Chilling out or entertaining friends in the yard is one of the most glorious things in life. Unless your nosy neighbors are around, that is. A tall fence or patio cover could easily fix your problems, but keeping your affairs private doesn’t have to be expensive.
Here are 23 cheap ways to block your neighbor’s view in your yard and garden.
Inexpensive Backyard Privacy Ideas
1. Grow Hedges
Hedges are one of the cheapest ways to add curb appeal to your property while enhancing privacy.
You can manicure these closely-spaced shrubs in round or square shapes, alternate them with bushes, or create a layered landscape with hedges, shrubs, grasses, and flowers, such as hydrangeas.
The only thing to pay attention to is their height. Most building codes limit the hedge height to nine feet when planted in rear or side yards.
2. Build A Living Wall
Hedges aren’t expensive, but you can still expect to pay around $12 to $20 per linear foot if you plant and manicure them on your own. A cheaper alternative is building a living wall.
There are many ways to go around it. You can install a screen and plant climbing flowers or vines, hang pots on a fence panel or use upcycled materials to build an original structure.
For instance, you can transform old wooden pallets into shelves and recycle some cheap plastic planters to grow a variety of flowers and grasses.
3. Install A Privacy Fence
If your thumb is more black than green, a privacy fence can save the day. Vinyl privacy fences are some of the most popular options, and you can pick from different styles.
Lattice effects and crisscross patterns are preferred by those who want some privacy without hindering the view completely. Horizontal patterns generally block all prying gazes. To keep things interesting, you can alternate the fence panels with stone cages or other decorative elements.
Installing a vinyl fence costs around $25 to $60 per linear foot (including labor and materials), depending on the fence height and quality.
Alternatively, you can install a wood fence. However, wood requires regular maintenance and occasional reinforcement.
4. Sunken Seating Area
Many people build garden decks to create a cozy outdoor social space, but very few people consider a sunken design. However, a sunken seating area can enhance your privacy and is often more attractive than a regular deck.
Building such a seating area is even easy on your own. Just dig a large hole and pave it with concrete slabs. Reinforce the walls with wooden slats. You can then install decking seating and benches or simply place chairs along the walls.
As for the shape, you can pick from circular, rectangular, or irregular shapes. Add a fire pit in the middle for a bit of warmth and s’mores on the colder nights.
5. Create A Bamboo Fence
Creating a bamboo fence is an idea that can satisfy both home gardeners and those who can’t keep plants alive.
If you have a green thumb, get some planters and grow hedge bamboo. Other bamboo species could also work for garden screening purposes, but make sure to check the plant requirements and suitability to grow them in your area.
If you don’t have a green thumb, install a bamboo privacy screen. There are plenty of models to choose from, and installing them is as easy as pie.
6. Shield With Privacy Screens
Talking about privacy screens, bamboo isn’t your only option. If you want to save a buck, you can opt for a DIY screen made from recycled materials.
Wooden pallets will definitely come in handy for this project. You can fasten two or more pallets together to reach the desired height, paint the panels in any desired color, and even hang pots and planters from them.
Wine bottles are also easy to repurpose. String them together and add them to a wooden frame.
Front Yard Privacy Ideas
7. Plant Privacy Trees
While hedges are an excellent choice for backyards, privacy trees such as cypresses can add more curb appeal to the front of your house.
They create a privacy screen in the same way hedges do, but most people consider them more visually appealing.
It goes without saying that cypresses aren’t your only option. Other arborvitae trees, spruces, and pines provide the same privacy. You can also opt for dwarf citrus trees, Chinese dogwood, or Japanese maples.
8. Erect A Gabion Wall
If you’re into contemporary architecture and minimalist designs, a combination of stone cages and cypresses could be more up your alley.
Building a gabion fence is as easy as it gets – although you have to hire a utility vehicle to fill the cages with boulders and rocks.
That said, you can buy premade mesh baskets from most home improvement stores. Gabion rocks come in a variety of colors and sizes, and you can play with the heights to create an original screening structure.
9. Design A Cascading Landscape
A beautiful front yard is more than a reason to brag about. Investing in landscaping can raise the value of your property, and most potential buyers appreciate cascading landscapes.
The concept is simple: planting the greenery in layers, with the highest layer located closer to the house, screening the windows, and blocking neighbors’ view.
There are various ways to create a cascading landscape. A terrace garden is the most popular and easy to achieve, even on flat terrain. Simply use raised beds and concrete planters of various heights.
Alternatively, plant trees near the house, shrubs in front of them, followed by flowers and grasses as you move away from the building.
10. Concrete Planters And Shrubs
If you don’t feel like manicuring hedges or simply like the wild beauty of shrubs, you can create a barrier between your front yard and the neighborhood with concrete planters and the bushes of your choice.
The beauty of planters is that you can remove or replace them easily if you want to. However, if you’re looking for a more permanent solution, you can turn a short concrete fence into a planter.
Installing an irrigation system could save you a lot of hassle if you opt for such a setup. You can even drain your washing machine outside into a barrel and use the greywater for the purpose to save on utility bills.
11. Install A Statement Fence
We have all heard of statement features in interior design, but statement fences also exist. And what better way to block neighbors’ view in your front yard than with a fence that can leave everyone envious?
Your only limit is your imagination (and budget) when it comes to building a statement fence. Concrete blocks, rusted iron planters, and wild grasses can create a strong industrial impact. Translucent Plexiglas panels and lumber give a more natural feel. Metal slats are modern and sleek.
You can also reuse railroad crossties, gabion walls, or recycle other materials to build the fence of your dreams.
