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Ideas & Inspiration

Privacy Fence Ideas

Picket
White picket fencing stands at the edge of a yard.

Very traditional in appearance, a picket fence, especially a white one, is likely what comes to mind when you think about fences. While a picket fence may not keep people from seeing your yard, it can make your space feel more secure. Shrubs planted along the fence can add to the level of privacy offered by this fence type.


A white picket fence blends in well in a beach setting or in front of a cottage. Picket fences are also well suited for the suburbs and even the city. With regular washing and re-painting, picket privacy fences are fairly easy to maintain.

Wood Fences
Wooden stockade-style privacy fencing with rounded tops.

In general, wood privacy fences are less costly to buy and install. Wood fences offer many design options, including classic looks. Wood privacy fences tend to require finishing and other forms of upkeep. They are also less durable over time.


Cedar, pine and redwood are popular woods for planks, while recycled pallets provide a less traditional approach. Stockade fencing offers a traditional design with clean lines and a smooth flow. Pickets, rails and posts can be installed individually or in pre-made panels. The tops can be flat, rounded or jagged. This approach can be effective as a filter for street noise.


Tip: Any kind of wood fencing should be treated with sealants to protect against weather, rot and pests. Paint or stain the fence every 2 to 3 years. 

Composite Fencing
Composite privacy fencing surrounds a home.

Composite privacy fences offer a lot of options to match your home’s style. They may have the look of a white picket fence or a stone surface. Made of recycled plastics or wood products, composite fences need less upkeep than wood fences. Composite fences come in pickets, posts and panels. Decorative patterns on some panels add to their appeal.

Vinyl Fencing
A white vinyl privacy fence marks the property line next to a light yellow house

As PVC vinyl fencing continues to become more popular, you might consider it because it lasts longer than wood fencing. Like a composite fence, a vinyl privacy fence also needs less maintenance. However, it can be more costly in the short term. Vinyl privacy fences also tend to become brittle in cold weather.

Corrugated Metal Fencing
Corrugated metal privacy fencing atop a wall.

Metal privacy fences, made with panels or sheets of metal, can offer a unique, modern look. Corrugated metal tends to be lighter and more affordable than wood. A metal privacy fence also doesn’t need as much care as a wood fence. 

Chain-Link Privacy Fence
Chain link fencing with plastic privacy slats at the corner of a yard.

A tall chain-link privacy fence can enclose your yard securely. You can block the view through it by weaving plastic privacy slats between the links. These privacy slats come in multiple colors. A chain-link privacy fence is durable and easy to maintain. It has a less homey look than most other fence types, though.

Bamboo Fencing
Pieces of cut bamboo make up the panels of a backyard privacy fence

A bamboo privacy fence can add tropical style to your space. Steer clear of bamboo plants, though. They can easily take over your yard and wipe out native plants. 


Instead, look for a bamboo slat fence, which is made with cut bamboo, a sustainable material. This type of bamboo privacy fence embraces the rustic look, without the concern of cutting back invasive plants.

Stone or Brick Fences
A stone fence with a wooden gate.

Brick or stone fences add the utmost in privacy. Depending on the type of stone or brick you choose, your yard can reflect a classic look, old world charm or modern appeal. One of the most popular choices, brick and stone fences are seen everywhere from country estates to townhomes in major cities. Brick or stone fences create a border between neighbors and help to block out sound.

Vertical Garden
A wooden fence features a vertical garden.

Bring more color and greenery into your backyard with a vertical garden privacy fence, also known as a living wall. Planters for privacy fences can be built-in or added as window boxes or flower pots hung from the slats of a classic fence. 


A vertical garden is a great solution for city dwellers who want more space for plants. Living walls filled with planters for privacy fences are also a beautiful option those with large yards.

Iron or Aluminum Privacy Fence
An ornamental metal fence stands in front of a Tudor-style home

Durable and practical, an iron, aluminum or other metal fence can provide safety while also letting light in. While these open fences may not keep prying eyes out, they will certainly make your home look and feel more secure.  


You can choose an open metal privacy fence to match your home’s look. Metal privacy fences are easy to maintain. They are less costly than many other fence types. 

Horizontal Slat Fences
A natural wood-toned horizontal slat fence.

Horizontal privacy fences work well in both rural and urban spaces. They are made with slats that are parallel to the ground, instead of the more traditional vertical type. A horizontal privacy fence adds a timeless look, without making a statement too bold. They block views, while still letting some light into your yard. 

Shrubbery Fences
Shrubs planted closely together serve as a privacy fence above a long low wall

An eye-catching alternative to a typical yard fence, a fence made of shrubbery is a creative landscaping idea. A shrubbery privacy fence can add curb appeal, while also providing a spot for birds and butterflies.


