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Beautiful and Functional Privacy Fence Ideas

Beautiful and Functional Privacy Fence Ideas

Your home should be the place where you feel most relaxed, but without some privacy fencing ideas, it’s difficult to really relax when you feel like you’re getting unwanted looks over your shoulder. “Privacy fencing, either along a property line or around a specific area in your yard, creates a sense of sanctuary, seclusion, and tranquility,” says Janice Parker, a landscape architect from Greenwich, Connecticut. “A garden should, at best, connect us with nature, and this is easier when you can relax in a peaceful environment. Hidden areas that are screened create a sense of mystery as you don’t see the entire garden at once. Secrets make a great garden!”

Luckily, clever retaining wall and privacy fencing ideas (some are even DIY landscaping designs) can ensure your yard is the secluded oasis you desire. “A privacy fence does all the work of a typical fence — showing boundaries and keeping people and animals in or out — while blocking views into the yard,” says Kevin Lenhart, landscape designer and design director at Yardzen, one of the nation’s largest online -Landscape platforms.

Here’s a guide to building backyard landscapes and a privacy fence — whether you’re using a pergola or a trellis — to keep onlookers out and give you peace of mind.

Are privacy fences a good idea?
“From an environmental and natural perspective, privacy fences are the least desirable element in the landscape,” says Jonathan Fargion, a New York City-based landscape designer. This doesn’t mean that privacy fencing is necessarily a bad idea, just that there are a few considerations to consider before you get started.

Privacy fences divide the land into plots, which can be problematic for the bugs, insects, and other wildlife that live there. “As a rule of thumb, fences should be at least two inches off the ground to allow animals to roam freely between properties,” explains Fargion. In general, he says privacy fencing makes the most sense on small lots, like townhouse gardens. For larger gardens, he suggests using natural greenery like trees to keep unwanted eyes from invading your space.

How high can I make my privacy fence?
Fences that are 6 feet high should block most views from the ground. “I would advise not going any higher than necessary, both to save on costs and to limit the shrinking, enclosing effect that fencing can have on a space,” says Lenhart. If you need extra height, he suggests adding 12 to 18 inches of trellis to the top of a fence, which increases privacy while minimizing the visual impact of a taller fence. If you choose a natural privacy hedge, these can be much larger, often reaching up to 12 feet.

What is the Best Type of Privacy Fence?
The best privacy fence depends on each homeowner’s goals for the fence and their yard. “By necessity, privacy fences have to cover lines of sight,” says Lenhart. For this reason, many privacy fences are made of solid wood and designed to be completely opaque. If the goal is complete seclusion, something solid with no gaps would probably be your best bet.

There are also fences that are a bit more open and provide breathability in a space. “Of course, a privacy fence fails when you can see through it clearly, but there is a gradient that designers can play with,” notes Lenhart. In these cases, he says, the goal is to include gaps large enough to be visible but small enough to prevent a clear view. “The homeowner’s style and priorities will dictate the particular fence design to use for a particular project,” explains Lenhart.