A fence isn't your only option if you're looking to transform your yard into a secluded retreat.
Private Backyard with Flowers and Shrubs
Credit: Eric Van Lokven/Getty

We live in an ever-expanding world as larger houses and buildings acquire smaller lots, and cities creep closer to once-quiet towns. Our interest in getting outside and spending more time outdoors is also on the rise, and that means privacy concerns are on the rise, too. To be realistic, we can't remove wandering eyes and stop noise-pollution, but we can make outdoor living feel more private. While installing a fence might feel like the most obvious solution, there are plenty of other ways to design a garden that can provide solitude and quiet peace. Ahead, simple tips that will help you turn your garden into your secret sanctuary.

Rise Up

Give your plants a literal boost by planting in containers, on berms, or in raised beds to add some instant height. This is also a smart solution if your soil is cursed with clay or is inhospitably rocky and makes in-ground planting difficult. Planting in containers can also add greenery and a design element to your garden.

The Layered Look

While planting a single row of an evergreen hedge can be an undeniably successful option for blocking out views, remember that planting in a more layered way can also provide privacy and add textural interest and a more naturalistic appeal. This lasagna-like approach applies mainly to larger yards where there is room to stagger evergreen trees and shrubs in the background, then step down with deciduous and evergreen perennials for added texture, depth, and color. Also, consider not just planting on the perimeter, but incorporate trees and shrubs throughout your garden.

Lattice Love

A smart way to add a sense of enclosure while still allowing for an airy feel is to add lattice. This open-style structure can also double as a vehicle for your favorite vines and climbers to scramble up for additional privacy. Bonus: Pre-made lattice can be more cost effective than a new fence.

A Room of One's Own

Not everyone can make their entire garden private, so consider turning one important corner into a private getaway for reading a book, lounging, or just relaxing with friends and family.

Beyond the Fence

Consider other design options such as custom metal panels, living walls, or translucent acrylic panels that won't take away your natural light. Or, consider a combination of design solutions to solve your privacy problems. Just make sure they all harmonize and are visually tasty when paired together.

Tree Time

One simple solution to block an unsightly view is to plant a beautiful, leafy tree. Choose one that becomes a focal point, is preferably evergreen, or if not, has stunning spring blossoms or fall foliage.

Sound Screens

Think beyond just the visual component of privacy and consider how you may be affected by noise pollution. The best tip is to create more noise-well, white noise-that will help muffle unwanted chatter and motors. Water features and fountains are great at this job, plus birds and other wildlife will thank you for it.


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