Beautifully designed backyards should offer just the right mix of seclusion and views.
As our outdoor spaces evolve into a secondary room for living and entertaining, there's a greater need for increased privacy. A private getaway absent from the hustle and bustle. And let's face it, no one really wants their neighbours staring straight down their fire pits anyway.
However, finding ways to carve out more privacy in the backyard can be challenging. Renovation and landscaping budgets are always tight, and then there's that need for aesthetic appeal and practicality too.
Translucent panels, lush green walls and garden screens can all make a big impression. Plants, existing structures and freestanding walls can screen views and offer a unique attraction. But it's the creative design behind it that offers maximum impact. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Grow Your Garden Up
Screening plants are fantastic for privacy and weather protection[. They also look attractive and can be easily tailored to suit your home's architecture and location. Screening plants like Clumping Bamboo, Magnolias and Leighton Green are a good place to start. To develop your screening garden quickly, look for plants that are fast-growing and dense. While they will require more upkeep than regular plants, they offer a tropical island feel once they're in full growth.
Lilly Pilly, Climbing Roses and Buxus 'Box' Hedge are all quick to grow, showing off vibrant colours and abundant foliages in full bloom. Little Gem Magnolias thrive well in our Australian climate and Photinia Robustas are hardy and easy to maintain. All are perfect for crafting a natural looking privacy screen. For something a little different, plant tall grasses in galvanised tubs for a rustic appeal.
Add Style to Garden Walls
Decorative screens can make great garden art but still serve a practical purpose. These screens add ornamental elegance to an outdoor space, while keeping prying eyes out. They don't need to completely block the view to be effective either, which makes them ideal for backyards that crave that mix of seclusion and views. To get that Bali flavour at home, pair composite screening with tropical plants. This decorative screening has the warm appeal of timber, without the hassle of maintenance.
Decorative screens can be paired with existing fences for an attractive feature. Use them on their own to create zones within the outdoor space, or to provide privacy barriers between you and the community. Garden screens can accentuate the home's existing architecture or be used to support garden themes for visual impact too.
Construct Artistic Fencing and Gates
Fencing is the most obvious way to screen your garden from neighbours, but it doesn't have to be the dullest. Fences and gates in today's market can be as visually appealing as decorative screens. You can also opt for custom-made if you're after something more offbeat.
Instead of investing in completely new fencing, old structures can be updated with decorative screens attached, or by increasing fence height for better privacy. Add decorative screens to the top of the fence for extra height, or grow your own greenery wall. Unattractive but still functional fencing can be spruced up with fast-growing bamboo or natural composite screening.
New fencing and gates add a visually fun and secure feature to the space. It's an investment which will improve almost any property and significantly boost resale value as well. The number of options makes it easy and cost-effective to complement your home's current style.
If your property is surrounded by double storey homes, where neighbours can see down into your backyard, decorative screening can be a great way to create your own secret retreat.
Use screens as a close barrier around your outdoor seating area. The further away from the fence line the screens are, the harder it is for two-storey neighbours to see into your yard. As a bonus, this screening technique can also make smaller outdoor spaces feel larger.
Getting creative with garden screens is a chance to experiment with different textures and materials, as well as ensuring privacy. Learn to layer with lighter materials, right through to industrial metals. Using multiple resources including recycled materials will also be friendlier on your wallet.