Even if your neighbors are your best friends, there are times when you want a bit of privacy. And if you have a large yard or property, you may also want to create some secluded garden areas. Well, you’re in luck! We’ve put together a list of privacy landscaping ideas to try this summer. OK, so the end of May is not technically summer according to the calendar, but after the spring we’ve had, let’s not quibble.
Before you splurge at the local landscape center or garden store, make sure you know what you’re planting (or your landscape design company is planting). In our area of Maryland/DC/NOVA, we have several plant hardiness zones. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Hardiness Zone Map is helpful in determining what plants/shrub/trees will survive the winter in our area. It is a general guideline. You don’t want to purchase plant material that is not suited to some of our harsher winters.
Please avoid planting invasive species, and opt for native plants when possible. The Chesapeake Bay Native Plant Center is a great resource.
All of that being said, there are several types of privacy landscaping ideas to consider.
If you’re looking for privacy right away, consider buying bigger plants. Instead of a bunch of gallon-size shrubs or bushes, look for taller and wider plants that will provide immediate privacy. But make sure you know how big the plant will eventually get, so you don’t plant it too close to the house, patio, fence, etc.. You also don’t want your plants to be crowding each other in just a couple of years.
Privacy Landscaping Trees
We’ve all seen them — long stands of arborvitae, Leyland cypress, or juniper dividing one property from the next. But there are other trees and larger shrubs with more visual interest, such as rhododendron, viburnum, ornamental grasses, holly, spruce trees, and more.
Hedges aka Walls of Green
Only plant a hedge if you can handle the upkeep. Hedges provide great privacy, but require frequent trimming and pruning. Otherwise, they become overgrown and unsightly.
Whether it’s a stone wall, or a cedar wall with a shelf and pockets to place potted plants, garden walls can transform even a small urban area into a private oasis. You can also create a garden “room” with three or four walls. They don’t have to be solid, just enough to let light in while providing some privacy. These enclosures can add architectural interest around the fire pit, pool area, or larger garden area.
Use lattice panels, a trellis, arbor, or other outdoor structure to create privacy. Plant a climber such as a rose, clematis, creeping fig, or another vining plant that will fill in the gaps quickly.
Screen of Curtains
OK, so this doesn’t involve landscaping or hardscaping, but it can be a quick and elegant fix. To add privacy to your seating area, install posts connected by a rod, on which you can place outdoor curtains. You can tie back the curtains or close them, depending on your needs. Invest in some nice architectural posts and chic curtains. Make sure they are easy to put up and take down because you’ll want to launder them to keep them looking their best.
Hire a Professional to Implement Your Privacy Landscaping Ideas
If all of this sounds fun, but like too much work, consider hiring a landscape design team. Local professionals will know what works and what doesn’t, and many have relationships with local plant nurseries.