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outdoor living space

(image: Chun Kit To)

Sheltered from prying eyes, there’s something truly magical about frolicking freely in a private backyard. Here’s how to create more privacy outdoors.

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Naturally, you’re the kind of neighbor who lends a helping hand, and a cup of flour, when it’s needed. You always say “hi” when you pass. You don’t let Sir-Woofs-A-Lot bark all night. You turn down the death metal after 10:00 pm. And you’re the first to welcome a new family into the neighborhood.

But sometimes? Sometimes you need to rock those mustard-stained PJ’s while you fuel up on java. Sometimes you need to slip into those cozy, ratty slippers after a day from hell. And sometimes you just want to sip vino in silence while your children run amuck, without sideways glances from Mrs. Smith [ed: Thanks Tanya for not using “Jones” – RJ] next door.

As a responsible adult with a home of your own, you’re entitled to a few perks: a mortgage (hurrah!), the last chocolate cupcake, and your very own private backyard. Craving a little more privacy outdoors? Turn your backyard into a secluded, Zen-like retreat with these three ideas:

1. Add faux foliage

They say that growing vines up your fence is a great way to steal away a little more privacy. Yeah, that’s what they say. But, alas, everything you touch with your cold, black thumb withers away into a dried-up plant corpse. If we learned anything from my previous post, Plant Care Lessons From A Former Plant Assassin, not everyone has a green thumb. And that’s OK. (Shhhh. They can’t hurt you now.)

With one of BuildDirect’s snazzy Kontiki Artificial Greenery Wall Panels, you’ll fake it till you make it. These panels, and others like them, are great for decorating a privacy fence and hiding unsightly walls. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could try your luck at growing vines up your fence, and add faux green wall panels to any areas where you, um, failed. As for Mrs. Smith next door? Well, she’ll need to find more productive ways to spend her time.

faux vinyl green wall exteriors

Kontiki Vinyl Siding – Faux Green Wall Panel “Laurel”.

2. Hedge your bets

Backyard hedges are great for blocking wind, buffering noise, and creating more backyard privacy. From easily groomed Boxwood to Glossy Abelia, there’s a shrub that’s perfect for your level of gardening know-how, desired upkeep, and climate. (Check out this Better Homes & Gardens article for a few ideas.)

If you’re feeling shaky on your gardening skills? Consider hiring a landscaper to plant your shrubs and give you a few pointers on keeping them lively.

3. Plan your escape

If all else fails? You could always transform that dusty shed into a private retreat. You could build a pub shed (nods to Steff Cameron for the ingenious idea), a secret library shed, a Zen spa retreat, or the highly sought-after man cave or “lady lair.”

If you’re feeling creative, take a cue from BuildDirect’s friendly Blog Editor-In-Chief Rob Jones, and try a “ship shed” or something made of reclaimed wood. (Check out this post for a roundup of the neatest garden sheds out there.) Or, you could peruse these garden sheds from BuildDirect to see which ones tickle your fancy most.

What’s next?

Ready to get crackin’? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Tell Mrs. Smith that you’re planning an epic backyard reno. Enjoy the ensuing look of shock and disapproval.
  2. Head to your local greenery and choose your desired shrub species, or call a landscaper for a quote.
  3. Shop around for your faux green wall panels. (Here are three styles to choose from.)
  4. Have a gander at a few backyard shed options.

Share your ideas

How do you create more privacy in your backyard? Be sure to share your ideas below!

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Tanya Roberts

Tanya Roberts is a writer and marketer who loves to spin stories about interior design and home decor. She is principle strategist at Bluefinch.ca