Privacy on a Budget: Affordable Ways to Block Your Neighbors’ View

By Victoria Marsh
home exterior

One of the biggest factors in the quality of your home life is privacy.

Even if we have the friendliest of neighbors, the thought of prying eyes while you’re holding a party or relaxing in your backyard can be an uncomfortable one. When your neighbors have a nice view of your property, you can feel like you’re living in a fishbowl.

Privacy is a must, but it can also be a premium. Not everyone has the budget for expensive wall fixtures or stone structures. Are there cheap ways to block the neighbors’ view of your home?

How Can I Get Privacy Without a Fence? Is It Even Possible?

For most homeowners, fences are the first line of defense against the prying eyes of neighbors. However, it can be a costly home improvement project. A typical fence installation can cost $1,500 to $3,000, with most homeowners spending about $1,800. New fences can cost from $2,000 to $9,000 for an acre. The total price depends on the length and height of the fence, as well as the materials used.

If you’re on a budget, installing a staggered horizontal fence or any fence isn’t an option. But there are affordable ways to block out your neighbors’ view minus the fence. All it takes is some creativity, patience and a bit of hunting in your local home depots.

Cheap Ways to Block Your Neighbors’ View

“How do I block my neighbors’ view without breaking the bank?” is a common question homeowners-on-a-budget ask. If this is you, here are some affordable front yard privacy ideas.

Outdoor Screens

home with a fence
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Using outdoor screens while you’re lounging outside is an easy, simple and affordable way to prevent nosey neighbors from poking into your business. These screens are sheets of cloth mounted on metallic stands. They are also quite portable, so you can easily move and place them wherever you want, either in the patio or the backyard.

Outdoor screens are foldable too, so you can just fold them and store them away after each use.

There are different types of screens available, such as outdoor privacy deck screens. Made of mesh, these outdoor screens let air flow through your area but block the neighbors’ view of your front yard. Perfect for your privacy needs and your budget!

Use Plants for Privacy from Neighbors

  • Trees and Shrubs Another rule of thumb when it comes to affordable privacy ideas: use your plants for privacy from neighbors. For instance, fast-growing shrubs and trees can keep your business out of your neighbors’ nose. Trees and shrubs are privacy options since you can plant them by yourself and save more money (compared to when you hire a professional landscaper). All you have to do is dig, pour some dirt and plant a tree. Trees are readily available at affordable market prices, compared to fence options. However, if you choose to plant a tree, you need to be patient since they take time to grow and thrive. There are trees (e.g. arborvitaes) that can grow after a few years. Your patience will pay off; you’ll improve your home’s privacy as well as your backyard space.
  • Cascading Landscapes. Initially, it sounds like an expensive idea, but it is one of the most affordable ways to block your neighbors’ view. These cascading landscapes are easy DIY projects that you can achieve with materials you find at home. The multilevel designs of cascading landscapes showcase the beauty of your plants. The terraces work to your advantage because they add space to your yard and improve your outdoor décor with lighting, vases and other items. Keep in mind that this DIY project requires patience, muscle and advice from your local professional landscaper.
  • Hanging plants. Hanging your greeneries achieve two goals with one task. It showcases your taste for beautiful plants while blocking the view of any outsider. Another benefit of hanging greeneries is your neighbors will not know the reason for the hanging plants. They might think you’re just updating your yard but really, you’re improving your yard’s privacy. One of the best things about hanging plants is that it frees up space for more outdoor activities like grilling and lounging. You can use the additional space for more outdoor décor items or furniture in the patio.
  • Privet hedge. This affordable privacy landscaping idea provides year-round privacy and screening. They are also not often restricted by local ordinances. If your yard’s space is tight, a sheared privet hedge or columnar evergreens easily block sightlines out of kitchen windows or separate adjoining yards. To plant a hedge, make a channel that is two feet wide and space singular bushes. Bring the soil up to the tank. Keep your privet hedge healthy by watering it often and using a dribble water system.
  • Super-sized planters. Flowers aren’t just pretty to look at; they are another affordable way to improve your backyard’s privacy. Block out your nosy neighbor’s view by buying huge flower vases and planters. Planters that are arranged in a row along with your neighbors’ view offer a bit of privacy. But if you compliment the planters with flowers, you get 100 percent privacy. Flowers do get bushy fast so remember to trim them often to avoid overhanging your neighbor’s property.

Outdoor Curtains

One of the best cheap ways to block your neighbors’ view is hanging outdoor curtains. These curtains are always available at interior décor stores and often come at affordable market prices. On top of that, they are easy to install. All you have to do is hang curtain rails on sturdy rods that cover the patio.

For additional support, erect wooden bars. This is a great idea since it offers full privacy and you can always fold the curtains if you don’t need privacy.

Chicken Wire Privacy Screen

Using chicken wires to create a DIY fence is a quick and easy way to add a privacy screen. To improve your privacy or add some décor to your yard (or both!), grow some twigs or climbers or cover it all to block your neighbors’ view without breaking the bank.

Creative DIY Fences

In some areas, building tall fences or garden installations are not allowed. However, within your yard, you can still build tall structures by getting a little creative. For example, do you have plenty of opaque plastic bottles at home? Turn those bottles into a privacy screen.

Cut the bottom of your plastic bottles and singe the rough edges to make the bottles look cleaner and smoother. If the bottoms you cut off look like flowers, assemble them in a bottle as flowers on a string. Hang the finished product on a wooden structure for support.

Why is Privacy in the Home Important?

Privacy should not be a premium for any homeowner. No matter what your budget is, privacy should be a priority.

Think of it this way: the more someone knows about you, the more power they can have over you. This means that the more your neighbors or outsiders know about your home, the more they can have control over it. Privacy at home also creates boundaries to help you relax and keep your family’s business out of your neighbors’ way. By establishing privacy, you can easily set social boundaries without the interference of others.

Improving your home’s privacy need not be a pricey improvement project. With a little creativity and plenty of patience, you can keep your home private and your budget intact.

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