It’s wonderful when you have a backyard garden or gorgeous deck or patio where you can go out and relax or have quality time with family or friends. However, you may want to consider outdoor privacy panels to ensure you have enough privacy to sit back, relax, and unwind after a long day. Creative privacy panels do a great job of allowing the world to see how unique your area is while giving you valuable privacy.
As a bonus, your outdoor privacy panels don’t have to be hugely expensive. You can fit them into virtually any budget, and you can DIY a lot of them if you want to save even more money and have pride in what the finished product looks like. No matter if you live in a huge city, smaller suburb, or out in the woods, outdoor privacy panels are a must-have in your yard or garden.
If you’re curious and looking for some inspiration with your outdoor privacy panels, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of fun and functional outdoor privacy panels, and you can see which ones will work well with your space below.
1. Foldable Wood and Mesh Panels
If you want something more portable for your outdoor privacy panels, this is a good idea. All you’ll need to pull it off is enough wood to create panels to your chosen height and width, thick mesh fabric, staples, hinges, nails, nail gun, and screws. To start, decide how large you’d like each panel to be. Measure and cut your wood to fit the rectangular frame dimensions. You’ll need at least four pieces of wood to complete the frame. Get your nails and nail gun and put your frame together.
You can apply a coat of stain if you’d like to seal them. Next, get out your mesh and measure the open space inside each frame. Measure and cut your mesh to match, allowing for a few inches on each edge to give you enough room to fold it over and staple it to the frame. This will create a panel. When you finish your panels, attach at least two hinges to one side of one panel, and attach the other side to another panel. They’ll end up in a row, and you can position them however you like.
2. Plant Landscape Edging
Anyone who has a little patience and a green thumb can create this living outdoor privacy panel by planting landscape edging. Ideally, you’ll get evergreen options to ensure they’re alive and full all year-round, no matter what the weather is. Shrubs and smaller trees are good ideas, just make sure you give them enough space to grow without leaving awkward gaps that you have to go back and fill in later.
Double-check that any plants you pick out for this outdoor privacy screen are compatible with your planting zones. They should also be low-maintenance. Some will require a little pruning to keep them looking neat, but this is a small price to pay for getting a tall and thick hedge. Boxwood is very popular, and it comes in several heights. You can even shape it to create a custom-looking hedge. Some are even thick enough to act like a pseudo fence and not allow anyone or any animals to slip through easily.
Hedge House by www.moritzbernoully.com / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
3. Branch Natural Screen
Anyone who is on a tight budget can appreciate this outdoor privacy panel idea. You will need to be able to find similar-sized branches that match the width of your chosen panel design, but this can be relatively easy if you can take a short hike in the woods around your home. Try to get slightly smaller and thin tree branches if you can to help create a uniform look, and the smaller branches will be easier to affix to the cross beams when it comes time to assemble it.
You’ll need three cross beams per outdoor privacy panel, depending on how wide they are. Two will form the outer frame, and the third one will go in the middle for more stability. Nail your smaller tree branches horizontally to the longer and larger cross beams. You won’t get a solid panel out of this design, but the slats will allow the light and breeze to filter through while blocking a large part of the view. You can keep the entire thing unfinished, or you can stain it if you want to have more protection on it.
Faraway Ranch – stables and barn by Al_HikesAZ / CC BY-NC 2.0
4. Hanging or Climbing Vines
There are dozens of climbing or hanging plants that could help you create a natural privacy panel, as long as you have the patience to wait for them to grow each year and fill your desired space in. First, pick a space where you can easily create a support frame for the plants. This could be as easy as setting up a trellis for support, or you may have to rig up a network of string or wire to ensure your plants can get up where you want them to go.
Pick out vines that suit your environment. Also, many of these plants on these outdoor privacy panels will get a lot of bright, direct sunlight. So, make sure they can survive without damage. Once you pick out your plants, set their pots along the framework for your panels. Water them and encourage them to grow up to fill in the space by winding the vines around the support network. Eventually, you’ll have a very thick and green living privacy panel that can provide shade. As a bonus, some can flower well through the summer months.
Vines climbing fence, Perry Hall, MD by Martin LaBar / CC BY-NC 2.0
5. Floating Lattice Panels
Maybe you’re someone who has a pergola or a small patio that you’d like to increase your privacy levels at while leaving the rest of your yard open. If so, this outdoor privacy panel idea could work. It can also add a whimsical element to your space since it has the illusion that the panels are floating in midair by themselves. All you’ll need for this idea is the lattice panels that fit your chosen area, cables, and paint if you’d like to change the color of the panels prior to hanging them.
Measure your chosen area to decide how many outdoor privacy panels you need. They don’t have to go to the floor. Instead, they should hang around head height or slightly lower when you sit down in a chair. Measure out your cables to give you the correct height and cut them to this length. Carefully secure your lattice panels with two or three cables per panel, hung at your chosen height. The lattice will shade you while allowing a little sun and breeze to come through.
