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9 incredible backyard privacy ideas that don’t require a lot of work

As spring turns into summer, you’re probably as excited as we are to begin using your outdoor space. Part of enjoying the backyard is being able to enjoy some privacy as we eat, entertain, work, and lounge. If you’re like many who have close neighbors or live in joined housing, you may be looking for new ways to add privacy elements to your outdoor space. There are tons of backyard privacy ideas you can implement with relative ease that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Not only that, but they can also enhance your backyard design with additional pops of color, texture, and interest.

Here are nine simple ideas to give you some inspiration before your next backyard event!

Joanne Dale / Shutterstock

Ideas for larger backyards

If you’ve got a lot of space and need multiple privacy ideas, here are a few we love.

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Use landscaping

Using plants in various sizes can help create interest while offering privacy on backyard patios and decks. You can add a combination of privacy hedges, scrubs, layered plants, vines, and trees, all of which can grow over time and offer a maximum amount of privacy. Talk to your local garden center to find out which plants work in different areas (full sun vs. mostly shade) and plant accordingly.

Install a privacy fence

If your neighborhood allows it, installing a fence is the best way to add a barrier between you and your neighbors.


  • Creates a set perimeter for your yard
  • Ideal for pets and kids
  • Can add design using vertical boards or metal


  • Expensive
  • Takes time to install

Put in a privacy screen

If you’ve got a large deck or back patio, privacy screens can add another layer of privacy to areas where you entertain. They still let some natural light in while offering height and privacy around areas like outdoor tables, hot tubs, pools, and lounge chairs.

modern landscaped backyard
Julia700702 / Shutterstock

Ideas for smaller backyards

If you have a small patio or terrace, you may want to consider these options for more privacy.

Install pergolas

Pergolas are a great solution if you have a smaller patio. Not only are they gorgeous to look at, but you can also attach string lights, plants, and screens to them for added privacy in key areas. During the hot summer months, you can also add a screen to the top for even more sun protection.

Potted plant border

If you live in an apartment or condo and have a terrace, potted plants are a great way to add a barrier of varying height and create a solid (and living!) barrier.

Invest in a covered patio

If you have the budget, consider a more permanent structure. Covered patios not only increase the value of your home, but they also can give you more square footage for an outdoor kitchen, fireplace, or water feature.


  • Adds resale value
  • Blocks sun and adds another permanent entertainment area


  • Expensive
  • Covers from above but not on the sides

Container garden

Container gardens are perfect for smaller areas because you can affix them to a railing and make them as long or short as you’d like. As an added bonus, you can plant all of your favorite blooming flowers or herbs to create a colorful design that smells like summer.

Backyard pergola with lights at night
Randy Fath / Unsplash

Privacy just isn’t about the visual

Sure, you don’t want neighbors peeping in watching your every move, but noise can also be an issue when you want to sit outside and relax. If you live on a city block or a neighborhood filled with little kids and need a break from the noise, here are a couple of ideas to help.

Add a water feature

Not only does adding a water feature help cancel out ambient noise, but it adds a gorgeous design element that will keep you cool, calm, and collected as you chill outdoors in your backyard.

Invest in outdoor speakers

Speakers are a great way to pipe in your favorite music while you entertain, work in the garden, or relax around the pool. You can find a variety of weather-resistant speakers to add to your backyard so that all the noises around you will disappear.

These nine ideas will go a long way toward providing you with some much-needed respite in your backyard. Among other benefits, they’ll keep people from being able to see your every move while you enjoy the outdoors, enhance the design of your backyard, keep kids and pets in, add color, and give you a more enjoyable experience during those long summer months.

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Julie Scagell
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, MN. My passions include my dogs, talking about my dogs, and taking pictures of…
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