two Adirondack chairs and a small table nestled under the trees in front of a wood fence and plantings
Photo: Andrew Drake

When You Want to Be Alone

There was a time you could kick back in glorious solitude right in your own backyard. Then the family next door cleared some trees on their lot. And on the other side, the neighbors’ new master suite includes a second-story deck with nice views—into your yard. Suddenly, you feel like you’re living in a fishbowl.

As larger houses occupy ever-smaller lots and the demand for outdoor living areas grows, privacy is at a premium. And it’s not just about prying eyes invading your space—you may want to shield your own view of your sunbathing neighbors and block out their chatter.

There are myriad ways to add privacy in the landscape, from putting in perimeter plantings to building fences, stone walls, or garden structures. Here, staggered wooden boards are stained in soft shades of black, yellow, green, and red. They create a one-of-a-kind privacy fence softened by shrubs in front and a feathery tree canopy overhead.
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