Privacy Ideas for Decks

Create a secluded retreat by incorporating privacy ideas for decks such as awnings, privacy screens and enclosures, lush greenery, and living fences and walls in your outdoor decor plans.

Awnings, Canopies and Curtains

Awnings

There’s almost no limit to the ways an awning or canopy can be used to add privacy to a deck. Adding a pergola is a smart way to go and an inexpensive way to add some instant value to your home.

Another idea is to install a retractable awning so you can control the amount of sunlight or shade the deck receives or to opt for a lightweight, semi-sheer outdoor fabric for an awning or canopy so that it blocks some of the sun’s rays and gently filters the light.

Canopies

Canopies provide shade and privacy when needed and make you feel less exposed but can be taken down to allow the sunlight to come in or to make the space feel airy and open. They are easy to install, inexpensive to purchase, and low maintenance over the long term.

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Outdoor Curtains

Adding outdoor curtains is an inexpensive, quick way to screen decks from view. All you need are some metal rods for suspending the curtains, hooks for hanging the curtains from the rods, and the curtains. You can purchase outdoor curtain panels or make your own from outdoor fabrics. Simply add some hanging hooks, hang them from the rods, and sit back and enjoy your newly secluded sitting room.

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Enclose or Camouflage It

Use deck railings and fences to enclose the space and create a barrier that delineates the deck area from the rest of the world. Control the amount of seclusion by choosing fencing with slats based on whether the slats are close together or farther apart.

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As a bonus, depending on the type of fencing you choose, you’ll be treated to an ever-changing display of nature’s creativity as the sunlight filters through and creates a myriad of different shadows.

Hedges and shrubs like low maintenance boxwood can be used to soften the edges of the deck, hide portions of it from view, and create the illusion of a private sanctuary by defining the boundaries of the area.

Screen It

Add a traditional wood or metal privacy screen to hide the deck from the view of neighbors and create some visual distance from them, or get creative and make one out of fabric, hanging plants or freestanding planters, or repurposed items like old chalkboard, doors and windows.

Freestanding Screens

A freestanding chalkboard or other large structure can become an art gallery on the deck to display those never-ending works of art that usually end up on the refrigerator or as an outlet for allowing children to be creative without damaging the walls of your house. Let them draw murals or play gigantic games of tic-tac-toe on your one-of-a-kind privacy screen.

Old Doors and Windows

Old doors and windows can be hung at the end of the deck as screens to create visual separation from the outdoors while still allowing sunlight and the ability to enjoy the view from the deck.

Living Screens

If you know you will be living in your house for years to come, plant some evergreens or small decorative trees and grasses, which will grow and develop into a living privacy screens. Over time, these will form natural canopies of shade and seclusion that can still allow peek-a-boo glimpses of the outdoors depending on how they are spaced.

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Using Hanging Baskets to Make Living Walls

To create a living green partition with hanging baskets, you’ll need hooks, metal wire and hanging baskets.

  1. Affix the hooks to the ceiling to establish the width of the wall.
  2. Leave enough room between the hooks for the plants to spread out or trail over the edge of the baskets.
  3. Use the wire to hang the baskets from the hooks and alternate the lengths of the wires and the placement of the baskets to create your screen. (Use shorter lengths of wire to suspend some baskets so they are hanging near the ceiling of the deck, somewhat longer lengths so the baskets hang at midpoint and so on.)
  4. Finish the screen by lining up some baskets of greenery (tall grasses work well) along the floor of the deck in a pattern that complements the arrangement of the hanging baskets.

More Living Fences and Walls Ideas

Adding plants and greenery to a deck gives a lush, tropical look and feel to it no matter how big or small the deck is. Create living fences and privacy screens by planting vining plants on trellises or in planters affixed to the top rail of the deck.

If you plant easy-to-grow plants like herbs and spices, you get the bonus of being able to harvest fresh herbs from your deck to add flavor to your meals.

Evergreens are perfect choices for living screens because they add landscape interest while they block noise and shelter the deck from view. However, before you plant, you’ll need to know how tall the mature trees will be and if you have the right growing conditions for the trees to thrive.

Bamboo is another good choice for creating living walls and screens, but it’s important to buy the right kind since it can be an invasive plant and take over the yard and deck. Either opt for non-invasive species or plant it in containers to control its growth and spread.

Tip: To get the best results from your living wall, consider consulting an arborist for advice on the best trees and shrubs to complement your soil, sunlight and shade conditions, and water supply.

Think Outside the Box

Many homeowners cheat themselves by assuming a deck must be affixed to the house or located in close proximity to it. However, a free-standing deck can add lots of interest to your property and landscaping and opens up a whole other world of creative options.

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For instance, a freestanding detached deck located away from the house could be positioned by other prominent landscape features such as rock walls, cottage gardens, outdoor fireplaces or gazebos. Add curved or decorated walkways leading to and from the deck and the other features, and you’ve designed an outdoor living world of wonder in your own backyard.

Add Water Features or Artwork

Fountains, sculptures and wall art can do double duty as pleasing esthetic features that provide some level of privacy to your deck. Water features filter unpleasant noise and create a calming atmosphere, while artwork and sculptures can be used to block out visual clutter from the environment.

No matter which of these privacy ideas for decks are used, they all accomplish the same goal: protecting you from unwanted noises and unpleasant scenes while allowing you to enjoy the beauty and natural sights and sounds of the great outdoors.

Image credits:

Deck drapes image by roger_mommaerts under CC-BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr

Flagstone walkway design image by ARNOLD Masonry & Concrete under CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr

Deck with hot tub image by Fiberon under CC-BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr

Fiberon Tropics Composite Decking image by Fiberon under CC-BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr

Deck one image by redagainPatti under CC-BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr