Today’s post is inspired by an ongoing backyard makeover. Kate here, and this spring has seen a lot of big changes in my outdoor haven. For starters, the pergola and large modern trellis that were the signature design staples of the yard had to be torn down due to wood rot. That left us with a LOT of blank space that we’re still trying to fill. I promise to post the whole makeover when the time comes, but for now, let’s talk about how to create privacy in your yard, from trellises to the perfect plants. I’ll also throw in some vegetation ideas for crafting a serene, low-maintenance space. Let’s get started! [image above from Anewgarden London]

Privacy Solutions

Privacy in your yard can mean many different things. At my place, it means finding a way to cover up the bland exterior of our neighbor’s house! It’s nice to look out and see a mix of vegetation and other features, such as vine-covered trellises. Some types of fencing can also perform trellis duty. For others, privacy simply means defining your space, and there’s no better way to do this than with a privacy fence[photo from Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design]

Horizontal planks are a great option, as shown above. There are many other possibilities to choose from, including corrugated metal and hog wire fencing (see the grid below). [photo from AAA Fence Co.]

If you’re a fan of stone, a bit of masonry work can result in a beautiful stone wall. Factors such as your budget and your outdoor style will influence your choice of privacy fencing. [photo by Kate Simmons for Decoist]

Don’t forget that you can creatively embellish your privacy fencing of choice. These Wall Planter Hooks from Crate & Barrel bring an organic, modern touch to the planks in the next image.

In other words, have fun in the process of creating your own sacred space! For more on privacy fencing ideas, check out this Decoist post.

Privacy Plants

Plants are another helpful way to create a sense of privacy. A beautiful natural barrier such as the Thuja Emerald Arborvitae below will grow quickly, giving you a lot of bang for your buck. Other plant selections may require a bit more patience and $$, but cultivating a lush, green backyard is well worth the time and effort.  [photo from Great Garden Plants]

If tall grasses interest you, bicolor iris is another lovely privacy plant option. As with any plant you’re hoping to add to your yard, do your research on the light, temperature and water requirements so you can select the best option for your space. [photo by Kate Simmons for Decoist]

Bicolor iris adds height

Plants meet craftsmanship in the trellis option! There’s nothing like a modern trellis filled with beautiful greenery, such as jasmine. Faster growing vines (such as trumpet vine) are a great solution if you need greenery now, but keep in mind that these rapidly growing plants will require maintenance to prevent them from taking over your yard! [image via Pinterest]

Many people choose to have trellises custom built for their yards, or they opt for a DIY version. If you’re handy that way, more power to you! [photo from Modern Garden]

If the beauty of a trellis appeals to you and a custom solution isn’t a possibility, there may even be some lower-cost options, such as this metal grid trellis from Bonanza:

…or this one for under $70 from Hayneedle. Keep in mind that both of these featured grid trellises are on the shorter side, but a mini wall of greenery is never a bad idea!

Last but not least, shrubs such as dwarf yaupon and boxwood make great privacy plants, especially if placed in tall planters. [image via Cyan Horticulture]

If you want the ultimate in low-maintenance plant life, you can check out a range of faux boxwood selections, such as NatraHedge options from Fence Screen or this selection from Artificial Plants Unlimited:

For more on privacy plants, check out this Decoist post.

That Extra Special Something…

In addition to privacy, a good outdoor haven will have that extra something special to make it stand out. Call it a thoughtful touch or a glimpse into the creativity of the residents! [image from Cyan Horticulture]

Some of my favorite ideas for “extra special” features include beautifully arranged plants in modern containers, stepping stones, interesting groupings of native plants, water features, patio umbrellas and comfy outdoor furniture. The creative use of gravel is another favorite. Who doesn’t love a gravel pathway that beckons you to a cherished spot in the yard?! [photo below by Kate Simmons for Decoist]

Backyard Design on a Budget

Sometimes adding privacy to your yard can be a big undertaking, much more complicated than installing a trellis or planting a few shrubs. How do you create an outdoor haven on a budget? After all, it’s not uncommon for landscaping companies expect a $20,000 project (or more) before agreeing to put their design stamp on your yard. If you have the funds, nothing beats getting a talented landscape designer to create the perfect space for you. Their expertise is well worth the expense when it comes to selecting just the right plants for your yard and creating something truly special. However, maybe you’re at a stage of life where you simply aren’t able to embark on that kind of project. [photo below by Kate Simmons for Decoist]

 Here are a few ideas for how to make your yard a tranquil space on a budget:

  • Hire an experienced handyman to do the building (trellises, fencing, masonry, etc.) instead of a top-tier landscaping company
  • Go with a newer (and not as expensive) landscaping company looking to gain experience and clients
  • Purchase the plants yourself and have a lawn care service do the planting, mulch, gravel, etc.
  • DIY as much as you can yourself

Before you take my advice, please do your research! And keep in mind that the less expertise you bring to the table, the more project management you will have to do. For example, a lawn care service without a thorough knowledge of landscaping may need a lot of input and supervision when it comes to helping you create your dream yard. However, I’ve used this strategy before and been extremely grateful that someone else (with thicker gloves) was planting those huge, sharp blue agave plants!

Outdoor DIY Inspiration

Writing about landscaping and outdoor DIY projects is a passion of mine here at Decoist. Here’s a list of some favorite posts to guide you as you plan the yard of your dreams…

Thanks for reading! Here’s to creating a beautiful outdoor space that is truly a relaxing haven!

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