5 Clever (and Affordable) Ways to Boost Yard Privacy

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Yard privacy

Over the last few decades, the average American home has significantly increased in size, but property lots have gotten smaller. With people living closer together, it’s no wonder many homeowners feel like they’re living in a fish bowl whenever they try to enjoy the space outside their home.

Fortunately, we’ve found five clever ways to solve this common problem. Here is how to increase privacy in your yard, without breaking the bank.

1. Use Over-sized Containers

Extra large containers filled with the right plants are ideal for creating privacy, particularly in small spaces such as an apartment balcony or a patio. Grasses grow quickly and look stunning in containers, making them fantastic privacy providers. Their long, airy blades also create a soothing noise when the wind blows, which can help muffle neighborhood noise. Bamboo is another fast-growing plant that does a great job of enhancing privacy — but it can be invasive, so be sure to plant it in a container and not in the ground. For year-round privacy, fill over-sized planters with evergreen shrubs.

Tip: Large planters are heavy. If you want to be able to move them according to your privacy needs, use lightweight foam containers instead of ceramic ones, and place them on a plant dolly.

2. Introduce a Water Feature

Creating a private backyard extends beyond sight — it includes sound, too. To dampen unwanted noise like traffic and rowdy kids (and to help prevent neighbors from hearing your conversations), place a water feature near the area you spend most of your outdoor time. As a bonus, you’ll create a relaxing, calming vibe that makes your space more inviting.

Whether you want a tabletop, hanging, or stand-alone water feature, there are plenty of off-the-shelf models to choose from. Look for one with an adjustable flow control valve so you can increase or decrease the water feature’s noise level as your privacy needs change. If you’re feeling crafty, make your own water feature and customize it to your décor.

Tip: If you’re outside and want more sound privacy, simply access your home automation system via your phone and stream white noise — or your favorite tunes — through your outdoor speakers.

3. Incorporate Trellises

Trellises are an easy and effective way to boost the privacy of your outdoor space. Simply place one strategically near your patio or porch, or, for enhanced privacy, add several along your property line. Plant climbing vines at the base of the trellis and soon your home will boast an eye-catching garden structure that doubles as a nosy-neighbor barrier.

Because they’re semi-transparent, trellises offer the added benefit of filtering sunlight without blocking the breeze. Trellises are available in many different styles — from rustic to contemporary — and at a variety of price points. If you’re a DIYer, consider saving even more money by making your own.

Tip: Reference the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to find out which trellis-climbing plants are most likely to thrive in your area.

4. Put up Outdoor Curtains

Outdoor curtains are a low-budget privacy solution that can add on-the-spot intimacy to your outdoor area. They are also an especially flexible privacy solution — simply open or close them as needed. Outdoor curtains are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns and made with material that resists fading and mildew. Because they need to be hung, outdoor curtains are typically used to increase privacy on a covered porch, patio, or deck. If you want to create a private retreat elsewhere, simply attach the curtains to a portable gazebo shelter.

Tip: All you need are basic skills and a little bit of time and you can build your own semi-permanent private space using curtains.

5. Add a Picket Fence

A picket fence can go a long way toward helping you increase the privacy in your yard. It’s not as tall as a traditional privacy fence, and it’s easier to see through, but that can be an advantage when it comes to the safety and security of your family and home. Here’s why: privacy fences completely hide what’s going on around your residence, which can make it a prime target for burglars. A picket fence offers a better balance between privacy and security, and it’s usually less expensive and easier to install. If you want to block the view into some parts of your yard, grow vines or flowering plants on your picket fence. Most large home improvement stores sell vinyl picket fence panels in eight-foot sections, so you can buy as many or as few as you need.

Tip: Installing outdoor motion-activated floodlights and getting a home security system are other ways to help burglar-proof your home.

These simple projects can help you gain yard privacy and start enjoying your home’s outdoor space like you’ve always wanted to. Why not get started this weekend?

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Clair Jones is a safety and home security expert with SafeWise.com, and is passionate about helping families and singles stay safe in their home through practical tips and innovative products. To read more of Clair's safety and security recommendations and find the perfect home security solution for your home, visit SafeWise's 5 Top Security Systems for 2015 Report or drop by the SafeWise Blog.

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