Landscaping to Create Privacy

Modern families spend a great deal of their time interacting with other people and as a result crave privacy when they are in their own homes and yards. Bigger houses, smaller lots, and the desire to spend more time outdoors puts the desire for privacy high on a homeowners list.

The average size of our yards and our gardens is shrinking. Instead of huge yards or grounds, most of us have pocket-sized areas surrounding our homes. Still, you can create an outdoor living area in a small private space that is solely for your own relaxation and enjoyment.

It is a challenge to create privacy for your deck and your small yard, but there are a number of tricks that can create the illusion of privacy.

Plants and fencing can serve to screen neighbors and muffle noise as well as create interest and beauty.

A small arbor can provide privacy or cordon off an outdoor living area. If your climate is less than ideal consider erecting a small gazebo. You can build your own garden structures or find prefabricated kits at nurseries or home improvement stores.

What do you do when the adjoining house is only a few feet away?

Hedges and trees are the natural way to go and you can derive a great deal of pleasure from natural greenery, as long as you are aware that keeping your hedge neat and tidy takes a great deal of work and skill.

Creating privacy with plants and screens of hedges and vines are easier and less expensive than putting in a wall or fence. A mature hedge can vary from one foot to as high as you can trim from the top of your ladder. Fast growing plants are great if you are in hurry but remember that they need almost constant clipping.

You can also use layers of trees as an alternative to a hedge. The rear screen might be tall shade trees, the middle layer might consist of hemlocks and hollies and the front screen would be smaller trees such as dogwoods, amelanchiers or redbuds.

Plants can also deflect noise. A buffer of mixed plants can absorb and deflect sound waves. For year around noise reduction plant a mix of evergreens. Keep in mind that the foliage needs to reach the ground and wrap around the area that you want to protect, much as a windbreaker serves to protect against the elements.

Fences for privacy

The best frame for a garden is a fence or a wall. A fence can serve as a privacy screen, a boundary demarcation, to provide protection, or as a way to keep something in or someone out of your yard.

Most of us want or need a fence for one reason or another and the choices are limitless. A fence is relatively easy to build and typically increases the value of your property. There are fences that you can assemble yourself and some that require a professional intervention.

Before deciding on a fence, check with your local building department. A building permit usually isnít required for a fence that is less than six feet all, but the rules may vary from town to town.

A fence can be as simple as a privacy screen, or it can be an edifice that is tall and solid for security reasons. Fencing choices are boundless. Examples include a redwood lattice, sunburst pickets, privacy panels, or scenic slats.

The privacy panel fence is probably the most popular. Vertical-board panels offer privacy, while a diagonal lattice extends the height without blocking out sunlight. You may also have seen scenic slats, which are the fences that look like a partially open Venetian blind.

If you arenít into a total screening effect, least you appear unfriendly to the neighbors, a gentler approach may be all that you require. The key is to create partial screening as well as focal points that will focus your interest inwardly toward your own space. A focal point might be a particularly lovely tree, a large decorative pot or a decorative shed.

There are all sorts of ways to create privacy, even in a small yard. You just have to get creative!


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