Living near your neighbors makes it challenging to have any sense of privacy outdoors. The deeper into the city you live, the more likely you are to struggle with this.
Thankfully, you can take several simple steps to create privacy and enjoy being outside. Follow these four steps to develop a peaceful, secluded space.
Look for Sightlines
Start by identifying the sightlines in your yard. These are the places where your neighbors can stand and see you while you’re outside. A good rule of thumb is that when you can see your neighbor, they can also see you.
Windows, multiple stories, street views and alleyways all give sightlines into your space. Once you’ve identified them, you can work on ways to block or soften each one.
Every home and neighborhood is different, so your best solution will be unique and depend largely on your personal preferences.
Before you start adding fences and large trees, it’s important to ensure you’re not breaking any local laws. Some HOAs have regulations about the height and location of different landscaping elements.
It’s also only courteous to consider your neighbors before you start breaking ground. After all, their windows face toward you, too. Try to avoid building anything right against their house, and think about any windows you may block.
If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, you could also consider working with them to create a space divider that serves both of you. This might reduce the cost of your total project and allow you to do more.
Consider Your Options
There are many different ways to block sightlines and create privacy in your yard. One of the most popular is to build a fence or strategically place screens to avoid seeing unsightly objects like the neighbor’s trash cans.
You can also use trees, bushes, living walls and flowering vines to add privacy to your outdoor space. However, the key is to remember that plants grow taller over time, and they may not provide as much coverage in the winter.
Many homeowners combine plants with structural elements to create a space that feels secure but still wild. Growing plants over trellises or combining hedging with fences can add interest to your landscaping and keep you from feeling claustrophobic.
Create a Moment
Another strategy is to use functional privacy structures in your yard. For example, building a gazebo or adding an outdoor fireplace can add function and fun to your space while blocking views from the neighbors.
The best landscaping options for you will depend on your goals. If you want a large lawn, you may want to just put fencing up around the circumference of your yard. You could always opt for a summer hedge instead of a solid fence if you love flowers.
People who want to entertain in their backyards might prefer a more complicated structure with a fireplace or hanging curtains. Before you start considering options, take a moment to think about which landscaping elements will suit your goals best.
You don’t have to fully enclose your yard with fences, trees and bushes to make the space feel private. In fact, completely surrounding your yard may create a cluttered feeling, especially if you include overhead structures like canopies or curved trellises.
Instead of fully enclosing your outdoor area, your goal should be to place landscaping elements in strategic locations so you feel screened from the neighbors without compromising space and light. Comfortable landscaping distracts and protects from unpleasant surroundings, and it doesn’t have to block everything out to do that effectively.
One of the best ways to strike a balance between privacy and overfilling your yard is to screen your space in layers. This can soften your landscaping while still creating the privacy you’re craving.
Create a Safe Haven With Outdoor Privacy
While new landscaping can’t block out everything, it can bring a sense of security and peace to your outdoor space. Adding shrubs and fencing structures to your yard can be as easy or complicated as you like and only takes a little planning.
Spend some time outside to determine your goals for bringing privacy to your yard. Then, follow these four steps to convert your yard into a haven you love to spend time in.