Have you ever wished for just a little more privacy so you could enjoy your outdoor space more? If you live in an apartment or a semi or attached home, do you sometimes you feel like your neighbors are a little too close for comfort?
It’s great to be able to enjoy your outdoor space without feeling you have an audience! Somewhere to go after a hard day’s work and relax. Somewhere you can just unwind and forget about the day. Your own little sanctuary. Your secret garden!
But it’s hard to do if you don’t have privacy.
It doesn’t matter if your outdoor space is just a balcony or tiny patio, it’s yours and you want to feel it’s part of your home. Like another room. But how can you feel cozy and private when next door neighbors are just a few feet away?
How can you create your own oasis where you can have a little table and chairs, maybe a lounger and relax. Maybe share it sometimes with friends and family.
It’s not that hard. Here’s some simple ideas to get you started. Some you can put together and have privacy right away, others may take a little longer to get growing. Why not get your project going now while the weather’s nice and warm.
Ready? Let’s get started.
These privacy screens are perfect if your outdoor space is a balcony or small patio:
Don’t you love how this looks? You get to choose your material and plants and make it your own. I will admit this is a little more advanced but if you’re up for it, this makes a perfect natural privacy screen. Especially if you choose hanging plants that grow quickly to give you the maximum amount of coverage in the shortest time.
Here’s some ideas for fast growing vines – many will also blossom and make your screen beautiful too!
- Climbing Hydrangea
- Trumpet Vine
- Coral Honeysuckle
- Star Jasmine
- Virginia Creeper
- Morning Glory
Depending on where you live you may need to take the plants in when it gets cold or start again in the spring with new ones. Find plants that are hardy in cold weather where you live and are perennial – meaning it comes back year after year – and you’re good to go.
Here’s how to make a planter wall.
PALLET GARDEN WALL
This is similar to the planter wall, but instead uses a pallet to create your privacy screen. It’s designed for pots of herbs but you can easily make it custom to your own patio.
You’re probably thinking, but this doesn’t look high enough for a privacy screen. You’re right.
On a balcony it would give you some privacy, but if you want more height for your wall, stand a pallet on it’s end – so the slats are parallel to the floor. Use the herb pallet idea above to create a stand or feet so the pallet stands upright.
Most US pallets are 48″ x 40″. You’ll have a screen 4′ tall. Want to add some more height to it?
For each pallet section you make, add this wood picket fence piece by screwing it to the top of your pallet. Paint the pallet white or paint this fence section green, gray or your favorite neutral color. It’s going to get covered in vines anyway!
PALLET PATIO WALL
Here’s another way to use a pallet and pots to create a small barrier between you and your neighbor. This one is leaning up against a fence or balcony, but you could make it free standing by adding legs or a base like we did in the last example above.
So where can you find pallets for free or low cost? Try this site.
Here’s a simple plant pot holder you can buy to mount on your pallet or fence wall like the example above. It makes it very easy to transform your recycled pallet into a flowering green privacy screen.
DRESSER DRAWER PLANTER BOX
Here’s a cute idea to recycle old dresser drawers to make a privacy screen.
Stack multiple dresser drawers on top of a dresser, old table or potting bench (below) to give you the height you want. A standard bench is 36-49″ high, so once you add your drawers you’ll have a sweet little privacy screen. Tuck pots and plants in shelves and drawers to fill in any space and start growing!
If your table or bench doesn’t have a back like this one does, simply attach vertical posts to the back of your dresser drawers to add stability.
Another option is to make a free standing planter box. Set it up on the side of your patio or balcony where you want the most privacy. Here’s a great video to show you how to attach dresser drawers to a table base you may yourself.
But once again, you can play around with this idea and use an old coffee table or bench instead of making a table.
Keep in mind, there’ll be a lot of weight with potting soil and plants so be sure your table or bench is stable before adding your drawers and plants.
Don’t want to go to the trouble of planting inside the drawers like the video?
You can easily put plants in their pots right in the drawer without re-potting them into soil. Use decorative bark, mulch or moss to fill in any bare spots until your plants grow in. This is perfect if you live in a really cold climate and can’t leave your plants outside through winter.
