Many individuals enjoy being outdoors but don’t have a huge amount of outdoor space to call their own. With millions of people downsizing and giving up their large homes, yards, and gardens, a number of us now have to find ways to enjoy smaller outdoor spaces. For example, most condominiums and apartments have small decks or patios, and these are often in close proximity to the neighboring units. This can offer a challenge when trying to create a private outdoor space. In this article, we’ll discuss a few ways you can create outdoor privacy without taking up too much of your precious space.
The first thing to consider before making any alterations to your outdoor space are what restrictions, if any, apply to your dwelling. For example, if you live in a condo or townhome, there is probably a homeowner’s association that has some restrictive covenants and bylaws that may require you to get permission before altering your outdoor space. Furthermore, if you are renting your accommodations, you will most certainly want to confer with the landlord before doing anything. Once you know what your parameters are, you can begin to develop your plan within those guidelines.
You will want to create an outdoor space that is aesthetically pleasing when viewed from inside your home and that also enhances your property from the outside, as well. The size of the space, desired use, and current level of privacy should all be taken into account as you create your design. First, consider how you want to use your outside area. Is your deck built immediately next to your neighbor’s, with little to no barrier between the two? Are there any unsightly objects you’d like to block from view? Do you need to provide seating for relaxation or dining?
If your space is very small, you’ll want to use products that don’t take up much room, while still creating the overall look you desire. For added privacy, you’ll probably need to create some kind of outdoor privacy screen. There are many ways to do this, depending on what you are able to do in your space. If you are free to put up a semi-permanent structure, you may want to consider lattice panels or a small section of fencing, depending on how much coverage you need. You will want to choose a material that is durable, maintenance free, and blends well with the current structure.
If you can’t put up a permanent panel or screen, then you may want to consider a portable patio trellis. Patio trellises are available in a variety of sizes, colors, and materials, and the flexibility to move them around as needed can be a real benefit. For example, a portable patio trellis can be moved to shade a specific area, block wind, or provide privacy from neighbors or children gathering nearby. In fact, even if you are able to put up a permanent screen on your deck or patio, you may still want to consider using portable outdoor privacy screens, for this very reason. Some patio trellises are even designed with a planter base, allowing you to add some color and greenery by planting a climbing plant to trail up the trellis.
If trellises or screens aren’t your style, or you simply don’t want to spend that much money, there are other options. Large plants can create physical barriers between your living space and the neighbor’s. Large palms planted in planters or other types of tropical plants can grow quite large, though you will need to have a place to put them in the cold winter months, unless you want to replace them each year.
Creating privacy in small outdoor spaces may be a little challenging, but it is possible with a little imagination. Whether you choose to put up a permanent screen, use portable patio trellises, or large plants, you should always work toward the goal of creating an aesthetically pleasing area that is an extension of your indoor living space. With a little research and planning, you’ll end up with a great outdoor living space that can be enjoyed for years to come.
by Ellen Bell
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