How to Use Landscaping to Create Privacy in Your Outdoor Space

If you have a neighbor that you can see from your house, chances are that you need to create privacy, perhaps by using landscaping. True, living urban means that you are pretty much guaranteed a privacy issue. However, I have also been to many houses that even though they own more than an acre, the houses are situated such that privacy is still a concern.

So, what to do about the situation? You actually have many options and opportunities to consider. The path that you will take should work for your specific needs. You can talk to your neighbor about the situation but ultimately, if you are on your side of the property line, you are free to do whatever you want.


I have a new neighbor who moved in and removed a key privacy tree then built a long landing and stairs that encroaches on the privacy of our backyard and driveway. We are faced with a new challenge – how to we create privacy in such a tight space (our houses are only 15’ apart and our driveway runs between the houses).


1) Because we live urban, often off-street parking is essential but difficult, so we didn’t want to loose parking spaces in our driveway. This meant that we couldn’t plant anything too wide to avoid loosing part of our driveway.

2) Our kitchen windows line up creating many awkward situations standing at the kitchen sink. This is our opportunity to deal with the privacy issue.

3) The height of the neighbor’s house is such that a fence could not be tall enough vertically to accomplish privacy. Additionally, our city has a 8’ height limit to fences.

4) The realtor told me that they can see right into my backyard from the master bedroom. Their house is very tall and I live in a bungalow so I needed to figure out a way to get our backyard privacy!

5) Our front porches align perfectly. This means that we can be on our front porch and the neighbor can hear our conversation and see what we are doing with little to no effort. I have bamboo planted there but it doesn’t fill in enough to be a visual buffer.


1-3) Vertical Privacy: We planted a row of Emerald Green Arborvitae that are between 8-10’ high. Hale’s Landscaping did a wonderful job and it is perfectly straight. In about 2-3 years it will fill in to create a wall of green that is 12-14’ and keep going vertical to about 20’. These plants are narrow so we won’t loose parking despite the fact that it is tight.

I also have large pots with tall plants and a bench of herbs at the end of our driveway. These create a visual buffer from those walking down the sidewalk. We use the end of the driveway as additional backyard space in the summer. In the winter, these pots get stored and we are able to park closer to the door since because we don’t need the backyard space in the winter. It also means that we create a buffer between our relaxing patio and our vehicles.

4) Backyard Privacy: Because their house is so tall, as I sat on my patio I realized that what I needed was an awning or sun sail. We saw them in Australia over pools and such. It didn’t take long to find one the perfect size on Amazon for $60.

5) Front Porch Privacy: The solution seemed pretty straightforward. I hung up a rod and curtains. These are simple curtains from Target because they do get wet in the rain and I didn’t want to invest a lot of money for this test. I keep the curtains open for the most part. But when we are out on the porch, we close them. This creates a very nice room feel and we appreciate the privacy.

I tell you this story because I personally know how upsetting it is to have your private space invaded and how essential it is to find a solution that will work for you. As you can see, we needed to use a combination of landscaping as well as fabric to accomplish what we needed to create for privacy. As the landscaping grows in, we will gain more privacy so it becomes positive long-term investment in your property.

Landscaping can be a very powerful tool to create visual, auditory and even olfactory buffers between neighbors. Hale’s Landscaping worked with me to find just the perfect tree to accomplish this. I’m happy to be part of the conversation with your landscaper to create a beautiful and organic privacy buffer for your home that compliments and solves any privacy issues that you might have.


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