blocking or separating adjoining lawns sight lines out a cooking area window.

To plant a new privet hedge, produce a trench two feet wide and two feet deep, space private shrubs about 12 inches apart, and bring soil up to the branching trunk. Water deeply and regularly the first year, using drip watering. To prosper, these deciduous shrubs require a temperate environment and a property owner going to wield sharp shears as typically as needed.
Layered Privacy Plantings
In bigger backyards, planting a mix of deciduous or evergreen perennials, trees, and shrubs produces a more naturalistic look, particularly if you layer plants, organizing them in odd numbers. "Stagger evergreens in the background, and in the foreground action down the height with deciduous material to provide texture, color, and depth," says Elliott Brundage, a landscape architect in Andover, Massachusetts.

Planting deciduous shade trees-- which usually grow from 25 to 60 feet high, depending upon the species-- is a good way to obscure a neighbor's view from a second-story window or balcony. Placed over a deck or patio, the canopy supplies privacy and shade in the summer season. In the winter season, the trees' bare branches permit the sun to shine into the house.
Container Gardens for Deck Privacy
Potted plants such as arborvitae or clumping bamboo can be placed to develop a green screen around a raised deck seating location. Ideally, pots need to be raised up on casters or made of lightweight products so you can quickly move them for celebrations or deck repair works.

my site TOH Tip
For a lasting container screen, integrate snazzy annuals with decorative grasses, shrubs that change leaf color in the fall, or dwarf evergreens. Choose a mix of colors, textures, and foliage types.
Walls and fences
Freshly installed play grounds, pools, and outdoor patios may need a visual buffer in a rush. A 6-foot solid board fence is the quickest method to include year-round screening-- simply be sure to check local building codes regarding fence heights (and other constraints). It may likewise be the very best service in a side lawn, where space is tight, given that fences have a smaller footprint than plantings.

Board fences can be found in various designs to match the architecture of your house, and you can stain them to match your house. "But while a privacy fence might resolve the issue, it's not constantly the most visually pleasing service," says Eric Sauer, a landscape architect in Dayton, Ohio. To separate the mass of a board fence, Sauer suggests including an open lattice or baluster top, and planting flowering or evergreen shrubs in front to soften its solidity.
Stone Wall Topped with Fencing
Another option is to mount a shorter, 3- or 4-foot lattice or picket fence on top of a 2- or 3-foot stone wall. The wall, from a range, is high enough to disrupt sight lines, while the openwork fence screens without feeling claustrophobic.

TOH Tip
A great wall begins with a stable base. In areas with great deals of loam and poor drain, you may have to excavate down 4-feet-deep, listed below the frost line, and install piping to drain water from the footing.
Masonry Walls with Ornamental Ironwork
Similarly, a masonry wall of stone or stucco that increases 5- or 6-feet-high feels less overbearing when windows are cut into it; frequently, ornamental ironwork can embellish such openings.


Michael Glassman, a Sacramento, California, landscape designer, searches yard sales for the fencing he integrates into his clients' lawns. He may use a $50 cast-- iron area as a trellis for vines, fitting it with brackets to protect it to the side of a house. "As opposed to new ironwork, which can look generic, salvage has an old appearance that offers more permanence to the landscape," says Glassman.
Panels and Pergolas
Defined areas like little patio areas, outdoor kitchen areas, and decks are normally easier to screen than a whole yard. By building an enclosure around them, you can re-create the intimate feeling of eating or amusing indoors, while still delighting in gorgeous weather.

Enclosures might take the shape of a slatted-top wood pergola covered with climbing up vines on a patio or a pair of fixed lattice panels along 2 sides of a raised deck. Prefab iron gazebos can be set right on the ground and surrounded with potted vines and hanging baskets to fill a few of the gaps.
Lattice, Wood Panels, and Ornamental Ironwork
Screens made from lattice, shutterlike louvered wood panels, or areas of decorative iron with anchoring posts can be set into the ground to confine a comfortable corner or make a U-shaped structure that preserves preferable views. For maximum flexibility, consider putting the post ends in light-weight planters with wheels; to anchor them, add concrete plugs to the feet or set the posts in gravel. That method, they can be moved around to develop more open space when you're amusing.

Semitransparent structures may not supply total personal privacy, but they include a lot of visual interest to a landscape and permit natural light and breezes in. "They produce a reassuring sense of containment and a psychological buffer," says Stephanie Hubbard, a landscape architect in Boston and TOH TELEVISION regular.
Utilizing Fountains to Mask Noise
Even if you're not literally seeing eye to eye with the next-door neighbors, you may still be close enough to hear their discussion. Or you may be bothered by invasive traffic sound or ringing Air Conditioner compressors. In such cases, adding a water fountain to your privacy plan can mask unwanted noises with enjoyable white noise. These variety from off-the-shelf, plug-in units that sit on a table or hold on the wall to customized styles that become a major centerpiece.

Remember that streaming water becomes louder the farther it falls and the more tiers it travels over. Michael Glassman, a landscape designer in Sacramento, California, warns that it's possible for a water fountain to be too loud, which is just as disruptive as the sound you're trying to hide. "The sound of hurrying water may be inviting when visitors show up, however you do not wish to have to scream over the din at dinner," says Glassman, who designed the wall and water function shown here. All fountains have a recirculating pump, so if you get an adjustable one, you're sure to find a sound level that's soothing.

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