16 Backyard Privacy Ideas for a Quiet Retreat

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Lisa Hallett Taylor
16 Backyard Privacy Ideas for a Quiet Retreat
01 of 16

Install Privacy Panels

privacy screen panels
 Paradise Restored

Wood fencing encloses this long, wide backyard near Portland, Oregon, and additional wood lattice panels add architectural interest and create privacy. “We always like to add a private retreat in the landscape as an escape for people to have some downtime,” explains Kim Thibodeau of Paradise Restored in Portland. “The pathway in front of the privacy screens leads to the retreat.”

02 of 16

Be Strategic With Plants

backyard privacy planting ideas

Home Consultant

A strategic row of planters filled with fluffy grasses on top of the fence creates a neighbor-friendly green screen that helps add privacy to this Los Angeles backyard driveway turned patio from Home Consultant.

03 of 16

Cover Fences With Greenery

brick wall privacy screen
 Stefano Marinaz Landscaping

The owners of this stylish formal garden in West London wanted an elegant outdoor space to entertain. Stefano Marinaz of Stefano Marinaz Landscape Architecture framed the perimeter with hedges, while fencing mounted on top of the existing boundary wall added privacy. 

Fences are an easy and effective way to achieve privacy in a yard, though don’t forget to check your local ordinances for height and placement. For fencing materials, Marinaz prefers hardwoods over softwoods. “Hardwood lasts longer; it’s like iron,” Marinaz says. “It’s more expensive than a softwood, but it’s more durable and nicer.” If you can’t put up fencing, consider planting treeshedges, or vines. Marinaz favors evergreens from the Taxus genus.

04 of 16

Hang a Shade Sail or Two

backyard privacy ideas

Blanco Bungalow

If your next door neighbor’s house has an extra story that looks down into your backyard, consider hanging a shade sail (or two, or more) to protect you from harsh rays and lookie-loos, like this backyard dining area from Blanco Bungalow.

05 of 16

Set Up a Pop-Up Canopy

backyard privacy ideas

Design and Photo by Ajai Guyot for Emily Henderson Design

Add privacy to a backyard driveway dining space with a pop-up canopy, like this space designed by Ajai Guyot for Emily Henderson Design. Curtains can be tied back as seen here or closed completely depending on how much privacy you want or need.

06 of 16

Create Zones

backyard privacy ideas

Maite Granda

Create a sense of privacy within a multipurpose backyard space by creating zones that feel like defined spaces where people can gather and feel part of the group while having opportunities to carve out their own space. This Florida backyard from interior designer Maite Granda includes an outdoor kitchen area with bench seating and a slanted pergola as well as an outdoor living room that is raised up a step and flanked with half curtains that give it a sense of privacy without closing it off.

07 of 16

DIY a Wood Slat Fence

backyard privacy ideas

A Beautiful Mess

This inexpensive DIY wood slat privacy fence from A Beautiful Mess is painted white, making it nearly disappear while sheltering this outdoor fire pit area from unwanted attention.

08 of 16

Incorporate Nature

backyard privacy ideas

Desiree Burns Interiors

Building your deck or patio around an existing tree is good for the planet and will help provide privacy and shade to your backyard, like this tiered deck from Desiree Burns Interiors.

09 of 16

Use a Modern Wood Screen

backyard privacy screen ideas

Design by Emily Bowser for Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

A modern wood screen in a geometric laser-cut pattern adds shade and privacy to this backyard designed by Emily Bowser for Emily Henderson Design.

10 of 16

Add Curtains

backyard privacy ideas

Fantastic Frank

Fantastic Frank added breezy outdoor curtains to the edges of this backyard dining patio that can be closed to provide privacy as well as shelter from the sun.

11 of 16

Build a Private Raised Terrace

raised dining terrace
 Genus Loci Ecological Landscapes Inc.

Fences help with boundaries, but they don’t always offer privacy. By building a raised dining terrace with high walls — sort of like a permanent wooden screen — the designers at Genus Loci Ecological Landscapes were able to give their Toronto-area clients the privacy they requested in an otherwise exposed backyard. Just make sure such a structure is permitted in your area.

12 of 16

Add a Bushy Hedge

backyard privacy ideas

A Beautiful Mess

A Beautiful Mess added privacy in this backyard pool area with a thick well manicured hedge that hugs the curves of the jacuzzi area.

13 of 16

Try Budget-Friendly Bamboo

backyard privacy ideas

Fantastic Frank

An outdoor structure, such as a trellis or an arbor, can easily block neighbors’ views and add privacy to your yard. But if you have a small backyard space like this Mallorca apartment from Fantastic Frank, inexpensive and easy-to-install bamboo panels will often do the trick.

14 of 16

Use Vertical Plants

backyard privacy ideas

Design by Emily Bowser for Emily Henderson Design / Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Planter boxes with tall vertical plantings positioned in front of the backyard fence in this outdoor space designed by Design by Emily Bowser for Emily Henderson Design create an extra privacy layer and help to muffle sound as well.

15 of 16

Heighten the Fence

backyard patio privacy ideas

Blanco Bungalow

Fences are an easy and effective way to achieve privacy in a yard, though don’t forget to check your local ordinances for height and placement. Blanco Bungalow topped off a painted brick wall with wood fencing to add extra privacy for this backyard patio that is set up as an outdoor living room.

16 of 16

Opt for Partial Cover

backyard privacy ideas

A Beautiful Mess

This midcentury modern-style DIY pergola and geometric wood screen adds privacy to this backyard patio from A Beautiful Mess, helping to block the house next door and to camouflage the car in the car port while maintaining and open and airy feel.

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