If you love spending time outdoors in your yard but don’t love feeling like you’re on display for the neighborhood, then this post is for you. We’ll share five secrets to creating privacy in your yard so you can enjoy some peace and quiet. Whether you have a small city lot or a sprawling suburban property, we have a few clever ways to help you design your own private retreat. So grab a drink, and let’s get started!

What is privacy landscaping?

Well-designed landscaping can do double duty as both decorative and privacy-enhancing. From structured evergreen hedges to casually mixed border plantings, privacy planting can be designed in a variety of ways to keep neighborhood noise and prying eyes from invading your space.

Combining trees, shrubs, climbing vines, and flowering plants staggered at different heights can offer you a backyard sanctuary. Enhance your backyard’s beauty, functionality, and texture by strategically installing retaining walls, water features, gazebos, outdoor fireplaces, and fencing.

Why privacy landscaping?

We all need some alone time, away from noise and wandering eyes. Privacy landscaping is a great way to create an oasis in your backyard. Whether you are looking for privacy from those neighbors whose second-story patio looks right into your backyard or to dampen the noise of traffic that has sprung up in your neighborhood, landscaping can help you create the privacy you desire. It can also add beauty and value to your property while ensuring your family gets the privacy they want.

How to privacy landscape?

Start by deciding where you need privacy, then select plants and hardscaping that suit the area and your privacy goals. Consider plantings such as tall trees, evergreens, shrubs, and flowering plants that can be staggered to create an effective privacy barrier. Hardscaping features such as privacy walls and fences can also be used to create a defined a no-eyes zone around your house.

Remember, privacy landscaping doesn’t mean sacrificing your garden’s beauty. You can add decorative touches such as outdoor lighting, trellises, arbors, screens, and garden sculptures throughout the privacy area. This will help create visual interest while still providing privacy.

Secret 1: Use evergreen and deciduous trees to create a natural barrier

Screening trees and shrubs is a great way to block out unwanted noise, provide attractive sightlines and create privacy. Tall privacy hedges such as Leyland cypress will form an effective barrier between you and your neighbors.

When landscaping your garden, choosing the right trees to form a natural barrier or hedge can be key to creating privacy in an outdoor sanctuary. Deciduous trees are often what people think about when planting trees.

But evergreen trees and shrubs are ideal as a privacy screen because they stay green year-round, providing maximum privacy and seclusion throughout the seasons. It also means that your landscaping remains aesthetically pleasing during winter months when other plants may have lost their leaves and gone dormant.

Evergreen landscaping options

Evergreens and other foliage-laden plants are as prized for their leaves and branches just as much, if not more, than the flowers they bear. One type of privacy tree, the Emerald Green Arborvitae (more commonly known as the Thuja), is a rapidly growing conifer that can reach heights of 12 to 15 feet.

This green giant arborvitae has an astonishing growth rate of 3 to 5 feet annually, making it an excellent option for creating a living privacy fence or mixing in with any pre-existing structure. Not only will your evergreen landscaping tree add privacy, but its dense foliage can also help reduce noise from outside sources.

Balance evergreen and deciduous trees

For an aesthetically pleasing and balanced privacy solution, select a variety of deciduous trees combined with strategically placed evergreens. Planting these trees to run along your fence line or protect outdoor spaces like decks will provide you with full privacy while allowing beautiful dappled light all year round.

Other softscape living fences

Bamboo, climbing roses, juniper, and compact American cranberry bush viburnum are other options to consider when creating privacy in your garden. They provide a softer privacy solution than fencing and can also be trained to grow over arbors or on walls for an added privacy bonus.

Secret 2: Layering your yard with hardscaping and plants

One of our favorite backyard privacy ideas is layering. You can create a truly stunning and effective outdoor room design by blending hardscaping such as fences, walls, or decks with other materials like plants and trees. Not only does this look amazing, but it adds texture to the overall privacy factor.

Play around with different levels, such as hanging baskets and tall plants, and textures, such as ornamental grasses, which enhance sight lines and give the feeling of a larger space. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when designing your oasis.

Landscape layering principles

By following the principles of repetition, scale, flow, and depth in your landscape design, you can create a captivating and vibrant outdoor living space. Layering is an integral part of this process to ensure that each element stands out on its own while remaining harmonious with the overall composition.

