May 19, 2023

The best privacy screens for a more secluded, cozy backyard

By including a privacy screen in your landscaping design, you can create hidden spots that feel cozy and contained. Here's our pick to do it in style

When you are trying to relax in your backyard, the last thing you want is to feel the eyes of your neighbors on you, and it can be hard to fully relax in a large, open space with no form of privacy.

As we begin to spend more time outside and embrace our outdoor space we can become self-conscious about and start to think about what can be done to reduce this sometimes-awkward openness, and while privacy planting is an effective, natural way to screen your yard, it's something that will need to grow to meet your backyard's needs, and you'll have to keep it alive and healthy after that.

In contrast, a privacy screen is a fixed addition to your backyard (though not always, given that there's a number of portable screens for outdoors you can use, too) that can be strategically placed to meet your privacy needs. They're usually designed with aesthetics in mind too, so they're often more decorative (and less of an eyesore) than fences or walls.

Don't believe us? Take a look at these privacy screen designs that prove this garden feature can be good-looking, too.

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There are so many options for privacy screens to suit your personal style, from Bohemian chic to sleek and minimalist; from subtle timber that blends into your natural space to more elaborate screens is guaranteed to add a bit of something to your backyard.

Here are our picks of the top stylish and totally functional screens for your patio.

If you are into that sleek and minimal look, then you may be interested in a metal privacy screen. These screens are modern and often decorative, and bring an interesting materiality to backyards.

Best modern style

This modern geometric metal privacy screen is a timeless design you're unlikely to tire of.

Best for warm metallics

If black is too harsh for your backyard scheme, this bronze metal privacy screen feels a little softer and more organic.

Best freestanding

Offering a modern rustic touch to outdoors (or indoors), this decorative screen has a brilliant corrugated finish that brings plenty of character.

If you are after privacy but are eager not to disrupt your natural backyard aesthetic, then you may wish to investigate timber screens. These options will slot discreetly into spaces filled with natural materials, and can even be matched in with your fences.

Timber is a particularly great option if you do not want to create a feature out of your screen, or if you want to use it as a garden trellis to grow plant for an extra level of privacy.

Best for flexibility

This timber, folding design means you can adjust it to your needs, while the draining planters help this screen feel like a more permanent fixture.

Best for screening

Made from durable vinyl, this cedar-look design won't need serious maintenance like some timber will, and its strip layout makes it ideal for hiding away garden eyesores, too.

Best for price

This budget-friendly buy from IKEA comes out top in the style stakes, and it can be bought with an attached storage box/seat, too.

Privacy screens don't have to be purely functional, they can be used to reflect your style and add personality to your garden. They come in all shapes and sizes you will be sure to find something to suit your style and space.

Best for geometric style

This contemporary geometric style will bring a modern look to your outdoor space, and create a motif you can pick out elsewhere in your scheme.

Best for boho

From Justina Blakeney's Jungalow collection from Target, this cool freestanding screen is ideal for a patio that channels a Bohemian vibe.

Best for shadows

These stackable decorative screen panels come in a range of interesting design, all of which cast beautiful, unusual shadows when in an outdoor space.

Often people consider large privacy trees or fence toppers to provide some element of seclusion however these solutions are not viable in all circumstances.

A privacy fence is often only erected around the boundary of a property, and trees aren't always a desirable choice for a non-gardener. That's where privacy screens come in, providing easy and quick-to-install solutions to your privacy needs. They can also become a beautiful addition to your garden that needn't look like an unfriendly deterrent.

However, privacy screens aren't just about blocking out neighbors' prying eyes. 'The benefits of using outdoor privacy screens is that they not only provide privacy from the neighbors, but also create a microclimate and give a sense of enclosure to the garden room,' explains Jane Stark, creative director of interiors and landscape studio Stark Design.

The requirements of a privacy screen will vary from backyard to backyard. 'Privacy screens are well suited to many areas within a garden design, particularly, outdoor seating areas, dining areas, areas for contemplation,' Jane says.

As well as creating this sense of seclusion for living spaces, they can also be used to hide outdoor eyesores. 'They can also be used to disguise ugly garden elements, such as pool equipment, recycling bins, compost heaps and gardening equipment,' Jane adds.

Amy is currently studying for an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women's lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interior design. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.

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