Landscape ideas for privacy between houses

Consider your outdoor seating space as another room of the house. That outdoor "room" may be a porch, deck, balcony, or patio with seating for one or a group of people. For others, the outdoor space may be as simple as a couple of lawn chairs facing an inflatable kiddie pool. It is your space to entertain friends and family or to watch kids at play. No matter how elegant or simple the seating area, having privacy between your house and the neighbor's house contributes to a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Appropriately placed landscaping creates "walls" to buffer sound and block views to achieve privacy. Photo above courtesy of Jeff Sandquist.

Using landscape design to create privacy

A tall fence the length of your property may be the first thought to create privacy between houses. However, strategically placed trees, shrubs, or tall ornamental grasses may be sufficient to block views. For instance, to block views from your outdoor seating area, plant a fast growing evergreen like 'Green Giant' arborvitae that reaches up to 60 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Check the expected width of the plant at full maturity before planting. Divide the width by two and use that measurement as the minimum distance to plant the evergreen from the edge of your seating area.

Creative landscape design privacy ideas

Planters. Line your patio with large planters. Select shrubs for potting such as evergreen camellia or boxwood, or deciduous rose-of-Sharon or bottlebrush. Bushy ornamental grass, like giant feather grass, is also an option. Attach planters to the railing of a deck, porch, or balcony to grow annual or perennial flowers to create a screen. Potted plants will require watering at least weekly, and more often during hot weather.

Screens. Install a few sections of tall fencing next to the seating area. Choose an open design of screening such as lattice that allows airflow. Support the tall fence sections with posts or a pergola. A solid privacy screen may not be needed. Consider spacing the tall fence sections, leaving a gap in between the panels, or set the panels to create corners for a squared seating area.

Living fence. A living fence is comprised of plants, often shrubs, to create a barrier. Shrubs, however, are not the only plants suitable for creating fence. Flowers and trees can also comprise living fence. Use a living fence alone or in front of an existing fence that might be too low to provide sufficient privacy. Keep in mind that a living fence does not have to be a straight line. Try a curved layout in your landscape design, which better follows the rules of nature. Photo below courtesy of Miki James.