The Natural Approach: How to Use Plants to Increase Privacy in the Yard

Privacy is something every homeowner wants in the backyard. An outdoor space away from prying eyes allows you to relax better, experience the solitude and quietness, and just feel at home even when you’re technically outside home.

Of course, there’s also the aesthetic appeal of privacy: the hideaways spark intrigue and mystery on people. What’s there to find at the bend of this curved pathway? What’s to see after this moon gate? In short, privacy is a must in outdoor spaces, in terms of both functionality and visual appeal.

But while fences, panels, and lattices are great options for increasing privacy within the yard, plants are equally good choices. The best choice when you’re going au naturel in your look. If you plan to use plants as your privacy panels, here’s what you need to keep in mind.


One common mistake homeowners make is overlooking scale or the size of the plants in relation to the space they want to screen. The design principle is simple: if you have a huge open area that you want to close off, say, a road opposite your yard, go big in your greenery.

Place spruce or hemlocks, for instance. Or, if you already have a specific species in mind, but they’re not that overwhelming in size, just use big or tall Italian garden planters to achieve the kind of privacy the space demands.

On the other hand, if you only want to create a little bit of solitude, say, when separating your alfresco from the kids’ play area, then small, low-growth plants are what you need. Go for boxwood or cherry laurel. The height of these species allow you to have some seclusion and also supervision of your kids.

Plants to Increase Privacy in the Yard


You need to be precise in terms of the placement of the plants. Otherwise, in your aim to screen a few views, you could be inadvertently concealing good sights, too. Worse, you might be diverting attention to eyesores.

Decide from the very start what you want to conceal. Is it the cars passing by while you’re in your alfresco? Is it the sight of your neighbor’s messy lawn? At the same time, take into consideration the focal point, too. What do you want to highlight? Is it the water fountain surrounded by lilies? The bright red swing at the farthest wall?

Move around the plants, left, right, forward, back to see which positions best highlight the good sights and downplay the bad views. You could snap some pics on different angles to remember how the views look from possible positions.


It’s best to vary the plants you have as screens and arrange them in layers. One, you don’t want your entire panel disappearing when pests or diseases attack them. You don’t want to lose your privacy that instant, do you? Besides, isn’t it a little more private when you know that you have two, three layers of plants surrounding you?

Two, it’s more pleasing to the eyes when there’s a sense of depth in the arrangement of the plants. Of course, the differences in colors also add to the visual appeal. So group plants to form a thicket. Mix some evergreens, deciduous shrubs, and some clamps of perennial grasses.

Fences, gates, and screens are great for increasing privacy in the yard. But if you want to go the natural route and use plants, take note of these principles as you push for your makeover project.

Meta Title: Privacy with Plants: Using Plants to Create Privacy in Your Yard

Meta Description: Tired of the fences and gates as privacy elements in your yard? Go au naturel. Use your plants as screens. Here are the elements to consider.