If you've got nearby neighbors, then you'll probably want some good privacy fence ideas. Sure, you might get along just fine, but sometimes it's nice to feel like your yard is yours only – a quiet place to retreat and relax without the worry of prying eyes.
Privacy fences tend to be taller than your average garden fence ideas. But, that doesn't mean to say that they need to feel imposing. You don't have to box in your backyard with a function-over-form approach. There are plenty of styles that strike the right balance, adding a stunning design feature as well as a feeling of exclusivity.
To help you get inspired, we've rounded up lots of privacy fence ideas below. From chic colors and contemporary looks to rustic reclaimed designs, you'll be sure to find the perfect pick for your plot.
1. Paint it a cool grey
Going for a modern look? Painting privacy fence ideas in a soft grey tone is always a chic choice, adding a dose of Scandinavian-cool to a space. If you're worried that a tall block of grey might feel a little severe, be sure to dress it up with festoon lights – swagged along the top, they'll cast a warm glow when night falls and soften the scene.
You can also lift the look by adding bright and white materials nearby. Here, for instance, white gravel garden path ideas have been used for a clean contrast. Don't forget to bring plenty of foliage into the mix too; structural succulents, potted acers and other leafy favorites will provide a refreshing splash of green.
2. Top with pretty plants
This set-up above has to be the epitome of cohesive design, so if you're a fan of decking ideas, take note. We love how the sleek flooring extends up into the surrounding fence, creating a cladded courtyard that's totally unique.
The silvery tone of the wood keeps the look understated (an orangey-hued pine wouldn't work nearly as well). Statement furniture and spiky structural planting are the perfect match for the contemporary scene.
One of our favorite features of this design, however, has to be the lines of lavender and trailing ivy planted up top. They draw the eye upwards, soften the look, and in summer, will emit a soothing fragrance.
3. Opt for a trellis
If you've seen our guide to trellis ideas for gardens, then you'll know just how versatile these structures can be. Attached to a wall, they instantly pep up the view, especially when adorned with flowers and foliage.
However, you can use trellises as part of your privacy fence ideas too, especially if you go for styles which have smaller gaps between the battens. It's a tactile alternative to a classic fence and will create a lighter and more airy feel.
If you're looking for a denser screen in parts, it's simple – just plant the likes of sweet peas, clematis, or other climbing beauties along the bottom and they'll quickly scramble their way up.
4. Choose horizontal lines
If you're looking for a twist on a classic, then go for horizontal lines rather than vertical for your fence. It's an updated look that's perfect for modern garden ideas.
As your eye will be drawn lengthways, this approach will help to prevent high privacy fence ideas from feeling overwhelming. Go for pared-down natural wood and combine with neutral furniture and plenty of greenery for a serene space that's exclusively yours.
5. Contrast modern furniture with a rustic fence
Courtyard garden ideas can be tricky to style. You want privacy, sure, but at the same time high surrounding screens can swamp the smaller space into a shady and unwelcoming zone.
One way to prevent this is by including a feature wall or fence, such as this wood-panelled design. Its rustic patina and warm tone is the perfect antidote to even a hint of an uninviting, boxed-in vibe.
Keep the other walls in a neutral hue to maintain a sense of balance, and opt for low-lying, understated furniture and minimal planting for a uber-trendy finish.
6. Soften with a fragrant rose
Keeping privacy fence ideas unimposing is simple with the help of the best climbing plants. Plus, they'll add a welcome dose of color and, if you opt for fragranced ones, a gorgeous scent in the summer breeze.
This pretty pink rose makes a lovely accompaniment to a simple slatted fence. If you want to recreate the look, don't forget to pop a bench or comfy outdoor chair nearby for admiring the view. Discover the best climbing roses in our guide.
7. Try a laid-back look with garden sleepers
Garden sleeper ideas are a popular choice for many kinds of landscaping features, including raised beds and pathways. However, they can also be used for privacy fence ideas, as demonstrated in this set-up above.
They offer a laid-back look to any space and are perfect if you're after a more eclectic vibe. Made from thick, solid wood, they'll help to quieten sound, too.
Take a cue from this design and pair with one of the best pizza ovens, an olive tree, and plenty of silvery, sun-loving plants for a rustic dose of Mediterranean-chic.
8. Add a mirror to your privacy fence ideas
If you're using your privacy fence ideas to surround a smaller space, then a garden mirror can be a useful feature to add.
It's a well-known design trick for any less-than-large zone, as will help to create the illusion of more space – and more light – as it doubles up the view. Pick a design in the same shade as your fence for a complementary look, or go for something more statement; there are plenty of arched, gothic, or contemporary styles available.
Our garden mirror ideas gallery has lots more inspiration.
9. Extend a wall with a trellis for extra height
Have you already got a wall around your plot? If it's a little too short to deter nosy neighbors, then you might be tempted to rip it out and replace it with something more private. However, before you do, consider adding a trellis topper.
This will save on cash and labor, and the finished effect can be stunning. As with all trellis fences, you can also use it to train foliage for a verdant living wall.
10. Incorporate shelves for potted plants
With all that wall space that privacy fence ideas provide comes the opportunity to get creative.
You can add subtle wall lights for upping the ambience, bunting for summertime decor, or even hanging basket ideas suspended by sturdy brackets. Or, you could take inspiration from the look above and install shelving for your container gardening ideas.
Paint the shelves in the same color as your fence for a sense of cohesion, and then fill with all your favorite potted plants. You could opt for a mini herb garden, or simply grow seasonal flowers for a splash of color. Plus, it's a great way to save on floor space, so is ideal if you're also after small garden ideas.
How can you make privacy fence ideas feel less imposing?
'Natural light is the key to making fencing less imposing,' says Leigh Barnes of Jacksons Fencing (opens in new tab). 'The balance between privacy and light is a common conflict most homeowners face; some will want more of one than the other.'
'Solid fencing is naturally the best for privacy, but if you're worried about it feeling imposing, we would recommend combining any solid fence panel with a trellis or fence topper. This will allow you to strike the perfect balance between privacy and creating a welcoming space with natural light.'
'Opting for timber will also help to create a less imposing boundary as the natural appearance will blend into its surroundings and complement planting,' Leigh continues. 'If you're painting your fence, opt for lighter colors that allow light to reflect and create a brighter space.' Why not learn how to paint a shed, to make it match? Our dedicated guide has all the step-by-step advice you need.
What are the benefits of picking a fence over a wall for privacy?
'Choosing fence panels over brick walls opens up a variety of different styles and designs that brick walls can't offer,' says Leigh Barnes of Jacksons Fencing.
'Timber fencing will offer a less imposing natural look rather than contrasting brick work. Depending on what style you want for your garden, one will suit more than the other. Bricks will have a significantly higher initial cost so would only suit high budget gardens.'
However, if you are weighing up the alternative, our garden wall ideas gallery has lots of stunning styles.
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.