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Northwest Gardening: Privacy, Please!

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Discover the priceless value of seclusion in your yard. Here are five ideas to create screens and garden walls using potted plants, shrubs, and vines.

blue clematis on white trellis

By Marianne Binetti

Creating privacy in your garden retreat is as easy as putting up a trellis, establishing boundaries with walls, and screening the view with potted plants. Here are five ways to get privacy no matter how small your space.

1. Position a trellis with a vine as a focal point, then extend this outdoor wall with an evergreen hedge, like the arborvitae shown above. You can find several styles of freestanding trellis structures like this at Lowe’s, and they are simple to install. Once you position them to block a view, add a flowering vine, like the clematis I used here, or try a honeysuckle or sweet pea vine.

Tip: Vines you can cut back to the ground each year (such as clematis), or annuals (such as sweet peas), are best for small spaces, especially if you only need the screening during the summer, when you’re outdoors.

5 pots with grass on rock wall

2. Screen your patio with a simple stacked stonewall topped with pots of ornamental grass. This row of potted Miscanthus does the same job as a lacy curtain. It provides privacy but still allows sunlight and breezes into the space. 

block wall with 3 potted plants

3. It’s hip to be square — and easy to build a wall from square blocks. The see-through pattern of the blocks helps screen the carport from the sitting area without making it feel too boxed in.

Tip: A collection of pots in front of the block wall adds to the privacy. 

bamboo screen behind tree

4. Roll out this instant fence. Bamboo twigs are wired together and sold as shade structures, but they also can act as instant and inexpensive garden walls. I placed rebar stakes in the ground behind this screen, then secured the twiggy wall to the rebar supports using bits of wire. In my garden this fence hides a cement utility pad.

Tip: Although the fence lasted 3 years before decaying, you could lengthen its lifespan by storing it indoors for the winter.

brick wall, white hydrangea

5. Walls offer as much privacy as you like. Keep them solid for ultimate seclusion. Or leave a peekaboo window opening. This wall was inspired by Sissinghurst, a famous garden in England. The wall gives us privacy from the street but allows viewers to catch a glimpse of the garden in back. The window openings are filled with inexpensive aluminum trellis panels repurposed after their wooden frames began to rot.

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