Unless you are an unreformable exhibitionist, you need some cheap ways to block your neighbor’s view. Of your house, your deck, your yards.
Not that you ever plan anything inappropriate. But as we all know – stuff happens – like doing the Macarena in the garden. And just the idea of someone playing voyeur or peeping Tom can be a little inhibiting.
But no worries! We have put together a list of ideas you can use to get some privacy.
Cheap privacy. Quickly!
Then let us proceed!
- What Are the Best Cheap Ideas to Block Your Neighbor’s View?
- How Can I Block My Neighbor’s View?
- Best Tree and Hedge Plantings to Block Your Neighbor’s View
- Fast-Growing Privacy Hedges
- Landscaping for Privacy
- What is the Cheapest Privacy Fence?
- Patio and Deck Privacy
What Are the Best Cheap Ideas to Block Your Neighbor’s View?
We are about to discuss many privacy ideas. Privacy hedges and cheap wooden fences are our favorite methods. But first – conduct your homework!
Before planning your privacy fence, berm, or hedge, check your local building codes and regulations. Having to tear it down because it is too tall, too close, contains unworthy materials, or whatever is annoying, expensive, and time-consuming.
(Worst of all – your nosey neighbor will watch as you tuck your tail and remove whatever privacy apparatus you erected. And your busybody neighbor will probably overlook with pleasure!)
How Can I Block My Neighbor’s View?
A fence is one of the first things that comes to mind. Not only will a fence provide privacy, but it will also keep your pets and other critters out. Fences are usually the quickest option! But not necessarily the cheapest.
Before just biting the bullet and building the fence, it is a good idea to approach all the neighbors involved to try to have them contribute financially to the fence project. (If they want to help – even better. Unless they are tool-challenged.)
Here’s a quick note! A solid fence will also provide soundproofing – reducing party, lawnmower, and traffic noise.
Best Tree and Hedge Plantings to Block Your Neighbor’s View
Planting trees and hedges is one of the best ways to ensure privacy. Unfortunately, it is also one of the slowest. Even fast-growing plants will take a year or two to establish themselves.
Plantings are invariably the most satisfactory privacy screen for those with a pittance of patience. You will attract birds and other wildlife. And give yourself calm, peaceful, and beautiful views.
The Thuja Green Giant Evergreen
The Thuja Green Giant will grow three to five feet per year. And in ideal conditions, they can reach 20 feet high in three years. As you can see from the picture, it is thick and bushy right to the ground – which is perfect for privacy. It eliminates the need to plant shrubs that close off the bottom between the ground level and lower branches.
Evergreen trees retain their foliage year-round, so the privacy lasts through the winter.
Aspens (poplar) and willows are some of the fastest-growing trees. The Lombardy poplar (pictured below) can grow eight to ten feet yearly and survive minus 30 C temperatures.
As a privacy screen, it has two drawbacks. The tree is deciduous, so it loses its leaves every winter. And the bottom six to eight feet are bare of branches and leaves – defeating at least some of the purpose.
In some locations and situations, Lombardy Poplar trees can be an advantage. Such as if your neighbor’s house is a two-story or their house is uphill from yours. You can also plant a thick hedge along the base of the trees. Or consider planting the trees in an existing privacy hedge.
Fast-Growing Privacy Hedges
Fast-growing hedges are perfect for occupying empty spaces around leggy trees like maples or aspens. Or they can become your privacy hedge without any other plantings.
The American Arborvitae is an excellent all-around evergreen privacy hedge. It is insanely cold-hardy. It grows upright about one to two feet per year. It performs markedly very well in an urban environment. One downside is that it attracts deer. On the other hand, if you enjoy venison and need to protect your property – maybe it’s not a downside! 🙂
English Laurel (Cherry Laurel)
English Laurel grows up to three feet per year. It is one of the best and fastest-growing privacy hedges. Although it is mildly cold-resistant, it does not grow well in the northern United States. It can easily double as a fence because of the rough impenetrable growth.
This laurel has glossy broadleaf evergreen leaves instead of needles. Deer are not in the least interested in nibbling on its leaves.
Bamboo Privacy Hedge
Even though some species grow to 100 feet tall, bamboo is grass. It is one of the fastest-growing plants on earth. There are reports of some species growing 36 inches in 24 hours. You can probably cultivate a bamboo privacy hedge faster than you can build a fence.
Here’s another note. Some species are very invasive. Be careful of what you buy! Look for clumping varieties – not runners. Runners are excellent for erosion control, by the way, but you do need a large amount of space to grow them. They can spread through a huge amount of land.
Clumping varieties come in all shapes and sizes, from small dwarf types that grow to 6ft tall to gigantic varieties that grow as tall as 200ft. Many varieties have edible shoots and are excellent animal forage.
Bamboo is a very versatile privacy fence product. After you grow it for a season, you can cut it and dry it. Then build all types of cheap fences. The price of lumber should make growing bamboo lumber very attractive.
Landscaping for Privacy
Building berms or tiered gardens will also help increase your privacy – if you have the room, time, and money. Most people want a privacy wall of at least six feet. In other words, an all-dirt berm will require an 18-foot base and a significant retaining wall.
