Privacy can be achieved in many ways and for many reasons. Whether your house is small and you need to expand your living space into the great outdoors, or you simply enjoy the feel of a summer breeze on your skin while enjoying your favorite bev, having a private yard is a benefit that can be enjoyed by all. We’ll walk you through ways to achieve your dream of an outdoor oasis – with or without a fence.
Why do you need privacy?
Different situations and set-ups require privacy for various reasons. If any of the following cases sound familiar, you know you need a privacy fence!
Your neighbors know what you’re doing at all hours of the day
If your neighbors are nosy about your outdoor activities – or even want to join in on your grilling sessions and pool parties – you may need a way to block their view. Many people fear the “fishbowl” situation, where it feels like the entire neighborhood can peer into your yard when you’re outside. Others may have contentious relationships with certain neighbors and only want to interact on certain terms. If you have a pool or other area that poses a danger to unsupervised individuals, keeping it hidden from public view is even more important.
You live near an eyesore of a commercial area
With more and more people embracing an urban lifestyle – or at least wanting some kind of walkability – the hottest neighborhoods are often a mix of commercial and residential property. This is great for convenience, but can be bad for privacy in your backyard. Smaller lots and mixed use blocks can create a need for privacy, both so passing pedestrians can’t see into your yard and so you can’t see the sign for the gas station two houses down.
You know you have the most adorable dog on the block, but you don’t necessarily want everyone walking by your property to be tempted to take him! A privacy fence can also create safety, especially with interior latches or a lockable gate. Keep your kids and your pets safe from prying eyes and strangers by creating a more private yard space.
Making your yard more private with a fence
Fences are a low maintenance, permanent, and solid way to achieve privacy in your yard. They are also one of the lowest maintenance privacy solutions.
Wood and vinyl privacy fences create a solid wall of solitude
A privacy fence is normally defined by a fence that is at least six feet in height and features solid panels or pickets without any spaces in between. This create not only visual privacy, but a semblance of a sound barrier as well. A traditional privacy fence is a great solution to block the view of your surroundings or to help keep people from seeing you and also for child and pet safety. A solid privacy fence can even help keep dogs from barking by blocking their view of passing people and vehicles.
An aluminum fence can be the centerpiece of a beautiful privacy garden
Aluminum fencing is open and can be seen through, unlike privacy fences, but can create a fairly solid wall with the right climbing plants and vines. If you don’t want to block your view but still desire privacy, an aluminum fence is the perfect option. The spaces between rails can let you see out — say, if you back up to a park or wooded area — but also create a defined space. Growing the right fence-friendly vines on your aluminum fence can add to the visual appeal, as well as the privacy.
Smaller fences can delineate space
Perhaps it’s not so much your neighbors looking in as it is wanting to create an adults-only space or a spot to garden in peace. If that’s the case, look at lower height fences in wood, vinyl, or aluminum to create private space without blocking your yard off completely. Smaller fences might also work well within a yard even if you have a privacy fence around the perimeter. In many locations, a pool doesn’t need — and probably shouldn’t have — a tall privacy fence. If you want to be able to easily see if anyone is using your pool, a 4 or 5 foot aluminum fence can create a safe space.
Making your yard more private without a fence
While it will be more difficult to achieve complete privacy, you can add elements to your yard that create barriers without a fence. These ideas are also great for separating space within a large, fenced yard for private spaces, such as a vegetable garden, reading nook, or outdoor spa.
Use a trellis to create a vertical garden
Much like an aluminum fence, a trellis is great for growing vines and vertical plants. Unlike a fence, the trellis is just a basis for the plants and not meant to be a visual feature on its own, so it may lack visual appeal when your plants are out of season. While a trellis is usually cheaper than an actual fence, it is also not as sturdy and permanent.
Plant large landscaped elements like trees, wild flowers, or bushes
Consult with a landscape designer or nursery to see what type of plants work well in your space. Philadelphia and the surrounding area fall into USDA hardiness and plant growing zones 6a through 7a, depending on the exact location. The Common Buttonbush or Mountain Laurel might be good choices for your yard, but a plant expert can better recommend non-invasive, native species that will help you achieve privacy. Much like with a trellis, though, the amount of privacy you’ll have from plants will vary with the seasons.
Use permanent features like urns or planters to create a barrier
A benefit of large features, like planters, is that they create a barrier even in winter. Of course, like all plant-based options, they still look better and create more privacy when plants are at their peak. If creating a barrier to define space is your first concern and privacy is second, this may be a solution.
What’s the best option for a private yard?
If you are looking for privacy, you can’t do better than a fence. If you have reasons for wanting options other than a fence, various plantings and their like can help create a sense of privacy by producing lush foliage, but usually only for part of the year. A privacy fence is usually your best choice for creating a peaceful backyard oasis.