23 fence ideas for privacy in your yard

Use fence ideas for privacy to create a secluded outdoor space

Backyard with wooden dining table and wooden fence
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Great fence ideas for privacy can do so much for your outdoor space — creating areas for socializing and even helping you grow climbing plants in your front or backyard.

Whether you want a traditional rustic look, a more subtle, natural design, or a modern metal finish for a flash of contemporary cool, there are plenty of choices for fence styles and materials out there. 

Just decide which best suits your needs, taste, and budget. Then, all you need to do is install the very best garden furniture in your outdoor space, and you're good to go for summer.

The best fence ideas for privacy

A key feature of landscaping a yard, a fence will go a long way in keeping your outdoor space private, stylish, and protected from (most) wildlife intruders...

1. Solid timber fencing

An urban backyard with white stone patio, lawn, and horizontal wood fence, and garden furniture at the bottom of the yard

(Image credit: Todd Haiman Landscape Design)

To mark rear garden boundaries, solid timber fencing, such as closeboard or lap panel, is best for privacy. Closeboard, also known as feather edge, is composed of vertical feather-edged boards fitted to a sturdy frame of posts and horizontal rails, while lap fencing, also known as waney or overlap fencing, is made from waney-edge boards that are partially overlapped and fitted horizontally onto a timber frame.

Understanding different types of fencing is important to the overall success of your garden design — make sure the fencing type you've chosen works for your backyard style. 

2. A slatted wooden fence

A tiled patio with tropical plants in pots and a slatted fence

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Slatted designs still increase privacy and make great patio ideas for more contemporary yard spaces. Accessorize and increase privacy further with tall, colorful planting around your fence to create a cool and very liveable section of your outdoor space. 

3. Reinforce with trees

a cute backyard with green lawn, deck and blossoming plum tree, and wood fences

(Image credit: Future + Centaur Archives)

If your fence isn't tall enough for the privacy that you require, try planting a few tall trees around the border. These will help block the view over the areas you'd like hidden. Plus, they'll grow for years and get taller, creating even more privacy.

4. Tall panels

An outdoor dining area with tall paneled borders with trees and a building in the background

(Image credit: Future + Ti Archive)

If your yard is all about outdoor living then creating convivial zones that feel really relaxed and secluded is the right way to go. The dark vertical panels fence off this dining area perfectly and, the dark stain creates a gorgeous atmospheric backdrop beyond those tall trees, helping it all blend into the landscape.

You can pick up vinyl fence paneling from Wayfair for total privacy.

5. Go with a garden trellis for zoning

A backyard seating area with trellis and climbing plants, with a table and chair set with a jug of drink on it

If you want to screen off different areas within your yard, then strength and privacy won’t be as paramount, and you can afford to use a fence design that is less solid and more pretty. Traditional square or lattice trellis ideas are good choices for zoning, particularly for sectioning off a separate sanctuary area without blocking out sunlight. What’s more, it’s great for growing climbing plants against to create a living wall. Alternatively, slatted screening can be used as a garden fence for a more contemporary backdrop.

6. Make your garden fencing a design feature

A dark brown paneled fence with ornate gate with a green garden beyond

Treat your garden fence as you would a feature wall in the home to add interest as well as privacy to vertical space. This could mean painting a section of it in a bold color or using a patterned panel to create a focal point, as above. Explore garden screening ideas that really emphasize beautiful patterns and good materials for maximum effect. 

7. Pick a pretty picket

A white picket fence built around a large vegetable garden

(Image credit: J Montgomery Designs)

Picket-style garden fencing provides a barrier, without cutting off your plot from the outside world.  The low height invites interaction, while the gaps between pales give a glimpse of the garden beyond. This type of fencing design is great for sectioning off a vegetable patch for protection from pets and children. For increased privacy, grow a hedge behind the garden fence or allow climbers to tangle between the rails.

This simple no-dig vinyl picket fence from Wayfair is really simple to install.

8. Wicker fencing

A vegetable garden with hazel woven fencing

If you've got a thriving kitchen garden going, then add a little structure around it for better wind and even pest protection. Choose a fence material that is in keeping with nature, like woven hurdle fencing that is usually made from willow or hazel to give a beautiful rustic look to a yard. It's also cheap and super practical, as it can be shaped to fit curved boundaries, and its open structure makes it wind-resistant.

