Needing a bit of privacy in your yard?

By Joe Pozeg | 

There was a time you could kick back in glorious solitude right in your own backyard. Then the family next door cleared some trees on their lot. And on the other side, the neighbors’ new master suite includes a second-story deck with nice views—into your yard. Suddenly, you feel like you’re living in a fishbowl.

As larger houses occupy ever-smaller lots and the demand for outdoor living areas grows, privacy is at a premium. And it’s not just about prying eyes invading your space—you may want to shield your own view of your sunbathing neighbors and block out their chatter.

Newly installed pools, patios, and playgrounds may require a visual buffer in a hurry. Fencing is the quickest way to add year-round screening—just be sure to check local building codes regarding fence heights (and any other restrictions). It may also be the best solution in a side yard, where space is tight, since fences have a smaller footprint than plantings.

Fencerts, or sections of ornamental iron with anchoring posts can be set into the ground to enclose a cozy corner or make a U-shaped structure that preserves desirable views. Semitransparent structures may not provide complete privacy, but they add a lot of visual interest to a landscape and allow natural light and breezes in.