10 landscaping privacy ideas for an all-natural, secluded space

Design a secret garden of your dreams with these landscaping privacy ideas that blend in with your outdoor space

Outdoor seating area
(Image credit: Dobbies)

Make use of landscaping privacy ideas to create a timeless and more natural concealed retreat. Whether you have a modern backyard or a traditional garden, creating landscaping for privacy with natural materials will define and conceal an area sympathetically and isn’t as expensive as it sounds. 

Budget-friendly and carefully positioned trees or shrubs will ensure your garden is not overlooked. Or, if you have some budget to blow, permanent structures and zoned areas will define and carve out long-standing, shielded spaces to enjoy. 

Knowing how to improve privacy in your garden with landscaping ideas will ensure your garden is the ideal place to escape and enjoy the outdoors away from curious neighbors or unsightly views. 

10 landscaping privacy ideas

When searching for backyard ideas for privacy consider the situations you wish to obscure your garden from to determine the options. For instance, a trellis with beautiful climbers will shield you from distractions on the same level but if you are over-looked from above perhaps a structure with a roof is required. 

Whether you are looking for subtle obscurity or total secrecy these landscaping ideas for privacy are key.

1. Sink an area

Sunken backyard seating area

(Image credit: RHS / Sarah Cuttle)

Playing with levels in your garden not only adds depth and feature points but stepping down into a new enclosed space can offer a new and intriguing outdoor garden room. 

A sunken dining terrace framed with well-planted beds will create a cozy and intimate, wow-factor space. Or, for an alternative sunken garden idea, why not build sloped beds on either side of a garden staircase to lead down to a secluded dropped lawn? 

“Most people may dream of having a flat garden, but uneven ground can be a huge advantage if you are trying to add some privacy to it,” explains Robert Quinton, owner of Construction Megastore.

“If you have a slope, use it to your advantage and create raised beds or sunken seating areas, as these add a sense of seclusion and mystery.”

2. Plant trees

Outdoor dining table and chairs

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Trees create wonderful focal points in gardens that draw the eye and add character and dimension. They serve many purposes such as providing pretty colorful blossoms in the spring, shade during the summer months and a fruit harvest come fall. 

If your aim is for trees to hide an unsightly view or create privacy an evergreen such as a conifer will keep up the facade all year round.

Before you select larger trees, ensure you are aware of their mature height and plant away from any structural foundations. A potted tree may be a better option if you're looking for a smaller investment.

3. Choose hedges and shrubs

Outdoor seating area

(Image credit: RHS / Tim Sandall)

When looking for small garden ideas, bushy plants like shrubs make a practical privacy-making alternative to trees.

Growing hedges are a traditional and organic option for creating garden boundaries and boosting privacy in outdoor spaces. When trimmed regularly this soft-scape fence option will create a low-maintenance living wall in its original form. Wildlife will flock to these dense, safe, and private habitats which is another bonus.

4. Go for grasses and ferns

Beige outdoor seating area

(Image credit: OKA)

Urban and city gardens are arguably plots in most need of landscaping for privacy ideas. Ornamental grasses and ferns make a well-suited choice in contemporary spaces as their lush color and striking structure complement the vibe.

“In front of a hedge or a fence, position trees, ornamental grasses, or shrubs for more screening and they will also add depth to your garden,” explains Tom Clifford, a landscaping expert from Gardenstone.

“For privacy that lasts all year round, be sure to use evergreen plants.”

Pampas grasses produce masses of protruding pale-toned plumes that dance in the breeze, while large ferns and tree ferns offer fans of rich-toned, green leaves, adding contrasting color to a concrete courtyard. 

5. Grow a living wall

Outdoor garden with dining table

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Suburban gardens and city quarters will benefit from a sophisticated living wall.  

The focal point feature will provide vertical color and texture so is practical for small terraces and compact patios.

When researching how to grow a living wall you’ll see a good quality hardscape framework made from metal, timber, or even brick will provide speedy results. Meaning with the right plant choice and TLC your living wall will establish and thrive for years to come. 

“A living wall will need to be planted more densely than a normal garden bed, and ensure that you are using shallow-rooted plants that will be able to thrive in the restricted space,” advises Tom.

6. Train climbers

Rose garden with seating

(Image credit: Lee Clapp)

Climbing plants add a whole new dimension to outdoor spaces. Their vertical growth path can help disguise and uplift less attractive privacy solutions such as garden walls and fences. Clematis, honeysuckle, wisteria, and are all true climbers that rapidly cover surfaces. Support and train your plants to grow where privacy is needed. 

These flowering plants are authentic favorites that have created living walls in classic and cottage gardens for hundreds of years so why break with tradition? 

7. Include a pergola

Outdoor dining table and chairs

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Pergolas are a timeless garden classic that makes a sophisticated focal point no matter what size the garden. Built as a sturdy frame they make a practical garden investment that creates shade, shelter, and all-important seclusion. 

Made from wood, metal, or upcycled materials, there are many pergola ideas to embellish and highlight the striking structure which will then enhance the privacy factor. 

Plant climbers on the bases and drape the rafters with festoon lights. Additional colored lanterns will layer up a beautiful backdrop for dreamy alfresco dining. 

8. Incorporate arches

Garden with plant arches

(Image credit: RHS / Clive Nicols)

Simple arches can enhance the concealment of a garden especially if there is more than one. When showcased with climbing plants an arch will define an entrance, create a walkway, and frame a space with intriguing dimensions.

A delightful cottage garden idea to create privacy is to install a row of garden arches, and then train climbing roses to ramble up the framework of each, the feature will make the most romantic statement. 

Or, sweet-smelling and evergreen Jasmine species will keep arches covered throughout winter in modern landscaped gardens.

9. Install an outbuilding

Outdoor dining table and chairs

(Image credit: Dobbies)

A garden room or summer house is a useful landscaping idea for privacy as the investment also provides space to shelter, work, and socialize. 

Build in a discreet area of the garden to transform your summerhouse into a top-secret hide-out and outdoor retreat. 

10. Think tropical

Outdoor seating area

(Image credit: Caffelatte / Architecture IC)

Tropical plants look super luxurious in larger gardens and have the advantage of growing huge leaves to obscure spaces from view. 

Turn your garden into an exclusive urban jungle by planting large palms in a row that will fan out and screen as they grow. Then, pepper their bases with smaller ferns to offer a double layer of exotic tropical landscaping and garden privacy. 


 What are the best tall trees for garden privacy? 

 According to King & Co. The Tree Nursery, the best fence trees suited to creating a natural landscaped privacy screen are:  

  •  Leylandii (Cupressocyparis Leylandii), kept under control
  •  Laurel Trees (Prunus Laurocerasus)
  •  Holm Oak Tree sor Holly Oak Trees (Quercus Ilex)
  •  Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys Aurea) and Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys Nigra)

Planning and implementing landscape ideas for privacy will ensure your garden will be secluded and intimate in the most natural form that seems effortless to garden guests and neighbors.

But, if you are looking for an instant solution to hide your backyard from onlookers, there are some excellent quick-fix ways to boost block-out levels. Take a look at these privacy screen ideas.