Screens by Olivier Finlay Beaton / CC BY-NC 2.0
6. Upcycle Old Shutters
A lot of people don’t realize how large shutters can get, especially if you’re someone who has larger windows on your home. If you’ve recently switched out your old shutters, don’t get rid of them. Instead, you can upcycle them into an easy outdoor privacy panel. For this project, you’ll need as many shutters required to make your privacy fence, hinges, and paint or stain. Before you do anything, paint or stain your shutters your desired colors and allow them to dry.
This coat will help protect them from the elements and ensure your outdoor privacy panels last a decently long time. Each shutter will get two or three hinges on the long side, and you’ll attach the other side of the hinge to the next shutter in line. Ideally, you’ll get larger hinges to ensure they can support the shutter’s weight. It is a good idea to design a frame for the end pieces to slide into to prevent them from falling over when the wind catches them. You can also attach one end to an existing fence.
Shutters by swgn / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
7. Solid Tin Wall
Depending on your location around the country, sheets of tin can be plentiful and easy to source for pennies on the dollar. This idea will help you create a solid outdoor privacy panel, and how many sheets of tin you need will depend on how large of a screen you want. Measure out how large of an area you’ll want to cover, and use these measurements to create a wooden frame for your tin sheets to attach to. Using fence posts you drive into the ground with a top railing is the easiest way to accomplish this frame.
Ideally, you’ll get sheets of tin that are long enough to fit vertically in your wooden frame. This will give this outdoor privacy panel a more neat and finished look. Move along your frame, attaching your tin sheets to the wooden frame until you fill the entire thing. This design looks very nice when you pair it with terracotta planters along the bottom and Adirondack chairs to relax in.
Tin Corner by Steve Walser / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
8. Plant Bamboo
Anyone who is a fan of living outdoor privacy panels should consider this idea. Bamboo is a very versatile and hardy plant that you can encourage to grow very thickly in your yard. However, it can take up a lot of space and take over your yard very quickly if you don’t watch it. This is why you may want to create a raised garden box with clearly defined borders to help contain the bamboo and give it a much more neat and tidy look as it grows and thrives.
Another option you have is to plant your bamboo in large moveable planters on wheels. This allows you to move your outdoor privacy panel around as you need it. You will need to match the bamboo variety for your location as it doesn’t do well with areas that get extreme heat or extreme cold. There are also different types available, and some come in different heights. Each bamboo plant should also be three to five feet apart, so make sure you have the room for this plant before you start putting it in.
Bamboo by Henry Burrows / CC BY-SA 2.0
9. Chicken Wire with Planters
Pergolas are nice, but they don’t offer much in the way of privacy because they typically have open wall designs. While this does let a lot of light in, it can be a problem when you’re trying to entertain in a crowded neighborhood. So, you can build your own walls that will give you a bit more privacy, especially as your chosen plants start to grow and spread out. You’ll need chicken wire, staples, terracotta pots, pot holders, growing medium, and plants. As a bonus, you can easily start climbing plants at the base and let them scale up the wire.
Start by measuring the gap on your pergola wall and cut your chicken wire to match. You want to add a few inches to the sides and top to give yourself enough wire to staple to the pergola. Secure your chicken wire with nails or staples to create the frame for your outdoor privacy panel. Attach your terracotta pots to the chicken wire using the pot holders. Add your growing medium and your plants. Water them and allow them to grow and fill in the space to create a living wall.
Ivy behind a window by yooperann / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
10. Hang Outdoor Curtains
This is a cheap and easy outdoor privacy panel idea that works wonderfully for your porch. All you’ll need is one curtain rod per panel and the curtain. If the space on your porch is too wide for a standard curtain rod, you can get a dowel that matches this length and use it instead. Just make sure that it’s not too thick for your curtain to slide through. You can get thinner curtains to block the view more, or another option is to get gauzy ones that only block a partial view.
Thread your curtain on your curtain rod or dowel and hang it up in the open space. You now have an outdoor privacy panel that is very fast and easy to take down if you need. Ideally, your curtains will be long enough to reach the ground. You shouldn’t have to secure them to the ground to keep them there, especially if you picked out thicker privacy curtains. However, you can weigh them down with small rocks if you’re concerned about them moving in the wind.
Curtain by sekihan / CC BY-NC 2.0
11. Trellis Planter
Did you know that it’s possible to purchase planters that have trellises attached to them? You can also buy or make larger planters and attach a trellis to the back of it to get the same effect. Line these planters up side by side to create this outdoor privacy panel. Ideally, they will match to create a uniform look, but you can also choose to have them look different to break up the look too. It all depends on how you want your garden or yard decor to look.
Choose quick-growing plants that like to climb and plant them in each planter. Encourage them to grow up the trellises to create a green outdoor privacy panel. You will most likely have to put several plants in each planter, so make sure you pick out ones that complement one another. Some can flower during the late spring and summer months to make it a thicker screen to see through too. You can add vines to the outer edge of the planter and let them spill down to the ground too.
Deck Vines by daryl_mitchell / CC BY-SA 2.0
12. Upcycled Pallets
Wooden pallets can create a cheap but professional-looking outdoor privacy panel. You won’t even have to take them apart and use each piece to create it either, so it’s a very DIY friendly project to take on during an afternoon. You’ll start by measuring the area you want to have your panels in. This will tell you around how many pallets you need to fill in your selected area.
