Privacy Screens


A fence and carefully chosen plants insulate a side yard.

  • A clamoring vine — here, Boston ivy — softens hardscape edges and adds another layer of privacy.
  • A door is a distinctive, uninterrupted signal of a private space; fitted with a small section of latticework, it includes a decorative element that repeats the design in the fence.
  • While the fence’s woodwork signals a secluded landscape, the lattice’s open weave filters both sunlight and views.
  • Low-growing shrubs, such as a dwarf globe blue spruce, provide a way to maintain a year-round, softscape barrier.
  • A carefully chosen selection of plants and materials — river rock, patterned pavers, variegated hostas, black-eyed Susans — offers low-maintenance beauty.


A fence offers seclusion and a space for a pretty plant’s blooms.

  • Architectural details on hardscape elements can add visual interest to privacy elements. Here, a gentle curve keeps the eye moving along the top of the fence.
  • Rambling plants, such as this climbing rose, offer a pretty way to soften fences.
  • The tight weave of the open latticework fence screens the view while allowing for good air movement and filtering light to the semiprivate yard.
  • Grass that runs right next to a fence can prove difficult to mow; this backyard includes a wide berth, covered in gravel, to separate lawn and fence edge.
  • Tall trees and an elevated urn mark the end of the fence and continue the separation between public and private.


Clusters of midheight to tall growers offer an appealing alternative to hardscape elements.

  • Most homeowners rely on hardscape elements for privacy, but in this secluded nook, oversize ornamental grasses backed by larger shrubs and trees stand in for a fence.
  • When the grasses are cut back in the spring, evergreen magnolia and Alaskan cedar maintain structural interest.
  • Located in a large container, a water fountain helps filter out noise from neighbors, making the yard feel more private.
  • While taller plants offer a natural “back” to the seating area, intermittent placement of midsize growers, including supplies a lower screen.
  • An array of plants in oranges, light greens, and purples, such as coralbells, creates an attractive color palette.


Dress up a privacy barrier with accents.

  • In a mostly hardscape section of the garden, mixing materials heightens visual interest. Here, pavers combine with river rocks and shredded wood for a distinctive edge.
  • Garden ornaments, including an imaginative birdhouse planter and a series of bright purple paintings, adorn the fence.
  • A pair of metalwork obelisks provides a spot for vines to clamor up.
  • Staggered landscape elements, such as a raised bed, offer delightful garden details.
  • A tall wood fence gets a pick-me-up with a simple latticework top.


A stripped-down fence and airy plants offer subtle screening from neighbors.

  •  Two oversize urns planted with rhododendrons mark the transition from public face to private space.
  • The open latticework fence offers a discrete but unmistakable barrier; bright green paint and wood framing gives it distinctive character.
  • Double doors are a steadfast signal of a secluded area; the latticework details and wood inserts neatly complement the contrasting fence pieces.
  • Lacy, branching trees gracefully arch up and over the fence for a soft, protective canopy.
  • A wispy groundcover of sweet woodruff softens the space between gravel pathway and fence.


Depend on a Tall Fence

Decorative and useful hardscape pieces and plantings soften the lines of a towering fence.

  • Simple detailing, including a wide cap piece, breaks up an otherwise overwhelming facade on an extra-tall fence.
  • Hung on the fence, a decorative latticework sculpture serves as an outdoor-ready, artistic element.
  • A low stone bench, with river rock collected on top and at the base, offers an additional seating spot.
  • Near the base of the fence, lights provide a safety element and ambience for nighttime gatherings.
  • Groundcover and a midheight tree soften the geometric lines of the paved seating area.


Plants and fence work in tandem to shield a front yard from view.

  • A pergola can be a decorative piece and a privacy element; here, it’s integrated into a fence.
  • A few shrubs and plants, including coleus, soften the narrow stretch of space between pathway and house.
  • Wisteria works in tandem with the more substantial privacy elements, including the stucco fence, to offer a second layer of screening.
  • Balanced on top of the pergola, a wide, shallow container contains trailing plants.
  • Two materials in the fence — stucco and wrought iron — break up what could be a static facade.


Distinctive features play up the elegance of a private patio.

  • Most every fence needs edges and cap pieces; here an edge shaped into a curve and a cap piece in the form of a pyramid offer visual accents.
  • Several sizes of similarly styled containers, planted with sunny zinnias, can be moved into different positions within a secluded nook to offer another layer of privacy.
  • A trimmed boxwood shrub supports the style of the fence and closes the gap between public and private spaces.
  • Trees, including a Japanese maple, planted close to house and fence enclose the area overhead.
  • Richly stained wood doors break up a large expanse of stucco on the fence.


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