By Andy Meredith
As long as Candis and I have been renovating houses together, I’ve heard people talking about the amount of privacy they have in their backyards. Some people care so much about it that they put up big, ugly fences. Others think it’s a perk, but they wouldn’t be willing to put up an unattractive fence and don’t want to spend the money on a wall or hedge.
I’ve found that adding privacy does a lot for the homes we’ve renovated, and our buyers have loved it. The key is to figure out how to do it without building a giant eyesore in the yard.
Plant a Fast-Growing Hedge
Structured hedges work really well with almost any style of home, especially when you’re planting them along the perimeter of the backyard. You don’t want to plant anything that will take forever to grow, though, so some of the best options are sheared privet hedges and columnar evergreens like arborvitae and Italian cypress. Pruning them takes little effort, and they’ll grow up as tall as your buyers want them in relatively little time. Plus, they’re dense, so they provide a lot of privacy as soon as they get tall enough.
If you’re worried that your buyers won’t want to keep up with pruning and trimming a hedge every year, you might want to think about planting privacy bamboo instead. You can go with a bamboo barrier along the edge of the yard, or you can plant it in large planters near the windows of the house if you want to add privacy to the house itself instead of the yard.
Tiered Hanging Potted Plants
This one won’t add a lot of privacy to the yard itself, but if the house has a covered patio or back porch, it’s a great trick. Hanging potted plants, especially vines, can add a screen-like effect that blocks prying eyes and gives some shade without the need to build a big fence.
If you’re not ready to hang potted plants for your buyers, you can opt for a slightly simpler approach. Hang outdoor curtains on the patio, and you’ll get a breezy bit of instant privacy and shade whenever your buyers want to hang out outside without being on display to the whole neighborhood.
Install a Lattice for Climbing Vines
A metal lattice with climbing vines is a great alternative to a traditional fence. You could install lattices like this around the perimeter of the backyard, or you could build them in strategic places where you have nearby neighbors.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that you don’t have to just fence off or wall off the whole yard. You can get creative and add privacy to specific gathering places, like the back patio or a fire pit. If you focus on adding some visual interference in these places, you’ll add privacy without adding anything big or bulky.
Another advantage to adding these visual barriers is that a lot of them also act as sound barriers. If your buyers are out in the yard with friends, laughing and talking, they’ll be less likely to bother the neighbors if you’ve put these privacy barriers in place.
Think about using one of these five privacy boosters for your next old home remodeling project. They can be a great way to accentuate the backyard and help your buyers see themselves living in the house.