9. Woven panels

A woven oak fence with flower beds in a large backyard

If you are looking for full-height garden fence ideas, woven panels can provide strength and will protect plants from harsh winds, while letting sunlight through. Note that they are very appealing to climbing plants that may use the weave to anchor their tendrils. This fence design can be used to create a lovely living wall, but take care that the panels do not get damaged over time. 

10. Metal fencing panels

A weathered steel panel fence with flowers in front of it

The industrial look of this fence design works really well for period properties. Add an edge to a garden of pretty meadow flowers with a hardwearing metal fence. There are plenty to choose from, but we like cut-out designs that won't look too heavy in a traditional scheme. This patterned privacy screen from Wayfair makes a strong statement.

11. Build a boundary with climbing plants

Wild roses growing against a white trellis fence

(Image credit: jcarroll-images / Getty)

Barely-there wire trellis can be used in vertical gardening to support a number of climbers including favorites like roses and clematis. While you may not want to use this fencing design for the external boundaries of your garden, it can help break your garden up into different areas and maximize the planting potential of your plot.

12. Iron railings

An iron railings fence in a residential backyard, with a pink house beyond

(Image credit: mirsad sarajlic / Getty)

Wrought iron railings are another garden fence idea that is frequently used as part of front yard landscaping ideas, to create a boundary that looks imposing from a security point of view, without blocking the view of the home. They are strong, can be painted in any color, are sure to keep the dog and kids secure, and finally, they require little maintenance. This black metal fencing from Wayfair really captures the traditional look.

13. Build a living wall

A backyard with tiled fountain, lots of blue and black seating, and a living wall

(Image credit: J Montgomery Designs)

While not strictly speaking a fence, you can create a beautiful natural boundary with a retaining wall made from vertical oak sleepers. This fencing design will form a raised bed of sorts that can be planted with tall grasses for height, or low herbs and shrubs.

You can also build a very easy living wall with privet or box hedge, as in this exquisite example by J Montgomery Designs

14. Mix slatted and solid fencing

dark slatted fencing in a patio area

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you have a small patio that faces a busy street or driveway, you can make it more private by surrounding it with tall fencing, one of the most private fence ideas. The trick is not to go for solid fencing on all sides, to prevent an overly severe or boxed-in look. Instead, use a combination of slatted fencing that lets the light through, along with a panel of solid fencing where you need the most privacy.

15. Create a private corner nook with your fencing

A white and bright backyard corner seating area with a painted fence, a built-in corner sofa, and a blue coffee table

(Image credit: The London Gardener Ltd)

One of the most versatile fence ideas for privacy, a corner seating area can be styled in many different ways. From painted designs fences to attractive natural wood designs like this one by The London Gardener, a corner fence is your opportunity to create a private outdoor living space that's exactly to your taste. 

16. Grow flowering shrubs through your fence

A backyard with trellis fence and white hydrangea poking through, and a black seating area set on stoney gravel

(Image credit: Ronni Hock Garden & Landscape)

To achieve a soft and organic look, always combine hard fencing with green fencing. Climbing plants like jasmine and clematis are obvious candidates for growing up a fence, but we also really like the white hydrangea peeking through a lattice fence in this romantic design by Ronni Hock Garden & Landscape.


Which wood is best for garden fencing panels?

Cedar is the ideal choice of timber for most fence ideas, but as pressure-treated pine is more affordable, it might be preferred and can be just as effective if well cared for. 

When you choose timber, remember to check how it has been treated. Fencing is commonly either dip-treated (where the wood is immersed in preservative), or pressure-treated where it is also treated with preservative but dried first. This is longer lasting but comes with a higher price tag.

Plastic and vinyl can be useful for total privacy. It's lightweight, easy to install, and usually pretty budget-friendly. But it's not the most environmentally friendly option. 

Metal fencing is sturdy and lasts a long time but it can rust over time. It's also quite heavy and usually more expensive. 

What can I put up instead of a fence?

"Walls are the obvious option to fences, but they do cost more," says Swift. "The other traditional option is to plant a hedge, but that will take years to establish. Shade netting is another option. This relies on sturdy posts or poles to keep the netting in place. It can work visually but isn’t a good option for safety or security."

Pippa is Style Editor for Period Living magazine and spends many a weekend exploring the Cotswolds for decorating shoot ideas. A collector at heart, she is currently looking for a vintage cabinet to store her favourite wares.