In 2021, more than half of the U.S. population will be living in a home with at least one outdoor space. Whether you’re planting a garden or taking part in an outdoor party, your yard is likely to be visible from the street. That doesn’t mean it’s time for you to give up on having fun outside — just that you need to think about how much privacy you want to provide when your backyard is open to the public. Here are some ways you can make sure you have enough privacy and enjoy your back patio as much as possible.
Create a Privacy Screen
If you really want to keep your backyard private but don’t want to build a fence, try adding screening to your garden. There are several different types of screens that will work well. You can install panels that allow light through, such as bamboo fencing. Or you could buy wooden planks and attach them to each other using metal brackets so they create a grid. You may also find vinyl privacy screens to be ideal, because they’re strong and durable. If you’d like something that’s a little more ornamental, look into installing trellis-style screens. These can add privacy without blocking all sight lines completely.
Keep Pets Out
Your best bet for keeping pets out of your yard is to use a barrier that prevents animals from getting in while allowing air flow. For dogs, this means placing a screen door on your front porch. This should be high enough to prevent even the smallest dog from jumping over it. Your vet can help you choose which type of door is best for your pet. Another option is to purchase a kennel system that keeps your dog inside your yard. You can use any kind of kennel you want, but if you go with a wire cage, you’ll need to place a chain link fence around the perimeter. Your local hardware store can set you up with a kennel like this.
For cats, you’ll need to use a cat flap or a screen door installed on the side of your house. A cat flap is easy to install and works great for most indoor cats. It takes a few minutes to get used to, but once your cat gets comfortable with the idea, you’ll probably never leave it behind. If you prefer to use a screen door, make sure you install the screen properly and put it on a sturdy frame. Also, make sure you have a catflap installed on the front door so your cat can get in and out easily.
Cover Up Unwanted Views
There are a lot of things you can do to cover up unwanted views. One option is to invest in a privacy hedge. Honeysuckle hedges are often recommended for their durability and ease of maintenance. They grow fast and are very adaptable. When choosing a style, pay attention to where people tend to sit in your yard. Some people like to take advantage of good vantage points along the edges of your property. Others like to sit near the center of your yard and enjoy a view of your entire backyard. Make sure you plant your hedge accordingly so you know exactly what you’re hiding.
You might also consider planting trees. Trees naturally block the view of anything behind them. The easiest way to do this is to plant deciduous trees that drop leaves in autumn. Pines are another great choice. Evergreen trees that continue growing year round (such as conifers) can provide a lot of privacy, too.
Another option is to plant a wall of flowers. Not only does this block the view from the street, but it makes your yard feel larger. Many plants can also act as barriers to unwanted visitors. For example, you might opt to plant a rosebush in order to block unwanted traffic in your driveway. If you want to block large objects, such as cars, you might plant climbing vines. These can grow up a structure and block visibility. And if you want to block sound, you should plant shrubs instead of trees, since they won’t cast shadows.
Don’t Forget About Privacy From Inside
Even if you’ve taken steps to block your yard from the outside world, there’s still plenty of room for privacy problems from within. After all, you don’t want to have neighbors spying on you while you’re lounging by the pool.
One solution is to plant evergreen bushes close to your house. These can act as privacy screens, blocking the view of your deck from inside. To maximize the effectiveness of these bushes, select varieties that don’t produce berries. Berries are known to attract birds and insects. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if they start dropping onto your furniture or deck, it may become a problem. However, if you use a variety that produces fragrant foliage rather than fruit, you may not encounter this issue. In addition, you should plant bushes near your windows so people outside can’t see right in.
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If you really want to keep people out, you can plant cacti. Even though they don’t actually bloom, many varieties make attractive additions to the landscape and will deter unwanted visitors. You can also plant flowers or herbs that smell nice.
Finally, if you don’t want anyone to see your backyard, you can create a gazebo. Gazebos come in all shapes and sizes, so you shouldn’t expect yours to blend in perfectly with the rest of your yard. Instead, you should focus on creating a design that fits your personality, whether that means a traditional gazebo or something more unique.
Plant a Tree
While it may seem obvious, you should always plant a tree in your yard. Trees offer a number of benefits, including shade, beauty, and wildlife habitat. As long as they aren’t planted in an area where they’ll cause damage to your home, you can plant whatever kind of tree you want. However, it’s important to choose the right species for your climate. If you live in a cold climate, you should avoid evergreens, since they can be susceptible to frost heaving. Likewise, tropical trees may require additional care during the winter months. If you live somewhere with hot summers, you should avoid trees that lose their leaves, since they won’t cool you off. Finally, make sure your tree has adequate drainage.
Of course, you don’t have to plant a tree in your yard to improve its appearance. You can simply remove dead branches or even plant flowers to brighten up your yard.
Decorate Your Back Yard
Now that you’ve blocked the view from the outside, you have extra options for improving the privacy of your yard. You can add screens, fences, and walls. You can also hang curtains or drapes. With a little creativity, you can make your backyard a pleasant place to spend time no matter who’s looking.