Most urban yards are not big enough to build a six-foot high berm. If you have some natural high spots on your property, you can leverage them to plant trees or hedges along the top – giving your plant privacy hedge a head start.
Berms in the yard or garden do not require thick, heavy, or tall plantings to provide privacy to the house and yard. They also take advantage of natural rises in the ground.
The picture below shows a yard using different privacy ideas. They have built a tiered garden with a massive cypress hedge to follow the existing terrain. Then added a sturdy stone wall and some plantings.
Privacy screens – like this Sunnyglade product available from Amazon are an inexpensive solution for an existing chain link fence. It comes 50 feet long – and four feet, five feet, or six feet high for around a dollar per linear foot. It’s available in five colors and comes with zip ties and grommets for easy installation.
Also, consider the following! Privacy screens can also be installed on new chain link fencing – saving the cost and hassle of using slats.
Privacy screens will also work on other types of fence or frame material. And depending on the various types of products involved, you may have to consider alternative fasteners. Screws or nails with washers. Large crown staples. Strips of wood with the product sandwiched against the fence material.
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What is the Cheapest Privacy Fence?
Generally, a plant-based privacy fence is the least expensive. Seeds are cheap. But, quite often, a combination of ideas is the most effective – fence and plants, hill and plants, lattice and plants. There are likely hundreds of cheap fence ideas that have gotten used. And countless more to consider. What about worn-out solar panels? Maybe?
How creative are you? And what types of cheap or free products can you access? I work in the construction industry, which lets me get my hands on all kinds of wood, steel, doors, shutters, etc. You may know someone.
You may hear of someone tearing down a building or fence. Offer to do it for free – in exchange for being able to salvage the wood, steel siding, or vinyl siding. (I finished the outside and inside of our first chicken barn with salvaged vinyl siding. And the siding is mercifully easy to hose down!)
Wood fence designs are almost innumerable, but two of the most basic indeed work best for privacy. They are vertical plank and horizontal plank fences. Yes, the wood will probably shrink over time, but unless your neighbor has their eye pressed to the crack, you needn’t worry.
Building a wood fence is an excellent DIY project and provides a great excuse for drinking lots of beer on hot days. For more how-to tips, please see this article from WikiHow about how to build a wood fence.
Lattice, Trellis, and Plant Privacy
Lattice is available in various designs and sizes. It is made of different types of wood and also vinyl. Lattice by itself makes a good privacy wall. If you use it for supporting climbing plants such as Morning Glories, parts of your yard, patio, or deck will end up screened from prying eyes. Another great advantage is that the four-foot by eight-foot sheets attached to a six-foot fence give you an extra two feet of height without breaking any building codes.
The Door Fence
Almost any prolific home renovation company replaces lots of doors. Most of them go to the dump unless you show up weekly to cart them off. Door fences are a very inexpensive artsy privacy fence. As a bonus, it will annoy the neighbor who refused to share costs.
Recycled Wood Fence
If you have access to an old wood fence or old buildings that are coming down, you have the perfect opportunity to recycle some interesting-looking wood. All you need to buy is the posts, framing, and fasteners.
Be creative with height, width, and thickness. If you like the look of aged silver-gray wood, this is the fence for you.
Chain Link Fence
When we hear the term chain link fence, most homesteaders have a vision of the commercial wire fencing around our schools. Not so much anymore. Chain link is available with multiple colors and styles of slats that fit in the wire and provide privacy and serenity. We imagine everything from plain white slats to artificial evergreen slats.
Privacy screens (see the section above) are a quick and inexpensive way to keep the neighbor’s prying eyes out of your yard. They got designed for use with chain link fencing. New or existing.
Chain link steel posts need to get poured into concrete. As with most construction projects, plumb, level, and square produce a better result.
The fencing comes in premade sections or rolls. The premade sections are easier to install but more expensive. When using rolls, ensure you tighten the wire before attaching it to the rails and posts.
Patio and Deck Privacy
Not everyone wants or needs privacy for the entire backyard. Instead, many homesteaders find that the deck and patio are the highest priority for privatization. It is much easier and cheaper to deal with these small areas than in an increasingly enclosed yard. Here are some of the options you can consider.
- Potted plants around the edge of the area with tall plants such as decorative grasses add lovely and vivacious privacy.
- Canopies or gazebos that fit your patio/deck. These are available from Amazon in all sizes and styles – including with and without curtains or screens. (Note: Bolt these things down. They can do surprising damage when they blow off the deck.)
- Curtains. If you are fortunate enough to have a roof over your deck, you can buy curtain rods and add indoor or outdoor curtains.
- More expensive options include sunrooms and screen rooms. You can order rooms with tinted glass and hang curtains inside for as much or as little privacy as you desire.
We know that homesteading isn’t easy these days.
And – it’s even more arduous when you have sneaky neighbors watching your every move!
We hope you enjoyed reading our list of cheap ideas to block your neighbor’s view.
If you have additional tips on preventing nosey neighbors from peeking and leering? We would love to hear them!
Thanks so much for reading.
And – have a great day!