These 7 privacy screen ideas are pretty, practical, and perfect for creating a secluded outdoor space

Create a chic, closed-off area with privacy screen ideas

Privacy screen ideas are useful. Here is a backyard decking area with an L-shaped light gay couch with white wooden legs, a light wooden table with bread, olives, and sunglasses on it, and a reddish brown patio screen
(Image credit: Danetti)

Utilizing smart privacy screen ideas is a great way to make your place feel intimate and cozy, even if you're surrounded by neighbors. 

We've asked design pros what kinds of screens you can use outdoors and why they make useful privacy additions. Whether you want to go boho with chic curtains or stay au naturel with living plants, there are plenty of options out there.

If you're looking for backyard privacy ideas and want to style your space with screens, we've got you covered with a real mixture of inspiration.

Sleek privacy screen ideas

For those searching for backyard ideas that will make your space pretty and private, these are sure to do the trick.

Our experts have recommended specific screens throughout, which we have curated with matching picks in case you want to get started on revamping your yard as soon as possible.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article. 

1. Wooden

A backyard decking area with an L-shaped light gay couch with white wooden legs, a light wooden table with bread, olives, and sunglasses on it, and a reddish brown patio screen and shrubbery behind it

(Image credit: Danetti)

You can’t go wrong with a classic, weather-resistant material such as wood, which is a timeless choice for any backyard.

“Wooden panels are a chic way to bring natural materials into your space in a contemporary way,” says Nina Lichtenstein, principal designer and founder of Nina’s Home Design.

She recommends choosing louvered ones (the ENCLO Screens Waverly Louvered Screen Kit from Walmart is weather resistant and includes joiner clips), as these have adjustable slats that can be tilted to control light and airflow.

You can also choose to paint most of these with weather-resistant paint to add a splash of color to your outdoor area. The Home Depot stocks a range out outdoor wood paints to get you started this weekend.

2. Curtains

A dark brown backyard area with a light brown sunlounger and chair with blue and pink throw pillows, a rattan storage basket, a white stool with a black tea pot, and a pergola above it with green leaves

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Fabric privacy screens are sophisticated choices that will transport you to a tropical island.

Nina suggests, “Hang colorful curtains or lightweight fabric panels on a freestanding frame to add a soft, romantic touch to your outdoor retreat.”

It’s a good idea to choose weather-resistant fabrics for outdoor applications, such as the Lushvida Curtains from Walmart which are waterproof and can be ironed for a crisp finish. You can also experiment with different patterns and textures to create a dynamic look.

3. Bamboo

A light bamboo wood screen with dark green leaves and a white tropical flower above it

(Image credit: Getty Images / Thurtell)

Take a walk on the wild side with bamboo fences, which let in fresh breezes but still give you plenty of privacy. 

“Bamboo has a warm, natural vibe that makes any outdoor area feel like a peaceful little retreat, even if you live in a busy city,” says Adrian Pedraza, design expert and founder of The California Home Buyer.

You can get different patterns and heights, which will allow you to control just how private you want the space to be. 

If you're looking for a versatile choice, the Backyard X-Scapes Bamboo Fencing from Walmart is pest-resistant, and can be shortened by cutting the poles. For those struggling with outdoor pests, finding out natural backyard pest solutions could come in handy, as well as the things that repel bugs, including citrus and lavender.

4. Live plants

A backyard with a dark brick wall with white hydrangeas hanging above it and leafy plants below it

(Image credit: Walmart)

One of our favorite natural choices is using live plants as pretty and elegant privacy screens.

“You can have vines climbing up, flowering bushes, or even a whole vertical garden wall around part of your yard,” Adrian suggests. "Not only is it beautiful to look at, but it also helps purify the air and make the space feel extra calm and relaxing.”

Hydrangeas remains popular, and the Spring Hill Nurseries Climbing Hydrangeas from Walmart above are easy to grow and long-lived. Make note if the ones you're planning on buying are perennial (regrow every year) or not to make your efforts worth it.

If you do go for this option, you may want to learn how to take care of hydrangeas and find out where to plant hydrangeas in your garden.

5. Frosted glass

A frosted glass screen with green grass strands behind it

(Image credit: Getty Images / Howard Pugh (Marais))

Achieve a modern and sleek look in your backyard — even if you’re looking for small backyard ideas — by bringing in frosted glass privacy screens. 

“These translucent panels allow light to filter through while obscuring the view, creating a sense of privacy without compromising on natural illumination,” Nina says. “Install frosted glass screens around pools, decks, or outdoor dining areas for a sophisticated touch.”

Worried glass might be too breakable? Instead, you could opt for the e-Joy Polycarbonate Panel from Wayfair which is weather and UV-resistant, plus can be used on roofs and as a standalone panel. It's also cheaper and stronger than fibreglass, which is commonly used.

6. Metal

A dark brown metal privacy screen with a matching circular fire pit next to it and a green leafy bush in front of it

(Image credit: Stark & Greensmith LTD)

Metal privacy screens featuring intricate patterns or geometric designs can add sparkle and shine to your backyard.

Nina explains, “These screens are not only functional but also serve as striking architectural elements that can redefine the aesthetics of your space.”

She advises choosing weather-resistant outdoor materials like Corten steel or aluminum (the ALPHAWIN Outdoor Privacy Screen from Amazon is six foot and can be wiped clean with a dry cloth). It's made from aluminum, which is lightweight, flexible and low-maintenance.

7. DIY

A light wooden lattice privacy screen with green bushes woven through the holes

(Image credit: Getty Images / Jennifer A Smith)

Even if you’re on a budget, you can still create your own privacy screens by getting creative.

“Get into DIY privacy screen projects using reclaimed materials such as old doors, pallets, or salvaged wood,” Nina says. "Upcycle these materials into custom-made partitions or folding screens that add character and personality to your space."

Customize the finish with paint, stains, or decorative elements such as garden lighting ideas (the Addlon Outdoor String Lights from Amazon are energy-saving and shatterproof) to suit your style.

The possibilities for creative privacy screens are endless — from rustic natural looks to super modern styles. 

“The key is finding something that fits your style and gives you just the right amount of privacy you need,” Adrian finishes by saying. “Outdoor spaces are part of your home, so with some clever screening, you can turn them into your oasis away from the busy outside world.”

If you live in an apartment and only have a little outdoor space to work with, balcony privacy ideas specifically may come in handy.

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.