Whether you want to host a party or have a swimming pool in your backyard that you’d like to be more private, there are a variety of different solutions available to create a boundary that guards against the wandering eyes of neighbors.
Some are simple and cost-effective, while others offer functional options at a higher price tag.
Note that there are other important considerations when you are trying to find cheap ways to block your neighbor's view of your backyard or porch. If the home is part of a larger homeowner’s association, there may be rules that apply. Single-family and multi-units must also comply with local building codes and ordinances.
1. Install a Fence or Wall To Create a Private Space
A fence offers a practical solution that provides both privacy and protection as well. In addition to blocking your neighbor’s view, a fence can help keep little kids and pets from wandering too far. Fencing can also help to reduce sounds emanating from outside the yard or porch.
The good news is that fences can be built from various materials. Fencing can be made of wood, vinyl, metal, and even manmade, recycled composite materials, like Trex. Note, however, that certain materials may be initially aesthetically pleasing but need regular maintenance to avoid losing their look and allure. Another option for a privacy fence is to add one made of bamboo. Bamboo is unique and simple to install.
2. Outdoor Curtains Offer a Unique and Inexpensive Way to Block a Neighbor’s View in Style
While most people mistakenly believe that curtains are just for showers, windows, and glass doors, the reality is that there are curtains explicitly designed for use outdoors – with materials and construction optimally suited for what can be harsh weather elements.
Outdoor curtains are also moveable and offer great flexibility in trying to block one’s neighbor’s view. These curtains can be used to create privacy in different areas of the yard – at different times. They are easy to install and can be used to also shield you from direct sunlight. And, when the wind blows, they create a fluid motion. Outdoor curtains are available in blackout curtain materials.
3. Install an Overhead Shade to Create Privacy From Above
Overhead shade is a privacy solution that is a great, affordable option. This is especially true if the privacy you wish to create includes blocking the view from the upper floor of a nearby home or an apartment located on a higher floor.
Overhead shade options block the sun and are available in many different shapes, colors, patterns, and sizes. The only limitation with regard to this privacy option is your imagination and your unique situation.
4. Fast Growing Trees and Shrubs Create a Natural Barrier
By planting fast-growing shrubs and trees, you can create a natural boundary that offers great privacy and helps offset a family’s carbon footprint. Fast-growing greenery is a cost-effective privacy option that only needs consistent watering when planted.
There are many types of trees and shrubs that can be planted to create a private backyard away from nosy neighbors and passers-by. Depending on the agricultural-hardiness zone where the property is located, you can choose from Eastern Red Cedar, the Silver Maple, the Easter White Pine, and the hybrid Popular, to name a few.
5. Install a Trellis on which Vines & Plants can Grow
A trellis is a type of architectural structure. While trellis’ may vary, they are typically made from lattice work that has been constructed in an interwoven pattern. A trellis can be made from wood, metal, or bamboo, to name a few. Its specific purpose is to support (and display) climbing plants and vines – which fill in to create a privacy boundary.
This visual barrier is typically cost-effective, and most handy homeowners can create a unique, homemade version to use. These climbing plants and vines work their way in and around the trellis, creating an additional garden decoration.
6. Install Hedges to Reduce the Wandering Eyes of Neighbors
Hedges have been used as privacy landscaping for decades as they typically offer year-round privacy for a backyard or patio/porch. In addition, hedges are not usually included in HOA or municipal ordinance restrictions regarding height.
For example, columnar evergreens – which include arborvitae or an Italian Cypress offer a simple privacy screen that delineates the boundary between adjoining backyards. Some of the arborvitae evergreens can grow up to five feet each year! The Italian Cypress is both drought-tolerant and can grow to heights that reach upward of 60 feet – at 4-5 feet each.
7. Install a Few Outdoor Screens to Create a Private Backyard Space
Outdoor screens are designed to specifically withstand harsh weather and climate conditions. They are available and manufactured to meet most styles, sizes, budgets, and spaces. Many outdoor screens are made with sturdy fabrics that are attached to iron frames. Many of these exterior screens are lightweight and easy to move around the yard or porch.
Outdoor screens are typically constructed to be foldable, which makes them easy to store if need be.
8. Chicken Wire Allows Plants to Grow and Block a Neighbor’s View
Chicken wire is among the cheapest ways to block nosy neighbors from peering into your yard or patio. It's not exactly stylish, but it acts like a trellis. Vines and climbing plants will wind their way around the wire and create a natural protective and privacy boundary.
Remember that chicken wire is a multi-purpose type of material, which is bought in rolls. Any extra wire can help to protect plants from wandering and hungry critters in search of dinner.
9. Masonry Walls Offer a Unique Privacy Alternative with Patterned Ironwork
A masonry wall is likely to be the option that requires the most labor, and if you are not well-versed in cement or masonry, it may get expensive. Masonry walls offer a strong and complete privacy option and protection as well. They can be designed to meet the most finicky backyard, privacy lovers.
Several masonry walls combined can create the feel of an enclosed courtyard. Depending on the height of the masonry wall, it is likely to provide a significant sound barrier for the yard, porch, or patio. And, like a trellis, the masonry walls offer climbing plants and vines a solid canvas on which to grow.
Consider cutting windows near the top of a six-foot stucco or masonry wall, as this will help open the space and provide a place to add decorative and ornamental items made of varying materials. Many designers fill in these spaces by searching yard or garage sales, where you can find a generic aged look to the masonry wall.
10. Staggered Wooden Boards
Creating a fence-like boundary with staggered wooden boards offers a unique privacy option for a yard, patio, or porch. These wooden boards can be staggered either vertically or horizontally to create the look you want for your privacy fence. A staggered board fence offers noise and wind protection in addition to creating a private outdoor space.
What Type of Wood Lasts The Longest When Used for Privacy Fencing?
Fences, whether they are built to keep kids and pets in or create a private space, are required to withstand year-round exposure to harsh weather elements. These types of wood that offer the most extended fence life include –
- Pressure-treated pine
A fence, if constructed with a type of rot-resistant wood, can last up to two decades. Note that the fence posts are usually the first to succumb to the elements because they are in contact with the ground. The horizontal panels or cross bars have a longer life span because they don’t come in contact with dirt, water, and other bugs/critters. And it is imperative to assemble the fence with fasteners that are treated with weather-resistant materials. These include stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized screws/nails.
What’s the Best Way to Reduce Sounds from Noisy Neighbors?
Fountains act as effective noise-canceling options as they provide effective white noise. Adding a fountain to a yard or patio can help create privacy and deaden the noises from a neighbor’s yard.
What is a Functional Way to Create Some Privacy in a Backyard?
A small backyard shed can offer privacy and additional storage simultaneously. While adding a backyard shed (even one that is premade) is definitely not the cheapest way, its functionality as a storage location is often a great alternative for backyard/patio lovers who want to clear out the garage of the lawn mower and other garden tools.
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Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith