7 Ways To Make Your Backyard More Private

As Robert Frost once wrote, “Good fences make good neighbours.” But let’s be real: Good fences aren’t cheap. Here are seven budget-friendlier—but still stylish—ways to create privacy outdoors.

An illustration of an overhead view of a patio, partially obscured by a sale

(Illustration: Elyssa Padillo)

1. Take cover with a sail

If you have neighbours who can see down at you, a sail will add horizontal privacy as well as cover from the sun. One caveat: You’ll need to attach the corners to strong posts. This may require having posts installed, but that’s still way cheaper than springing for full fencing. Most sails come with extra rope and springs so you can adjust the fit to your space. You can also get a local sewing company to make a custom option for you. Like the vibe of a sail, but don’t need the overhead privacy? Consider white outdoor drapes. In addition to coverage, they give off sleek coastal vibes.

An illustration of a patio with outdoor couch and firepit, with a row of tall evergreens in the background

(Illustration: Elyssa Padillo)

2. Plant tall evergreens

Tall plants perform double duty by adding natural privacy and greenery. Choose plants, such as junipers or cedars, that grow quickly and stay green all year long. If you’re patient—and on board for some manicuring—opt for smaller, less expensive shrubs that will grow into each other and then, with some pruning, create a wall. Ask your local garden centre to recommend fast-growing plant varieties appropriate for your climate and exposure, and don’t forget to check about a warranty. On a balcony, add a row of tall potted plants (real or faux).

An illustration of a balcony with a trellis panel at the side for privacy

(Illustration: Elyssa Padillo)

3. Install trellis panels

Trellis panels are traditionally used to anchor climbing plants, but they can also create an inexpensive division between you and your neighbour. Anchor panels in the ground with metal fencing stakes, tie them to chain-link fencing or screw them onto heavy planter boxes (there are also planters that come with trellises already attached). Modernize the look by painting panels black, which makes greenery pop. You can use trellis panels on a balcony as long as they are safely secured.

4 Other Ways To Avoid Bob From Next Door

A photo of a black metal screen used to create backyard privacy

Privacy screens are a great solution for balconies or small patios. Plus, you can also hang planters and lanterns on them. Linear privacy screen, $449,

Photo of a wooden pergola with a metal roof

If you have the space (and the DIY confidence), an outdoor pergola kit is far less pricey than having one built. Pergola kit, from $1,485,

A photo of a black rubber outdoor planter on tall wooden legs

Sleek and modern raised planters give height to your plants and add another layer of separation. Dalya raised planter, $215,

Photo of a deck that has an outdoor roller blind pulled down for privacy

Create an outdoor room of your own with this sun-blocking roller blind. Coolaroo roller blind, from $119,


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