Escape Prying Eyes: 12 Creative Ways to Boost Your Backyard Privacy

Do you dream of having a backyard where you can spend time hanging out with your family and friends, laying out in the sun, or simply relaxing with your favorite novel? No matter how comfortable your patio furniture is or how beautiful your garden is, it’s challenging to be yourself and truly unwind if your backyard lacks privacy.

For many homeowners, installing a fence is the first step, but what if it isn’t enough or isn’t a possibility for your situation? Before giving up and returning inside, check out these 12 ways to boost your backyard privacy.

1. Grow Vines On Your Fence

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Even with a fence, sometimes you still don’t feel completely hidden in your backyard. Unfortunately, if you’re dealing with nosy neighbors, they likely aren’t above peeking through gaps or holes in the fencing. If you want as much privacy as possible, start growing ivy or vines on your fence to add an extra layer. Some options for flowering vines are Sweet Pea, Virginia Creeper, Morning Glory, and Star Jasmine.

2. Install A Water Feature

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Privacy isn’t all about what you can and cannot see. It’s also important to be able to have a conversation in your backyard without worrying about passersby or neighbors hearing your every word. A water feature, whether a simple fountain or elaborate waterfall and pond setup, provides relaxing ambient noise that helps cover your conversation.

3. Plant Tall Shrubs And Trees

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Tall trees and shrubs are a lush, effective way to add privacy and extra greenery to your backyard. Hybrid Poplars, Wax Myrtles, and Arborvitae are a few examples of fast-growing choices, but you’ll find many others depending on your location and preferences. Visit a local garden center or discuss your privacy needs with a landscape artist to find the best options for your area.

4. Use Privacy Screens

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Adding screens to an existing patio or using freestanding dividers allows you to add privacy in select areas of your yard. These screens come in many styles, including wooden slats, metal panels with decorative cut-outs, or screens with hooks for hanging plants. Make sure you use outdoor-friendly materials if you decide to make this your next weekend project.

5. Hang Outdoor Curtains

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If you entertain often and want to keep a sense of openness in your backyard, curtains give you a flexible option. Install tracks or tension rods around your patio and hang outdoor curtains for instant privacy. Curtains are a great choice for maintaining a bit of versatility in your yard since they’re easy to open and close.

6. Create A Living Wall

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Purchase a few trellises at your local home improvement store or garden center to wall off a private area in your yard. Grow flowering vines or tall plants that benefit from the support of a trellis to fill in gaps and add a living wall anywhere you need one. Behind the trellis, set up a sitting area or lounge spot to create a mini oasis.

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7. Convert A Shed Into A Hangout Space

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If you have a backyard shed, consider if it’s necessary for storage or if you can convert it into a hang-out space. Many people turn sheds into offices, man caves, playrooms, home gyms, and much more. If your desire for a private getaway in your yard is strong, it might be worth clearing the junk out of your shed and giving it a new purpose.

8. Use Oversized Planters

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If planting directly in the ground isn’t an option (maybe you’re renting or your soil is not favorable for planting), line up several oversized flower pots where you need privacy. Plant tall-growing flowers and greenery that will also fill out as it grows, creating a beautiful living wall you can move if necessary. Any time you select plants for your yard, ensure they can grow well in your area and withstand the climate changes. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zones map is an excellent resource.

9. Put Up A Gazebo

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A gorgeous gazebo adds a sophisticated and secluded spot to your backyard. If you’re handy, build one (but make sure to check with your county’s code office to see if you need to follow any specific guidelines). You can also purchase gazebo kits or pop-up styles. Many gazebos provide an option to add curtains for extra privacy. Some also include accessories like plant hooks, shelves, or solar lights.

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10. Convert An Old Clothesline To A Secluded Spot

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If your yard has an old clothesline you’re not using to dry laundry, turn it into a quick and easy privacy screen. Hang an oversized blanket or quilt if you need a temporary solution. For a more permanent option use outdoor curtains or hang large swaths of outdoor-friendly fabric. Look for machine-washable styles to keep them looking their best or add a layer of moisture and sun protection with Scotchgard.

11. Play Music Outside

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Drown out unwanted noise and mask the sounds from your yard with a little music. You don’t need fancy surround-sound speakers installed. A simple Bluetooth speaker works well, too. However, if you’re playing music at night, make sure to adhere to local ordinances regarding volume level and how late you can make noise outside.

12. Install Cozy Lighting

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It’s a lot easier for spying eyes to take a peek at what you’re up to when you have bright lights blazing across your backyard. Hang cozy LED string lights, install dimmers, or use dimmable bulbs for softer lighting at night. It gives you just enough light to see and enjoy an evening on the patio without announcing to the neighborhood that you’re hanging out in your backyard.