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10 Subtle & Cheap Ways To Create Privacy In Your Backyard

Whether you want to block prying eyes or screen an unsightly view, these inexpensive ideas are sanctuary-inspired.

Looking In or Looking Out

Turn your backyard into a private retreat with strategically placed focal points, partitions, and cover.

Thwart nosy neighbors by cleverly situating fast-growing plants, privacy trees, and cascading flowers.

Mask unappealing sites with tall plants, airy upright structures, fences, and hedges.

Layer Up!

Create a privacy plan, implemented in layers over a few seasons to keep the overall cost low.

Start with planting fast-growing annual vines that can be grown from a single seed packet.

Scarlet Runner Bean, for example, can grow on inexpensive twine or wire supports.

Next, add some tall perennials and beef up the structure for perennial or woody vines.

When it fits the budget, add a privacy tree or two, or perhaps your favorite hedging shrubs.

Raise the Roof

Need peeking protection from second-story windows? Shelter outdoor living spaces with a pergola, canopy, sail shade, or privacy umbrella.

Good Relations

They say, “good fences make good neighbors”.

Setting boundaries on property edges is always a good idea.

Well done, property boundaries, fences, and privacy screens should benefit both sides.

Planting a tall hedge right in front of your neighbor’s window wouldn’t exactly ease neighborly relations.

On the other hand, a pretty specimen tree that gives you privacy while improving your neighbor’s view has a mutual advantage.

10 Low Cost Privacy Ideas

1. Living wall

Living walls are incredibly cool and range from immensely intricate to simplicity itself.

A budget-friendly version may take advantage of upcycled materials and innovative plant holders.

For the utmost lushness without breaking the bank, use plants that propagate easily to fill out large living wall areas.

2. Pergola

The pergola is a revelation for making cozy outdoor spaces.

Sheltered from onlookers, a pergola oasis is yet one more structure for growing view-obstructing climbers and vines.

3. Hanging Baskets

Focal point? Check. Cascading flowers and foliage? Check. Block unpleasant views and viewers? Check.

For wonderful hanging basket ideas for all locations and seasons, check out hanging basket plants for shade, hanging basket plants for fall, a list of the best cascading flowers, and the best plants for winter hanging baskets.

4. From the Top Down – Fast Growing Cascading Plants

Perfect for the living wall and hanging baskets, fast-growing cascading plants pleasantly fill the line of sight.

Cascading plants can be grown from many types of containers, even cost-effective grow bags or upcycled DIY plant pots.

5. From the Ground Up – Fast Growing Plants

Fast growing plants, such as annual sunflowers or vines like sweet pea and morning glory are economical as they can be grown from seed each year.

Using plants that grow quickly is a budget-saving tool in the garden which saves on patience too!

Big leaf plants are worth considering if you have the room because they fill in an enormous amount of viewing space.

6. Hedges

Hedges are, of course, the privacy go to in the garden.

Smaller plants, rooted cuttings, or propagating cuttings yourself is the frugal route to hedge growing.

Use the Layer Up! tip above to help fill in the space while you wait for your hedge to grow up.

Many fine hedge choices are out there. Some of our favorites can be found in our list of the best edible hedges which do double duty by creating privacy and providing an edible yield.

Other popular plants that can be grown into a hedge include honeysuckle, lilac, camellia, forsythia, beautyberry, and many more.

7. Trees

Yes, trees take a while to grow and large trees at the nursery are often an investment.

But, toe to toe, nothing blocks a view more prettily than a privacy tree.

And if you were to break down the cost per square foot, the tree-to-beauty ratio is the best deal going!

You can also make the most of existing trees. When pruning, consider views to augment and those to disguise.

8. Vines

Vines fill in space, make unattractive structures beyond beautiful, and the variety available stretches the imagination.

From fragrant Honeysuckle, fast-growing Hops, to the fall splendor of Virginia Creeper, vines make indispensable cost-effective privacy screens.

9. Fences

Fences bring a picture to mind of straight, white, pickets. There are no rules of what constitutes a fence.

Upcycled materials, reclaimed wood, gabion cages, and other materials are worthy of fence duty.

Here are some cheap DIY fence ideas that you don’t need any skill to build.

Anything put together with creative brilliance may help to relieve an unappealing scene, wonderfully useful for fencing.

10. Inspired Imagination

Interesting swaths of material or items from nature such as twigs and branches can be creatively employed to inspire sanctuary.

Use these tips to deliver an oasis retreat away from peeking neighbors while disguising unwanted views.