The Best Ways to Build Privacy on Your Property

A backyard with a fence and garden.

Your home, your humble abode, your cave — whatever you call it, your house and surrounding property should be where you can escape the chaos of life and spend your time the way you want. For many, this means shutting the neighbors out in the name of privacy. But local regulations, preferences, and budget can all affect how you go about this. Here are some options for creating privacy on your property.

Trees and Shrubs

Shrubs in a backyard garden.

Trees and shrubs offer a buffer between you and the neighbors. You can select tall trees that produce shade for the summer or streamline the look with carefully sculpted varietals. There are many cultivars popular for creating a dividing line. Here are a few:

Italian cypress: This plant is popular because it rarely exceeds 10 feet in width while reaching towering heights of up to 80 feet. Because of that height, watch for overhead obstructions when planning your location. Choose a sunny spot. After planting, water deeply and mulch as needed.

Boxwood: Although not a fast-growing option, boxwood creates a reliably dense border. Be aware the boxwood does not do well in direct sunlight so it is typically the most content on the north side of the property. Also, make sure that boxwood is not planted against the house. Most types of boxwood should be spaced 18 to 36 inches apart. Provide deep watering every 7 to 10 days and fertilize after the first season of growth.

Arborvitae: Plant arborvitae within a few days of purchase. They will grow in most regions with little maintenance. Make sure your hole is as deep as the container it came in and twice as wide to allow for fill dirt, food, fertilizer, and any other amendments. Water thoroughly and apply mulch, keeping it several inches away from the base of the tree. Pruning is not required unless you wish to change the look. Rinse the branches and water deeply during hot summer months to ward off spider mites.

Bamboo: Bamboo is easy to plant and grow, but it can quickly become an invasive plant. Roots travel underground and happily pop up on the neighbor’s side of the fence so bamboo must be contained with a thick ground cover if you don’t want it to spread. Knowing that though, it is one of the fastest growing privacy shields you can plant.

Butterfly Bushes: These stunners can grow 4 to 8 feet tall, providing deep purple flowers mid to late summer. They are also easy to grow and deer-resistant, making them a nice option as a border plant.

Rhododendrons: Another popular plant, rhododendrons need water and rich soil. They produce large blooms in the late spring and the thick stocks make for a dense living wall.

Roses: Roses are always an option for privacy due to their prickly nature which discourages lurking. They are nice for beneath windows to off-put possible intruders. Plus, they smell great and are a colorful complement to your yard.


A backyard with a thick fence.

Fences are the traditional mark of a property line, but they also offer privacy in a range of options, from a filtered view to complete seclusion. Some fence styles that might suit your needs include a screen fence, vinyl fencing panels, cedar, wood, a brick wall, a rock wall, Plexiglas sheets, stucco, cement walls, and corrugated metal dividers.

Other partial fences can be created out of pergolas, gazebos, room dividers, shutters, or hinged doors. Use sheer or solid curtains to soften the look and add layers of privacy. Attach pull blinds that you can lower to block out the sun or the neighbor’s gaze.

Natural Fences

Sunflowers create a privacy barrier.

In addition to trees and shrubs, natural fences can be made out of many foliage options such as hops, grapes, clematis, and other growing vines. Attach them to a lattice, the side of the pergola, the garden shed, or the fence itself. Tall crops such as corn or sunflowers might fit the bill too.


A pond with a waterfall.

In addition to visually blocking out the neighbors, consider giving yourself some audio privacy too. Fountains and ponds effectively mask the noises of the neighborhood while creating a soothing vibe.

However you decide to go about it, creating privacy on your property will allow you to enjoy your dwelling without having to share too much of your space with the neighborhood.