Here are a few design principles that will help you get started with layering:

  • Repetition: Layering your landscape with groupings of plants, commonly known as “drifts,” is an effective way to incorporate repetition. Alternatively, using different plants in a similar color can also help achieve this effect.
  • Scale: The scale of your plants and garden beds is essential when it comes to achieving a cohesive design. Ensure these proportions are balanced with the rest of your property for an aesthetically pleasing landscape.
  • Flow: How are your various flower beds interrelated? Are you constructing a pattern of blooms or linking them in an entirely different manner?
  • Depth: Consider depth when laying out your plants to achieve a visually appealing landscape. Are they arranged in perfect rows like soldiers on parade or intermingled to create an interesting effect? Depth adds dimension and creates captivating layered views.

A few ideas for small yard landscape layering

To keep smaller spaces from feeling chaotic or busy, it is important to remember the number and size of plants you use as a privacy screen. While this doesn’t mean curbing your choices or limiting your garden, too many plant species in a small area can create an overwhelming and chaotic atmosphere.

Try using fewer varieties but with more quantity. For instance, if you have a 100-square-foot garden space, opt for four to six different kinds of plants yet ten of each type. This way, when they are placed together or intermingled as drifts among one another, there will be added visual interest without the appearance of disorganization caused by having too many distinct varieties present at once.

Retaining walls

A retaining wall can be the perfect addition to a sloped backyard, offering functional and aesthetic benefits. With a bit of imagination, proper planning, and the correct backyard ideas, any sloped outdoor space can become an amazing asset. Constructing a retaining wall on a slope or around an area and topping it with potted plants can give you more privacy and provide additional space for growing plants and flowers.

Water features

Adding a water feature to your yard is an excellent way to block noise pollution and create privacy. The sound of water cascading down rocks or trickling in a pond can be quite soothing and calming while also blocking out the noise from neighbors or traffic.

As water cascades downwards and flows over multiple tiers, its sound will increase. Remember that too much noise can be just as disruptive to your environment as the sounds you are attempting to mask – so keep this in mind when adding a fountain to your space.

Secret 3: Put up a decorative fence

When it comes to making sure that your backyard privacy is well-protected and secure, there’s no dispute that putting a fence up is a go-to option. Not only will you have an extra layer of security, but adding a fence can also add value to your property. Decorative fencing can be both beautiful and practical.

Fences are available in wood, vinyl, and other materials, allowing considerable customization based on your yard. Putting up a custom fence around your property is an easy fix to add backyard privacy and block nosy neighbor’s view.

Quick privacy fix for small spaces

One benefit of a fence is that it can be put up quickly and doesn’t require a large footprint. If you need to quickly create a sense of privacy in your backyard or side yard, consider installing a 6-foot solid board fence.

This is an optimal solution since it requires minimal space and can provide year-round protection from prying eyes. Before doing so, however, be sure to check local building codes for applicable fence height restrictions and any other regulations that may apply.

Mix fencing and plants

Fencing can provide privacy but will not completely block noise pollution. Mixing in a living wall of plants with your fence can create a natural sound barrier, providing shade and cooling in the warmer months.

Secret 4: Strategically place an outdoor fireplace

A custom outdoor fireplace is a perfect anchor for an outdoor living room that you can enjoy year-round. Many custom outdoor fireplace designs can be a part of your privacy solutions. A well-placed floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace creates a focal point and makes the back porch feel like a seamless extension of your home.

Integrating an outdoor fireplace with a pizza oven, an outdoor kitchen space, or a living wall of small trees can create a privacy screen with an additional layer of privacy.

Secret 5: Work with a landscape designer

Whether you have a small or large yard, working with a landscape designer will blend all your outdoor living dreams to create a functional and beautiful space. By keeping the sightlines short, a landscape architect can design inviting nooks, living walls, privacy screens, and climbing plants and vines that create privacy around your house.

Winding pathways, groomed hedges, terraced hillsides, sturdy walls of stone, and features such as a pergola, hot tub gazebo, or other outdoor buildings decorated with lush vegetation are all beautiful components of a well-crafted backyard privacy landscape.

A landscape designer will also be aware of local ordinances and regulations that should be followed when installing certain types of landscaping and outdoor buildings. Maximize privacy without sacrificing beauty by consulting with a landscape architect or designer and layer your landscape correctly.

Create Backyard Privacy in Portland

We all have an ever-increasing desire for outdoor relaxation areas, but one luxury is in short supply: privacy. It’s not just about keeping out prying eyes. Sometimes, you want to shield yourself from the sights and sounds of overzealous neighbors having too much fun.

Greenhaven Landscapes experts design and build beautiful outdoor living areas for residential and commercial spaces, creating high-quality privacy solutions. We will guide you through every decision, giving you more privacy and a yard you love to live in.

Contact Greenhaven Landscapes now to start your project. Our consultation is always free.