Screening Ideas To Block Out Neighbors
12. Go Vertical With Flowers
Do you have a fence, but the privacy is just… meh? You can turn a see-thru panel into a privacy screen with climbing flowers.
Some of the most beautiful options include wisteria and bougainvillea. Climbing roses, tall hydrangea bushes, jasmine, and downy clematis are other gorgeous choices.
The secret to thriving flowers is choosing native plants. So, make sure to check what plants are native to your area (or strong enough to survive the climate) before deciding what species to grow.
13. Create A Potted Plant Border
Lush, tropical forest designs are incredibly popular. If you want to create the most Instagrammable fencing in the neighborhood, ditch the standard screens and opt for planters.
This solution is cheap if you have a small yard or only want to screen a small border with a neighbor. However, it can become expensive if you plan to install planters around the entire lot. Also, keep in mind that planters look amazing, but they are fairly easy to move or break by criminals.
That said, choose a variety of oriental-inspired pots and jugs and greenery with bold foliage, such as Persian ivy, ginger lily, banana, ferns, cardoon, and Chinese rice paper plant. Mix and match your pots and plants to block the neighbors out.
14. Set Up A Canvas Wall
Are you tired of neighbors but unwilling to spend time and resources to build a fence or screen? Block their view with curtains or a canvas wall.
Rolling curtains are an excellent choice if you want to enhance the privacy of a veranda. A wooden frame can become a privacy screen if you install a thick piece of canvas onto it.
Alternatively, you can repurpose room dividers and indoor privacy panels – just make sure to cover them if it rains to prevent water damage.
15. Install A Corrugated Metal Fence
A corrugated metal fence could be your best bet if you don’t really care about aesthetics. These panels are cheap and easy to install. They even come in a wide range of colors – or you can paint them in the desired shade.
If your only reason for installing this fence type is your budget, know that you can also go creative.
For instance, you can cut the panels to size and install them on lumber frames or alternate between wood slats and corrugate in a vertical pattern. Once again, the only limit is your imagination.
16. Add A Stone Wall Topped With Fencing
For decades, stone fences and opulence went hand in hand. Today, you can use the stone in any way you like, including to create a modern fence.
The stone base creates a solid barrier between the neighborhood and your property. The fencing on top of it adds visual appeal and makes the stone wall feel less suffocating.
Decide the stone wall height based on your landscape configuration. A short wall could suffice if you also have border trees or hedges. A taller wall could be a better choice if you don’t want greenery. Fencing options can go from the classic white picket fence to modern metal panels.
17. Build An Ornamental Masonry Wall
We mentioned stone walls and opulence, but stone isn’t the only material you can use to build a traditional fence.
Brick and other masonry materials look equally appealing. Instead of adding fencing on top of the solid wall, alternate between decorative openings embellished with wrought iron and masonry wall.
Again, depending on the landscape and plants you wish to grow, you can block the neighbors’ view with shrubs or hedges (planted in front of the openings) or add translucent panels behind the iron decoration.
18. Grow Vines
Wrought iron fences can add value to a traditional, European-style home. However, they also offer an almost unobstructed view of your property.
Installing translucent panels could solve the privacy issue, but they look bad. An easy way to preserve the European charm while enhancing privacy is with climbing vines.
Ivy is the best choice here. Wisteria is another great option, or you can opt for any climbing plants native to your area.
Cheap Ways To Block Neighbors’ View From Upstairs
19. Install A Gazebo
Blocking overlooking windows is often a challenge, but it’s not an impossible mission. One of the quickest and cheapest ways to do that is with a gazebo.
Options vary from pop-up gazebos you can install and dismantle as needed to semi-permanent and permanent variants.
It goes without saying that pop-up units are the cheapest. Semi-permanent gazebos have a solid metal frame, canopies, and curtains that make it easy to create a chic outdoor area. Permanent gazebos are the most expensive upfront but need less maintenance and are more durable than semi-permanent ones.
20. Use Closable Slats
Arguably, closable slat covers are not the cheapest upfront. However, they pay off in the long run.
The permanent structure acts as a gazebo, protecting you from the elements and preventing the neighbors from seeing you from upstairs. However, you have the added advantage of the roof slats you can open and close as needed.
These structures can block neighbors’ views, but they are also useful for covering outdoor swimming pools, garden decks, and BBQ areas, saving you a lot of trouble and cash by reducing maintenance.
21. Hang A Canopy
Don’t want to install a gazebo or a closable slat roof? A canopy could do. Tarps come in a variety of sizes and colors, and you can hang curtains from the sides to use as walls.
One thing to check when buying is the waterproof rating if you want to enjoy your garden regardless of the weather.
To protect your garden furniture and stay dry in adverse weather, make sure the canopy is rated at least 3,000mm to 4,000mm.
22. Use An Arched Trellis
Like canopies, arched trellises come in a variety of sizes. Similar to gazebos, you can opt for semi-permanent or permanent structures.
No matter what you opt for, rest assured that a trellis to block neighbors will do much more than that. It will also add a bunch of fairy-tale charm to your yard.
All climbing plants and vines mentioned above work well for the purpose. However, wisteria, ivy, and roses are undeniably the most romantic.
23. Hang Your Greeneries Strategically
Sometimes, you may not want to block your neighbors’ view from a window in the whole yard, but only on your patio or veranda. This is where strategically-hung planters step in.
Choose cascading greenery and flowers, such as geraniums, begonias, and million bells. Hang the pots at various heights and in two or more layers. The suspended garden will block the view into your patio while leaving the rest of your landscape on full display.
No matter what cheap way to block neighbors’ view you opt for, we hope this guide can help you enhance your privacy while also increasing your property’s curb appeal.