Source your pallets. Many people will have them for free, or you can go to almost any big box store and ask if they have any you could have or buy. You’ll want to nail your pallets together, one on top of the other and side by side to create a wall. It won’t be 100% solid because pallets do have slats in them. Most of them are also worn, so you’ll get a nice rustic look without having to seal them with paint or stain to make them last longer. You may want to build a frame to attach the pallets to to ensure that your outdoor privacy panel keeps standing in all weather conditions.
We built a pallet fence by hmmlargeart / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
13. Install a Privacy Fence
Maybe you’re someone who wants to have privacy in your entire yard. If so, you can build or pay someone to install a privacy fence that doubles as a durable, tall outdoor privacy panel. You will have to know where your property line is and keep the fence inside it, and this is especially important if you have neighbors very close to the edges of your property. Otherwise, you could have a dispute on your hands later and have to move this fence. This can be an expensive project.
If you know what you’re doing, you can install this outdoor privacy panel by yourself. However, a lot of people choose to have a company do it to ensure that it’s correct, solid, and that it lasts for years. Decide which wood you’d like to use, and consider painting or staining it to help seal the wood. Once the fence is up, you’ll have a very privacy, enclosed space to work with that surrounds your entire yard. This is a good option if you have kids or pets at home.
Sideyard privacy fence by Field Outdoor Spaces / CC BY 2.0
14. Bamboo Blind Screens
This is another option for outdoor privacy panels that works well on enclosed porches, decks, or pergolas where you already have a framework in place but the walls or parts of the walls are open. All you’ll need for this project are nails or hooks and bamboo blinds. You should note that bamboo blinds aren’t 100% solid, but they should block the majority of the view while allowing a small amount of light and the breeze to come through without a problem.
Measure out the area you want to cover and find out how many bamboo blinds you’ll need for this outdoor privacy panel. Find out where their attachment points and pound nails in or hang hooks in the corresponding space. Ideally, you’ll hang the blinds side-by-side to create a cohesive wall. You can raise and lower the blinds as you want, or you could attach them to the railing on the bottom to create a semi-permanent privacy wall. There are also bamboo screens that will require a framework to keep them in place you could use.
Bamboo Blind by mrhayata / CC BY-SA 2.0
15. Wood Slats
We love upcycling projects, and this outdoor privacy panel takes advantage of scrap wood you have lying around your shed or home. You will need enough wood to create a solid frame and enough wooden planks to fill it. Also, you’ll want to stain or paint the planks to seal moisture out to help them last longer, but this is a relatively simple project that you can take on by yourself.
Start by measuring your area to decide how big your framework will have to be. Nail the frame together in a square or rectangle shape, and make sure that it’ll stand up. One way to accomplish this is to drive part of the framework into the ground. This will give you a solid start. Get planks and cut them to fit across your frame, and make sure that they’re the same length. Stain or paint each one and allow them to dry. Using nails or screws, attach the planks to the frame, leaving ½-inch or an inch between each plank to create slats. It’ll block most of the view while allowing a nice breeze through.
Just completed the first privacy screen section by Ron Frazier / CC BY 2.0
16. Large Planters with Trees
There are smaller fruit trees you can grow in your yard if you live in the correct climate, like lemon trees. You can also get very large planters that are more than big enough for these trees, and you can combine them to create outdoor privacy panels. However, since these things will be very heavy when you get them full, you want to place them in a semi-permanent spot where they’re out of the way but close enough together to create your privacy wall.
Start by placing your pots in your chosen area. They should have a level area to sit on, and this works well for the sides of patios or decks. Your pots can be close enough together to touch, or you can space them a foot or two apart depending on which types of trees you’re going to plant. Put your trees and your growing medium in the pots and water them. They’ll eventually grow to be a semi-thick outdoor privacy panel, and they’ll bear fruit for you too!
Planter On East by Ashley Hoff / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
17. Create a Living Wall
The final outdoor privacy screen on the list involves creating a living wall. You can do this several ways. If you have a framework in place, you can easily hang lengths of landscape fabric up and create pouches for your plants to sit in. Hang them side-by-side to create a nice private area. Everyone on the outside will see uniform black fabric strips, but you’ll see all of the plants inside the panel.
Another option is to create a wooden frame with space between them to hang rows and rows of planters or pots to create a semi-solid outdoor privacy screen. It will be more open as your plants are little, but it’ll fill in as the growing season comes in. This is especially true if you choose trailing plants that will hang out from the edge of each pot and spill down to cover the open space.
Vertical-garden by wiccahwang / CC BY 2.0
These 17 outdoor privacy panel ideas incorporate everything from wood and metal to living plants. It’s easy to find one that matches your space, budget, and handyman skills. Some do require more maintenance as possible, so remember to take this into consideration when you settle on your outdoor privacy panel idea. If you get it right, you’ll get a panel that complements your existing yard while increasing your sense of privacy and security while you sit out and relax. Make it permanent, semi-permanent, or moveable to match your design aesthetic and enjoy your yard all season long.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.