Planting for Privacy

Browse these makeovers and get ideas for creating a green screen in the yard.

Too Much Information


From inside this home, the only view is of the neighbor's backyard. The homeowners want to walk out of their house into a secluded garden retreat.

Green Scene


Even though the planting is quite new, this mixture of trees, shrubs and perennials already has begun to provide screening. Because the site is a drainage area, wet-soil-tolerant plants were chosen.

Green Privacy


The planting area of the backyard screen isn't simply a single line of trees or shrubs across the back end of the property but a wide buffer zone that forms a destination garden in itself.

At One With Traffic


The homeowners want more than a fence-worth of separation from the noise of a busy street and a train station. They want a low-maintenance landscape that will provide a private getaway in this narrow lot.

The Plan


The site plan includes a dry-set stone patio, a modern-style water feature, lush plants and trees — packing functionality and interest into the small space.

Soothing Sounds


The ground-level water feature keeps the focus on the landscape itself, not on the street beyond, and helps mask traffic noise. Once the river birch has had a chance to fill in, the stop sign will be but a memory.

The Beauty of a Berm


New berms against the walls raise the grade of the site and provide interest. Trees and lush understory plants will soon create a sense of enclosure. Plus, there's no more grass to mow.

Bare Bones


This Mediterranean-style home received a makeover inside, and now the homeowners want landscaping that not only beautifies the bare front yard but gives them privacy on the porch for relaxing and entertaining.

Fast Privacy


River birches will provide amply screening for the front porch. These fast-growing deciduous trees offer colorful bark and their branches move gracefully in the wind.

View From the Porch


Once exposed, the front porch now provides views of an interesting garden sanctuary and courtyard.

Is There Anywhere to Hide?


Because it's on a corner lot, this house has three doors that give undesirable access to passersby. Plus, there is virtually no privacy anywhere in the yard.

Decorative and Private


The overexposed side of the house gets a coverup with a fence and an attractive mechanical gate leading to the garage. The bottom of the fence is solid for the sake of privacy; a lattice overlay gives it a garden feel.

Needs Enclosure


This bare backyard badly needs enclosure. The only view is of the neighbor's house.

Lattice and Leylands


A lattice fence and arborvitae provide an attractive low-cost solution. Shown here is the Eastern arborvitae (Thuija occidentalis), which will eventually grow to about 20 to 30 feet high and 10 to 12 feet wide.

Porch Privacy Tip


Mount some shutters on a frame, add a coat of fresh paint and hang them from the ceiling of a porch.

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