How to Use Outdoor Privacy Screens

Outdoor Privacy Screen Ideas Guide

Blue 5 piece dining set next to white slatted screen

Privacy is important when designing your outdoor oasis, especially if you have nosey neighbors. While building a massive fence or stone wall around your property can keep your deck, porch or patio safe from prying eyes, there are plenty of easier, cheaper and chicer ways to achieve the same goal.

Overview

Need help coming up with some outdoor privacy screen ideas for your deck, patio or balcony? Check out this post for tips and information on:

Woman sitting on an outdoor sofa next to a white screen

A privacy screen can enhance the quiet, cozy vibe of your tranquil patio setup.

Why Use a Privacy Screen?

As the name suggests, privacy screens keep neighbors and passersby from peeking in on you while you sunbathe or enjoy private chats with friends on your patio. Screens also make convenient wind blockers on blustery days and can provide shade from unique angles that cantilever umbrellas may be unable to reach.

Wicker chair next to an outdoor fireplace and privacy wall

Depending on what material you use, a barrier or privacy screen can also be a spot to hang up and show off outdoor wall decor.

Types of Privacy Screens

Whether you’re working with a spacious terrace or a tiny balcony, there is a wide range of screens you can choose from to shield your patio layout from unwanted attention. Some of the most common outdoor privacy screen ideas for decks, patios and backyards include:

  • Wooden Planks: Many DIYers choose to build their own privacy screens out of reclaimed doors or spare planks of wood they have laying around their workshops. With this method, you can fashion a screen that suits the specific design and dimensions of your space. Also, solid wood materials like cedar and teak can add a natural element to your design.
  • Mesh Screens or Bed Sheets: One of the simplest solutions to a lack of outdoor privacy is to hang up a screen or a sheet. Both these options come with additional perks besides blocking your neighbor’s view. A mesh screen can keep flies and mosquitos from invading your patio space, while a large sheet can double as a projector screen for outdoor movie nights.
  • Trellises with Vines: For a more natural approach, consider a pergola or trellis with vines. While the structure encloses your patio and delivers the privacy you need, the foliage can offer some noise reduction for your outdoor conversations. Choose flowering vines to add an extra splash of color to the space.
  • Bamboo Fences: A bamboo screen is a unique alternative to a wooden privacy fence. This material is similar in strength to a solid wood structure but thin enough to maintain the open, breezy vibe of your outdoor oasis. Thanks to its lightweight design, a bamboo screen is also easy to roll up or take down whenever you want.
  • Small Trees and Potted Plants: Lush greenery can be a beautiful and effective privacy screen. Consider planting a tree with lots of leaves next to your porch between your and your neighbor’s house. Or, surround your patio with planters full of towering zebra grass, ferns and bamboo palms.
Gray 5 piece round dining set next to tall grass privacy wall

Even a garden box full of tall grass can protect your space from prying eyes.

How to Choose the Right Privacy Screen for You

Although one of these privacy screen options may seem perfect for your purposes, it could be the wrong choice for your patio. As such, there are a few things you’ll need to think about before you make a decision on what type of barrier or screen would work best for your deck, terrace or backyard.

Do You Rent Or Own Your Home?

If you rent your home, you may need to limit your privacy screen options to temporary fixtures depending on your lease agreement. Hanging a sheet over a clothing line, setting up potted plants or using portable fence panels may be your best bet if you live in an apartment. Meanwhile, homeowners have the freedom to attach or build permanent structures around their patios.

Gray rectangle dining table next to tall bushes

Those who own their homes can plant trees or bushes around their patios to serve as a natural privacy screen.

What DIY Skills Do You Have?

Thinking about building your own privacy screen? Designing the structure, choosing the right materials and putting the whole thing together can be more challenging than it seems. If you have experience making sturdy fixtures to add to your existing layout, go for it! Otherwise, you might want to consider an easier option like buying a screen.

How Big is Your Patio?

Your privacy screen options will vary depending on whether you’re working with a small patio or a large courtyard. Those with huge, sprawling yards may need to buy or build a massive structure to enclose the area. However, if you have a tiny two-story balcony, you’ll need to get creative and choose a space-saving screen for your limited layout.

Small patio with tall fence and ambient lighting

Larger patios may require a big wall or fence, but a simple sheet can suffice for smaller spaces.

Selecting a Screen to Suit Your Style

Your choice of privacy screen should complement your stylish setup while serving its practical purpose. Depending on what type of screen you decide to use, there are several colors, materials and designs to choose from. Shop around to discover a privacy screen that either complements your existing decor or puts a new spin on your current look.

White outdoor sectional next to tall brown privacy wall

Upgrade your patio with a chic and practical privacy screen.

Colorful Privacy Screens

Create some contrast in your patio palette by adding a screen of refreshing green plants or a soft orange sheet behind a gray outdoor sofa or beige loveseat. If you want to tone down a deck-top color scheme featuring a bright red dining table and vivid blue chairs, consider using light wood planks or neutral-colored portable fence panels.

Privacy Screen Materials and Styles

Looking for a screen that enhances the stylish atmosphere of your outdoor design? Build a rugged wooden screen to complement the rustic-style sofa and side tables on your back porch. Or, if you’re going for more of a breezy, coastal vibe, hang up a white sheet, a sheer curtain or a wall of bamboo reeds to help the colorful cushions on your wicker patio sectional pop.

Tan wicker sofa with colorful throw pillows next to white outdoor curtain

Privacy screens can be decorative as well as functional.

Whether you’re looking to enhance the stylish aesthetic of your patio or just want to shut out the world so you can relax outside, a privacy screen can do wonders for your outdoor design. Use the tips in this guide to create or bring home a screen that suits your unique tastes and gives you peace of mind.