Today, we’ll help you carve out a little patio privacy from neighbors’ prying eyes and bad taste in music with manufactured or natural screens. You might even find indoor uses for some of these options.
- A 4-panel, portable privacy screen, which can double as a room divider in winter, can block the view and some sound for about $300. Search and compare other options online.
- A privacy fence is a permanent and top-of-the-line solution. A 6-footer made of cedar costs $11 to $18 per linear foot; low-maintenance vinyl costs $20 to $30 a linear foot.
- Make one yourself: Get creative! Anything that stands between you and nosy/noisy neighbors will give you some privacy. A Laguna Beach, Calif., couple filled a wood frame with wood pots they bought from Ikea. They grew herbs in the pots and fashioned their own green wall.
- Instant green screen: Buy some giant house plants, like dieffenbachia or alocasias, and arrange them in a row on the edge of your patio or deck. Take them inside before the first frost, and put them out again next summer.
- Seasonal green: Plant some climbers, like wisteria or clematis, in big pots flanking panels of freestanding trellis. The plants will grow up and fill in spaces with beauty and fragrance. A row of sunflowers makes a glorious and lush sound and visual barrier (plus, it feeds the birds).
- Forever green: Bamboo is thick and quick-growing, but tricky to contain. Dig a narrow ditch in front of plants and mow down shoots that creep over the line. Leyland Cypress — tall, cylinder-like trees — will grow 3 to 4 feet a year and eventually create a towering and evergreen hedge.
Have your neighbors ever invaded your privacy? Oooh, share!