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Fenced backyard with lawn, plants and outdoor barbeque
Create an outdoor oasis – completely out of sight from your neighbours – with these clever privacy solutions.

Creative screening ideas

Fresh air, sunshine and entertaining outdoors are among life’s greatest pleasures. However, the ambience is easily broken when neighbours or passers-by can see directly into your private sanctuary.  Thankfully, there are plenty of screening options that allow you to shield your backyard without transforming it into a fortress. Read on for inspiring ideas and expert tips to creating an outdoor oasis.

Fenced backyard with lawn, plants and outdoor barbeque

Grow dense plants strategically to create a green barrier

Screening plants are superb, as they deliver privacy with the softness of a living element. Andy Kepitis of Kep Horticulture (kephorticulture.com) says there’s a plant for every situation, but “your plant choice should take into consideration how much light the area receives, and how tall and wide the plant grows,” he says.

Fast-growing climbing plants, such as star jasmine and hardenbergia, are great to climb and scramble over trellises or arches, creating a dense, green barrier. Hedges are ideal, too, but avoid taking shortcuts to quick growth. “Planting hedging plants really close together may result in a ‘quicker’ screen, but you will have issues later with dieback,” warns Andy. If space is limited, a few strategically placed pots or planter boxes, with large plants like juniper or camellia, is a perfect solution.

Add to existing fences with flexible screening

A quick option – especially for balconies and fences that need extra height – is flexible screening. Usually fashioned from bamboo or woven materials, these flexible screens are easy to install. As Tiger Nagel of Eden screening products explains: “Simply roll out and attach to your fence with staples, nylon ties or wires.” They can be customised to suit the space, too. “Cut the screen to size or join pieces together with staples or ties,” Tiger says.

Flexible screens aren’t freestanding, though, so you’ll need to attach them to a support like a fence or pergola. “They’re a great solution for renters, allowing a cosmetic change while staying budget friendly,” says Andy. “Take the time to install it properly to ensure it stands the test of time.”

Elevate your privacy game with stylish screens

Decorative screens or panels can add instant privacy to any part of the garden. They’re great for creating secluded pockets in your garden, especially around entertaining areas or quiet zones. They are available in steel, aluminium, UV-stabilised recycled plastic or timber, and may be coloured, decoratively patterned with laser-cut motifs, or oxidised for an earthy, weathered look.

Choose traditional and slatted fences if building from scratch  

A solid steel or timber fence can completely block out wandering eyes, but check the boundaries as well as any other regulatory restrictions before building. This may include engaging a licensed surveyor to determine the exact lines of your property. If a solid fence is too bold or imposing, consider slatted options and plant in front to help increase privacy and soften the appearance. If there is an existing fence but the neighbours are on higher ground, try fence extenders. “These can be useful if you need to reduce sightlines from nearby homes,” says Andy. Always let your neighbours know of your plans before installation, as this impacts them, as well.

Create a living wall

Weeping lilly pilly: White blooms and attractive berries adorn this informal hedging star.

Close up of weeping lilly pilly plant

Melaleuca ‘Revolution Gold’: Attract native wildlife with a lightly trimmed screen.

Close up of Melaleuca ‘Revolution Gold’ plant

Pittosporum ‘Screenmaster’: Prune this hardy shrub during spring for a tidy hedge.

Close up of Pittosporum ‘Screenmaster’ plant

Hardenbergia ‘Sea of Purple’: Train this fast- growing climber over fences and along wires.

Close up of Hardenbergia ‘Sea of Purple’ plant

Keep in mind…

  • Take care when selecting your plants as some can be poisonous to children and pets.
  • While pruning or using a hedge trimmer, wear gloves, long sleeves and eye protection, and always stand on a steady, level surface.

Ready to install a bamboo fence?

Find out how with our handy guide.

 

Photo Credit: Belinda Merrie, Gap Photos/Paul Debois and Getty Images

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.