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19 Cheap Ways to Block Neighbors’ View (in 2023)

A photo collage of house blocking from outside views.

From Hedges to Fences, this list outlines all the ways to give yourself some privacy, while building a beautiful outdoor space for your afternoon barbecues and evening cocktail hours.

We all hope to have a good relationship with our neighbours, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. Or, even if it is, some degree of privacy and boundaries can be vital to a healthy neighbourly friendship. There are many cheap and easy ways to give yourself varying degrees of privacy.

Whether you want full visual enclosure, and some sound protection, or just partial visual coverage, we’ve got an exhaustive list of materials and strategies. Growing plants can be a great way to create natural coverage, that feels protective but also airy. Depending on the type, however, it can take time to grow.

A traditional fence can do the job, but if you’re using wood, can be more expensive, especially recently during COVID-19 when the cost of wood has gone up enormously. Whatever your budget, your timeline, and your style, there is a solution!

1 . Hedges

Hedge for backyard privacy

One of the most popular and green ways to create coverage between properties is to plant hedges on your property line. One factor you always want to be conscious of is the property line itself.

A hedge can take up more space than just a line, and extend a couple feet in either direction. Talk to your neighbour before planting, and make sure to be conscious of encroaching on their space.

Once you have that sorted out, you can choose to buy a smaller hedge that may grow over time, or if you want the privacy right away, a larger pre-grown hedge will be the perfect solution. The result will be a green oasis in your backyard!

2 . Fences

Backyard fence for privacy

A fence is a simple and effective solution for privacy, and protection. If you have a dog you want to keep from running away, a fence is also the perfect option.

Like mentioned earlier, wood has become very expensive during Covid, but it can be worth it. It still creates a natural feel, and comes in many different colours/stains. The slats in a wooden fence can be placed vertically or horizontally: creating different aesthetics.

3 . Vines on Trellis

Vines on a trellis for privacy

What is a trellis you may ask? A trellis is an architectural structure, usually made from an open framework or lattice of interwoven or intersecting pieces of wood, bamboo or metal that is normally made to support and display climbing plants. 

The trellis was originally intended to support vine stock – which gives its name: lat Trichila (greenery bower). They are perfect for creating the support for thick vines to grow on, creating a visual barrier, and using minimal materials.

4 . Outdoor Curtains

Outdoor curtains for backyard privacy

Curtains are not just for the window and shower. There are curtains you can buy that are optimally suited for outdoors, will stand the test of the elements, and will provide moveable protection.

The real benefit of this option is the flexibility: when you want privacy they are there, and if you want to open up the space again, you can just slide them back. They can also create a fluid effect, blowing in the wind, and protecting you from sunlight.

5. Bamboo Fence

Bamboo fence for privacy

Bamboo Fences have been popular in recent years. They are thinner and let more light through than a traditional fence, and the bamboo has a beautiful aesthetic quality. They are easy to install, and a relatively inexpensive option.

They are, perhaps, less sturdy than a wooden fence, but depending on the purpose, they may be all you need. They are available in rolls, or panels: both simple and easy to use. Bamboo is crack resistant and highly durable, a great option for outside.

6. Container Garden

Container gardens for patio privacy

If you have a green thumb, the container garden is the right option for you! Enclosing a space with beautiful and well placed plants creates a magical garden feeling.

This option does take more tending to, but if you enjoy this, then it’s really a wonderful way to spend your time. You can play with colour, shapes, textures, truly creating an artwork, while protecting your patio.

7. Chicken Wire with Plants

Chicken wire with plants

This option is a cheap alternative to a trellis or fence, using chicken wire, which can be very ugly, but covered with plants, no one will ever know! Granted, this will take some time.

It can be very worth it in the end though. Chicken wire is a very multi-purpose material, so if you buy a roll of it, you can also use it to protect plants from any nibbling critters: feeding two birds with one scone!

8. Corrugated Metal Wall

Corrugated metal wall for backyard privacy

Corrugated metal is a hyper-durable option, with maximal visual protection, creating a solid barrier between you and the outside world. It will last forever. It has less of a natural aesthetic, but if you are going for a minimal or modernist look, it could be the right option.

Some people use wooden beams, and connect it with large panels of corrugated metal: this is a way to upgrade the look, while keeping the durability and visual force of the metal.

9. Plant Trees

Trees in backyard for privacy

The most sustainable and planet-friendly option! Planting trees is always a good thing, so why not do it in your backyard. You will get the overhead shade from the leaf coverage, and they will foster their own little ecosystem in your yard.

Birds will come, and perhaps other plants will flourish around them, maybe even some mushrooms will grow on it. You will get less consistent coverage, but if you are looking for a more porous boundary, trees really are a wonderful option.

