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How to make your garden or balcony more private

No matter how big or small your outdoor area is, here are some top tips for keeping away those peeping Toms.

4 min read

When those first few rays of spring sunshine start to appear, naturally our thoughts turn to our gardens and spending more time outside. However, nice as our neighbours are, you don't always want to share the outdoors with a load of prying eyes.

If you’re looking for a bit more seclusion in your outdoor area, be it a big garden or modest balcony, here are some top tips to consider…

Even a small area makes a difference

The first thing to remember is that you don’t have to tackle everything in one go. If you have a large garden, getting it all out of view is going to be a big challenge. However, if you set your sights a bit lower and simply aim to create a secluded area, this will be much more achievable in the short-term.

You’ll then be able to hide out in this little nook while you work on the rest of your garden and even use this corner as a testing ground for the ideas.

How to make your garden or balcony more private

1. Add height to your borders

Do you love a border? If so, get yours working that little bit harder by starting to add height and layers to your creations.

Place larger plants, bushes, hedges, and even the odd tree towards the back of your border and then slope the heights down towards you. Not only will these larger plants keep out peeping Toms, they’ll absorb sounds from the outside, while also making your planting that more engaging to the eye.

2. Get strategic with your pots and planters

For people using balconies or those with small patios / poor quality planting soil, a pot might just be the answer.

Just as with your borders, you can strategically use a pot to position big, screening plants towards the edges of your space. And don’t let their size fool you, a pot can hold a lot, including trees! You can also stack them to add height, should your plant not quite be tall enough at first.

And if you want to squeeze even more plants into your space, there are also plenty of planters out there that can be customised for your space. Consider adding them to the tops of walls or, in the case of balconies, attaching them to railings.

3. Use lattice instead of walls

Building up your walls is always an option for more privacy, however, towering walls can make small spaces feel boxed in and can even block out that much-needed sunlight.

For a less intense alternative, consider lattice. This is a much cheaper solution that, when combined with the right climbers, can provide both privacy and even beauty.

Some of our favourite climbers include…

  • Ipomoea aka 'Heavenly Blue'
  • ‘Tidal Wave’ Petunias
  • Thunbergia Alata
  • Campsis aka ‘Trumpet Vine’
  • Honeysuckle
  • Climbing roses
  • Hydrangea

4. Hedge your bets

Hedges are the ideal way of creating walls through greenery. Try evergreens to get year-round privacy. These can even be potted and used on balconies, if you have the room to spare.

Alternatively, if you want a more space-friendly way to add a green screen, look into bamboo. It grows super fast and gets pretty tall, so a good shout for you small garden dwellers. However, just make sure you keep up with its maintenance. Likewise for your hedges, you might even find pruning quite fun if you get the hang of shaping!

5. Use your existing buildings to your advantage

When we’ve lived somewhere for a while, it can be easy to go a bit blind to its positives.

For instance, an existing structure might just be able to step up. You can tuck away your hideaways behind the wall of a garage or shed. Maybe even add in a patio that uses your home as a shield, perhaps even nestling a hammock down the side of your home.

6. Create your own soundscape

Lastly, let’s talk about an often forgotten part of the garden - sound.

If you’re finding noise from next door bothersome, you might think about creating your own soundscape to drown it out.

One of our favourite ways to do this is through a water feature. The trickle of moving water will not only help cover-up the sounds you’d rather not hear, but it’ll also help attract more wildlife, such as singing birds.

Plants are another way of generating garden music. Decorative grasses rustle softly in the wind, while aspens can also provide a pleasant quaking.

Water feature

Don't forget, sprucing up your garden is just one way you can create a happier space. To find out what other improvements you might consider, take our Happy Homes test and discover more practical tips on wellbeing-focused home design.

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