Smart Privacy Solutions for Outdoor Spaces

Build a private haven in your outdoor space with plants, fences, canopies or even artwork.

By: Marie Hofer and Kayla Kitts

Photo By: DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©Sarah Dorio Photography

Photo By: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Garden Design © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Herringbone Privacy Screen

This designer-inspired privacy screen adds graphic impact and chic separation to this urban patio. Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

Garden Gate

A Chinese garden gate is the inspired "wall" in this relaxing outdoor space.

Brick Wall

This classic English walled garden provides the perfect storybook retreat. Design by Bob Hursthouse

Fireplace Wall

Designer Joan Grabel found another way to make a wall very interesting with this elevated fireplace, basalt fountain and red paint.

Functional Wall Treatment

Not just an interesting wall treatment, this ingenious wood sculpture also serves as the conduit for an irrigation system. Landscape designer Jamie Durie used recycled lumbar beams installed with a misting system to water surrounding vines and epiphytes.

Garden Screens

Adding screens and panels within the garden helps divide it into smaller, more intimate spaces. They are especially useful in predictable rectangular plots, where they can add interest and heighten mystery.

Sliding Panels

These custom-designed, sliding plexi panels help redefine and reconfigure this large urban rooftop space, but panels such as these could also be used to provide visual separation.

Simple Pergola

In this design by Pam Berstler, a simple pergola blocks the view from upper-story windows in the neighborhood.

Sail Canopy

A lightweight and elegant sail canopy provides shade, doesn't clutter the garden with posts and conveys a feeling of intimacy to small urban gardens. Plus, the canopy can be taken down when not needed.

Gazebo-Style Tent

Designed by Jennifer Duneier, this gazebo-like tent blocks views from the nearby apartment building. The columns were imported from Italy, and the outdoor fabric will withstand the year-round weather of New York.

Drapery Panels

Weatherproof, ready-made drapery panels are a quick and easy privacy solution to make an outdoor space even more enjoyable during the warm months. Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

Living Wall

A small porch becomes a private party space with this imaginative makeover by landscape designer Jamie Durie, who created "pocket gardens" around the perimeter, forming a living wall.

Living Wall

The grasses and trailing plants in the pockets are non-fussy plants that add texture and color, and the homeowners will enjoy being able to pick fresh sprigs of parsley and mint.

Boxwood Hedge

Boxwood makes the perfect hedge when neatly clipped and grouped with mini pyramids that lead into the patio area. The seating area is framed with a wooden archway and complemented by blooming roses.

Bamboo Screens

Bamboo plants can make ideal screening, but they have one problem: in the ground, the running types are invasive. Here, bamboo is contained within cube planters to screen this private space. If you're planting bamboo in the ground, choose the non-invasive clumping types.

Living Screens

These few arborvitae will eventually grow to be about 12 feet tall. When shopping for a living screen, look for plants that need the soil, light and moisture conditions that your site can supply, and check the expected mature height and width on the plant tag.