Plus, planting a tree you get to watch it grow over the years, a beautiful process!

10. Lattice Screen

Lattice screen for privacy

A lattice screen can be similar to a trellis, but can also come in many different shapes and designs. Play with it! You can find a wrought iron screen with ornate designs, or keep it minimal with a wooden hexagonal design.

Without plants growing, the lattice screen will provide a lovely sense of protection, while leaving space open for conversation: you can still wave and say hi to your neighbours, while being able to sit and enjoy a book in peace.

11. Masonry Wall

Masonry wall for backyard privacy

A masonry wall is perhaps the most labour-intensive option, and depending on your skillset, the most expensive. It will, however, last forever and provide the most solid and complete protection.

You can create the feeling of an enclosed courtyard, with complete privacy and even sound protection, depending on the height of the wall. A masonry wall can also be very beautiful, and like most walls, you can always grow plants on it.

12. Cascading Landscape

Terraced cascading landscape for privacy

This option really depends on the structure of your yard. If you have a completely flat lawn, this may be tricky and more work than its worth.

If, however, you have an uneven, variated piece of land, creating protection with the varying heights can be a natural and easy way to optimize your space.

You can landscape the sloping parts of land with stones, plants, and steps leading to a protected area for seating. This could be a DIY project, or you could hire a professional landscaper – depending on your budget and skills.

13. Hang old wooden doors

Old doors as fence in backyard

If you have access to a junkyard, or happen to have some old doors or windows lying around, this option is going to be a blast! Simply take old windows and doors, connect them with screws at a few points, and erect the fence with beams in the ground.

They can also be sat on their side, creating a much lower fence, if your purpose is less visual protection, and more to create a facade of separation.

14. Stone Wall

Stone wall in backyard for privacy

Growing up, I had a stone wall protecting my family’s backyard. It was beautiful and I still have distinct memories of it to this day.

A stone wall has a historical quality: in England, colonists had to create farmland, combing the land of rocks, and building walls with them. A stone wall will create a beautiful and sturdy barrier, and is something you can do yourself.

15. Pergolas

Pergola in backyard for privacy

Pergolas can range from $1,2oo – $5,000 depending on materials and size. The real benefit of these is that they provide overhead coverage: both from the sun, and potential overhead views from neighbours windows.

You can drape cloth over them, grow vines on them, and depending on what you place on top, even create rain protection!

16. Backyard structures: shed, pool house, guest house…

Backyard shed

Pool house in backyard

Okay, not the cheapest option but adding structures to your backyard such as a shed, pool house, office pod or guest house definitely adds privacy. If there’s a gap somewhere you can add a structure that not only provides a lot of function but privacy as well.

17. Courtyard

Backyard courtyard

Again, not the cheapest option but if you value privacy you could look for a house with a courtyard design or put on an addition to your existing home so that you create a courtyard, either an L-shaped house or U-shaped house.

18. Tall brick or rock fireplace / grill / outdoor kitchen

Backyard rock fireplace

Outdoor kitchen on patio as privacy wall

You could build an outdoor cooking/fireplace station that not only adds privacy but a great deal of function.

19. Covered patio

Covered patio

A covered patio provides some privacy especially from neighbors who are higher up than you.  Check out the above example and how the shade and roof provide some privacy in the backyard. 

It’s something that can be added onto a house. The pricing on all of these options will vary greatly depending on whether you choose to do it yourself, or hire a professional to help you.

The vines on a trellis/chicken wire, and the hedges can be the cheapest options, and you can always save money by choosing cheaper materials and doing it yourself. This, however, will take a lot more of your time.

Ultimately, it is very worth it to have protection from the sun, and create a sense of privacy from your neighbours. Hopefully, you can still have a friendly and kind relationship with them, while enjoying spending time outside.

What’s the best way to get privacy in your backyard from your neighbors?

In my opinion, the best way is via tall hedge.  It’s natural. It’s fairly tall.  However, if you have the space and the budget, the very best option is planting tall trees.

We recently moved to a new house with a house looking down on us from behind.  This lack of privacy is our biggest problem withe the house (actually our only real problem). 

There’s currently an 8′ foot hedge but it’s not tall enough so we’re looking into buying and planting fully-grown 20′ trees.  We estimate it’ll cost us $2,000 to $4,000 for 2 to 3 trees. Two to four trees along the rear fence will be perfect and will improve our privacy considerably.

How much does it cost to buy and have fully-grown trees planted?

It’s not cheap. If you’re patient, you’re far better off buying the trees when small and waiting for them to grow. However, if you want privacy now, you’ll need to buy fully-grown trees and pay the expensive cost of transporting them and getting them planted. 

Here’s a great web page by a local tree service that estimates it’ll cost around $1,325 to transport and plant a 13′ to 20′ evergreen tree.