3 Ways to Add Privacy to Your Outdoor Space

Whether you live in suburbia or an urban environment, space and privacy are at a premium, especially when it comes to your outdoor space. As you begin to explore options in creating a getaway in your backyard or on your patio, you can leverage some creative ideas that give you the ambiance and beauty you need while optimizing your privacy in a public or semi-public setting.

1. Use Structures to Create Open Space Boundaries
Privacy Options Pergola Curtains
EAC Designs

In lieu of throwing up a brick wall in a desperate search for privacy, consider more organic, open-air approaches to demarcating your territory. An outdoor structure such as a pergola can create a natural boundary for an outdoor room and, when paired with curtains, can give you as much or as little privacy as you need at any given moment in the day. Moreover, a pergola can give you the overhead coverage you need, protecting you from the sun on harsh days or even the prying eyes of neighbors from above.

Bamboo Privacy Screen
Kikuchi + Kankel Design Group

Another open-air boundary to consider is the decorative screen. A screen bearing flower imagery can work well in a garden space. You can also space out screens, creating some boundaries without locking off your outdoor space completely. A slatted, wood wall is another option to consider; it lets the breeze in and a bit of light, without turning your outdoor space into a completely enclosed space. Or try out a bamboo fence— the organic feel of this barrier can maintain the “living” quality of your space and still give you the privacy you crave.

2. Add Foliage

Certainly, you could put up four walls in your outdoor space and guarantee privacy, but gaining the privacy you need and losing an outdoor feel defeats the purpose. One surefire way to sidestep this is by using plants, flowers, and vines to create natural boundaries in your outdoor area.

Pergola Plants Privacy
Hanson General Contracting, Inc.

Growing vines are an especially effective way to balance a need for privacy against a need to feel as if you’re outdoors. The following table outlines some of the best vines you can use in tandem with a trellis or pergola.

VineDescriptionNotes
Ivy
  • Dark glossy green leaves
  • Creates a solid barrier
  • Great with formal settings
  • Endures low temperatures well
Morning Glory
  • Funnel-shaped flower
  • Blue or white bloom
  • Wanes during the winter
  • Creates a more feminine environment
Trumpet Vine
  • Elongated tube-like flower
  • Reddish-orange or yellow bloom
  • Good with sun, drought-tolerant
  • Attracts birds, creating a more “natural” environment
Wisteria
  • Long, hanging bunches of small blooms
  • Lilac in color
  • Prefers sun, but needs some shelter
  • Lovely scent
  • Creates a more ephemeral environment
Jasmine
  • Small white petals
  • Likes sun, prefers humidity
  • Highly aromatic
  • A good balance between formal and casual

When selecting a vine, consider the demands of your environment and weather patterns so that you can get the most out of your growths and blooms. As a secondary consideration, think about the nature of the space you want to create— a formal afternoon tea setting or a place for evening drinks and dining? The style of the vine you select can go a long way toward creating the exact vibe you want for your outdoor area.

3. Use Outdoor Space Features
Outdoor Privacy Options Fireplace
Derviss Design

Anything from an outdoor fireplace to an outdoor kitchen can function as a barrier between you and the outside world without sacrificing your open-air feel. Today’s outdoor kitchens have all the amenities of an indoor one but use organic materials and open planning that work with a garden or patio space. Likewise, an outdoor fireplace with a rock face can give you a more natural approach to this amenity and create a solid privacy barrier.

Have you looked into creating privacy in your outdoor space and come up with some creative ideas? Let us know in the comments below.