Your home may be your castle, but your backyard should be your oasis. That’s easier said than done in neighborhoods where there aren’t a lot of wide-open spaces. But you can create that oasis by landscaping for privacy — away from unwanted observers and loud traffic. Here are some ideas for landscaping your way into privacy and noise reduction.
Good fences make good neighbors for a reason. That six-foot wooden fence can offer you a lot of privacy and put a healthy distance between you and the neighbors. If that’s not your style, a lattice fence with climbing vines offers a lush green version of the same idea. Simple outdoor patio curtains are a less expensive, quick alternative.
If it’s the view the neighbors have from the second floor that’s too open for your taste, a pergola or patio shades can shield you and your loved ones from casual, upstairs onlookers.
A Living Fence
This solution takes some time and patience, but you can plant your way into privacy. A vertical garden is a great way to hide an unsightly fence by planting up instead of out. These environmentally friendly gardens filter out polluted air and noise, providing the seclusion you desire.
The biggest drawback may be providing moisture to all the plants. You may have to install an irrigation system complete with soaker hoses.
Shrubs and Hedges
Use fast-growing shrubs and plants like the green arborvitae or the juniper, boxwood, or bamboo to grow your way into a little peace and isolation. Depending on the species, you could get some relief from prying eyes within a year or two.
Pro Tip: Be careful of some species, like bamboo, which can get out of hand and quickly become invasive. Planting them in pots achieves the same goal, without a small ecological crisis in your backyard.
Use What You Have
If you live on a property with mature landscaping, it’s possible that you don’t have to do much planting or building at all. If you have mature bushes and trees in your yard, it’s possible to nurture and prune them into shape. If you cut back your bushes and keep them in good health, you’ll encourage the kind of thick growth that blocks people from looking into your yard. It also opens up room in your landscaping to add more plants — essentially layering them and creating a denser barrier.
Sometimes it’s not the views that are the problem, but the sounds. If you’ve got a highway or major intersection nearby, or you can’t stand the sound of your neighbors practicing the kazoo, look for landscaping options that can muffle or disguise unpleasant sounds. A trickling fountain is the perfect example of landscaping for sound. Windchimes can also do the trick. Or you can plant shrubs and trees that absorb sound. Broadleaf evergreens like the English boxwood, rhododendrons, and miniature Japanese holly are densely built plants that can help turn things down a few decibels.
It’s not hard to turn your backyard into an oasis for your eyes and your ears. We all want a little serenity, especially in what is supposed to be the privacy of our own backyards. Whether it’s a fence and a fountain, or a wall of holly to block the sound of rush hour, there are many different ways to create the private paradise you want.
Article written by Brianna Atkins Brianna Atkins is a writer, home stager and designer in love with soft fabrics, hardscapes and modern touches. She considers her landscape a work of art.