Whether your neighbors are the loveliest people in town or the bane of your existence, we all need a bit of privacy now and then. As they say, good fences make good neighbors. But privacy can be hard to come by out on an open deck – how do you enjoy the outdoors without feeling like you’re being watched, and without installing a 12-foot high fence around your yard?
If you’re looking for some ways to make your outdoor space feel a bit more secluded, check out the following 8 tips from Decks and Docks Lumber Company.
1. Add Railing or Fencing
The first deck privacy solution most people jump to is a railing or fence. If you’re worried about feeling boxed in, you might opt to only put up fencing on the sides that face your neighbors.
If the mere idea of a fence makes you claustrophobic, you might opt to install railing instead. But what’s the best type of railing for privacy? Unlike aluminum or iron railing, vinyl railing can be used to create a solid wall around your deck. It’s also more affordable and easier to install, making it a great solution for blocking out nosy neighbors.
In addition to making your outdoor space more private, railing also makes your deck safer for pets and children. Learn more about choosing the right railing for your deck here.
2. Beautify Your Deck with a Pergola or Trellis
Building a pergola or trellis around your deck is an elegant and versatile privacy solution. A pergola consists of vertical columns that support a grid-like structure overhead. A trellis is very similar in structure, but instead of thick and sturdy columns, it’s made up of detailed latticework designed to support sprawling vines and other climbing plants.
Both structures are open enough to allow for plenty of sun and air to pass through, but can also be customized to be as private as you’d like. For instance, you could easily hang curtains around the edge of a pergola or completely cover a trellis in vines.
3. Add a Water Feature
If you like to think of your deck as your own private oasis, that sense of peace can be easily shattered by noisy neighbors, barking dogs, and nearby traffic. Privacy isn’t just about what you can see (or who can see you) – it has a lot to do with what you can hear, too.
A nice way to block out those obnoxious sounds and bring that feeling of zen back is to add a water feature. Whether you opt for a small birdbath fountain or a grand wall fountain, the sound of running water is far more pleasant than whatever racket is going on around you. Plus, it helps keep your private conversations private.
4. Get Help From Mother Nature
If you’re looking to take a more natural approach to privacy, you can use trees and shrubs to hide your deck from view. The right foliage for the job will depend on where you live – northern homes can choose from a wide variety of evergreen trees like yew and juniper to surround their deck year-round. Southern homes have the option of using fast-growing shrubs like viburnum and tropical plants like hibiscus and azalea.
Making plants part of your deck privacy strategy can be beneficial in other ways, too. For starters, the right landscaping can elevate the appearance of your home. Certain flowers, such as zinnias, attract butterflies and hummingbirds – having these visitors around can make your deck feel like the setting of a fairytale.
5. Install a Deck Awning
An awning may not give your deck privacy on the sides, but at least your second-story neighbors won’t be able to peer down at you from above. Awnings have additional benefits as well. Not only does the extra shade make the time you spend on your deck more comfortable, but it also helps to protect your furniture from fading in the sun.
6. Make Your Own Deck Privacy Curtains
The most cost-effective way to enhance the privacy of your deck is to make your own curtains using outdoor fabrics. Not only are they easy to make, but they’re also easy to open and close depending on how much privacy (or shade) you need.
Hanging up curtains for deck privacy works best if you already have a pergola or trellis. But you don’t need a “roof” over your deck to install curtains – even if you just have railing, you can attach pillars to your deck posts to support your curtain rods. No matter how you go about it, the flowing fabrics around you are sure to make you feel like you’re relaxing in a tropical paradise.
7. Convert Your Deck into a Screened-In Porch
If you’re willing to take on a larger-scale renovation project, you might consider screening in your backyard deck for some added privacy. While it’s a more expensive solution, you’ll be protected from the sun, rain, and insects, allowing you to enjoy your deck year-round.
The screen doesn’t have to cover your entire deck. If it has multiple levels, you can screen in the level that’s next to your home and leave the lower area open for grilling, stargazing, and whatever other outdoor activities you enjoy.
8. Go Beyond Your Deck
If you’re happy with the current look of your deck and don’t want to make any changes for the sake of seclusion, then you may want to consider going beyond your deck and adding privacy features to your yard. If your deck is low enough, a tall fence, wall, or hedge will do the trick.
Decks & Docks Lumber Co. works with high-quality manufacturers like Trex and Azek to offer deck privacy solutions like railing and fencing. If you’d rather build a trellis or pergola, we also carry the pressure-treated lumber you need to get the job done. Contact us today to learn more about our selection of materials and accessories!