What if your outdoor space is larger?If you need a little more privacy in a side garden or patio try these projects:
A quick and easy way to create a beautiful natural look is a bamboo fence. The height gives you nice privacy too.
Bamboo fencing can be bought by the roll or by the section. Make sure you get good quality – you don’t want to be able see through it once it’s up.
Bamboo is great for covering up ugly chainlink fence and chainlink gives you a place to attach the bamboo to. If you don’t have an existing fence you’ll need to install fence posts into the ground to attach your bamboo fence.
LIVE BAMBOO “FENCE”
Isn’t this lush? If you’re looking for a natural privacy screen, bamboo is awesome for fast vertical growth. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of digging up your yard or garden, grow bamboo in a pot or container. Use a series of long planters to surround your patio or garden space.
Be sure to buy clumping bamboo NOT running bamboo. Clumping bamboo doesn’t send out runners like running bamboo so it doesn’t spread. Running bamboo is great if you’re trying to cover a large area quickly but it’s a little like crab grass. It can be very invasive and get out of control.
Clumping bamboo grows out more slowly but still grows up at 1-3 ft per year for a total height up to 10-15′. The best varieties for growing in a container are p.Vivax and p.Dulcis which can grow over 20ft tall in a 30″ wide container!
Bamboo growth in containers is like goldfish in a pond. It grows relative to the size of the container. So it will grow as big as the container will allow. Bamboo is evergreen up to USDA Plant zone 7. This means they won’t die off during the winter, although they may lose leaves and canes.
SIDE GARDEN PRIVACY
What if you have a very narrow side garden which is right next door to your neighbor. Adding a decorative detail at the top of your fence can keep it open feeling and add to your feeling of privacy.
Why not plant some small trees in pots and containers to create little pockets of greenery. Even though your plants may not provide a solid wall of privacy, they still help you feel like you’re “hidden” instead of being exposed.
Plantings also help buffer sound and noise to stop it bouncing around your walls and hard surfaces.
ULTIMATE PRIVACY HEDGE
Alright here we go. This is the tried and true method to creating an awesome privacy “wall” – a real live hedge! Yes it takes some time to grow but there are lots of benefits to having something living as your privacy screen. Such as it’s a natural barrier to noise and sound.
A hedge like this one also filters pollution and nasty particulate from passing traffic – so if your “neighbor” is a busy road this hedge is a perfect solution.
What’s the best plant to grow quickly into a privacy screening noise reducing and air cleaning machine?
This is a Leylandii or Conifer Cypress. It grows up to 3 ft or 1 meter per year! It will grow in full sun or partial shade, is very tolerant of wind and cold. It’s also less expensive to buy a larger tree than other plants, so you can start with a larger plant and get your privacy hedge faster.
Trim it back to keep it from growing too tall.
Privacy when your next door neighbors are above and you feel like you’re in a goldfish bowl
What you need when your neighbors bedroom window looks down on your patio or garden space is privacy from above. You could just put up an umbrella but that’s a little too much maintenance on the daily.
Why not add an arbor or pergola to your backyard space? Not only will it give you privacy from above, it’ll also provide shade when needed. Arbors look amazing when covered with vines like clematis or wisteria.
A simple arbor design like this one, can also make your space feel more like an outdoor room. It defines your patio or decking area and creates a perfect spot to put your table and chairs or loungers.
You can DIY an arbor or pergola or you can buy one from a home store like this one.
It all depends on your budget and how handy you are. If you’re handy with a hammer and saw, look up free or recycled lumber. Look at how these pergolas are put together and just go for it.
Check the wood can stand rain and freezing temps. It needs to be water and rot resistant. Cedar and redwood are naturally rot resistant and resist warping, which is really important when you’re making a free standing structure this big.
If you choose another wood, it needs to be treated with oil or an oil based stain and water proofing.
Don’t forget the hardware to put it together needs to be aluminum, copper, brass or bronze so it won’t corrode.
Hope you have fun creating your own secret garden – a private oasis for you and your family.