Shrubs for privacy fences grow quickly and are often planted too close together, however. As the plants grow and mature, they are more likely to get diseases and be damaged by pests. Shrubs can be grown in containers to avoid the problem of close plantings. Mixing the types of shrubs you plant can also help protect your privacy if a disease or pest attacks a single species.  

Tree Fences
Trees planted in containers are lined up in a row to create a privacy fence

If you like the natural look, you might decide to go with a tree privacy fence. You could place mature trees in the ground or grow them in containers. A tree privacy fence could take a while to establish, so it may not result in privacy right away. You’ll also want to consider the water and sunlight needs of the trees you select.

 

Because they grow quickly, Leyland cypress have often been used for tree privacy fences. In recent years, these trees have been affected by a number of diseases, so they are no longer a good option. Instead, plant “Green Giant” arborvitaes, Arizona cypresses or Japanese cedars. All of these trees are similar to the Leyland cypress.

Trellis Fencing
Red, pink and purple flowers bloom along a white trellis fence and gate

Made of metal, wood or bamboo, trellis fencing features a lattice-work design that supports and shows climbing plants and shrubbery. A trellis privacy fence is ideal for smaller patio areas and can also help to define outdoor spaces like decks and gardens. Available in a variety of heights and designs, trellis fencing can act as a perimeter, as well as a decorative accent.

Cedar Privacy Fence
A cedar privacy fences features a natural warm color

Lightweight and easy to work with, cedar is very durable and works well for fences. A cedar privacy fence can stand up to all kinds of weather. It also resists insects, rot and decay. When you have a cedar slat privacy fence, you can enjoy the wood’s natural red and gold colors or stain or paint it. 

Expandable Privacy Fence
An expandable privacy fence stretches along a lawn

With an expandable privacy fence, you can enclose part of your yard now. Later, you can add panels and posts to the fence to make it bigger. Expandable privacy fences come in a variety of materials and styles.

Gray Privacy Fence
A gray privacy fence that looks like stone divides two yards

A gray privacy fence is the perfect balance of light and dark. This popular neutral choice works with nearly every color scheme. It goes well with fellow neutrals like beige and cream. A gray slat privacy fence can also make brighter colors and even pastels really pop. Gray can pair well with your home’s style, whether it’s classic or modern.


Composite fence panels come in gray and never need to be painted. A wooden fence can be painted gray is another option. 

Green Privacy Fence
A green mesh privacy screen covers a chain link fence

You can paint an exisiting fence to create a green privacy fence. Another option is to attach a green privacy fence screen to an existing fence. These screens can shield your yard, patio or pool, while also blocking UV rays. Privacy fence screens, which also come in colors like black, blue, beige, gray and brown, are low maintenance. They can resist fading, stains, mold and mildew.

White Privacy Fence
A white privacy fence stands next to a sidewalk

An element of many dream houses, a white privacy fence can give your yard a clean look. This classic option can also help showcase any plants or flowers you may have growing in your yard. Both greenery and colorful blooms will show up well against a white privacy fence. You can paint a fence white or put up white vinyl privacy fence panels and posts. 

Ivy Privacy Fence
A faux ivy screen encloses a small outdoor space furnished with chairs and a table with an umbrella

Ivy plants can quickly grow out of control. But you can still get the look of an ivy privacy fence with artificial greenery. A faux ivy privacy screen can be attached to an existing fence. Dense leaves block the view of your yard, while adding style to your space. With a faux ivy privacy fence, you won’t have to worry about cutting back plants. Faux ivy also doesn’t attract bugs or other animals.

Lattice Privacy Fence
A white lattice fence stands in front of a house with large windows and an ornate front door

A lattice privacy fence could be the perfect backdrop for your outdoor living space. If your backyard is small, you could enclose it entirely in a lattice privacy fence. For a larger space, lattice could serve a point of interest in another kind of privacy fence. This look also works as an accent on top of other types of fences.

Mesh Privacy Fence
A black mesh privacy screen is attached to a black fence that divides two yards

Made of mesh material, a privacy fence screen can be attached to an existing chain link fence or installed as part of a new fence. Easy to care for, mesh privacy fence screens come in a range of colors. For a bold statement, you could choose bright blue. If neutral is more your style, there are beige, brown and gray mesh privacy fence screens. 

Modern Privacy Fence
Horizontal slats and stonework give this privacy fence a modern look

If your home has a modern flair, you may want a fence to match. But a modern privacy fence could also be paired with a more classic home or a standard midcentury ranch that you’d like to add some modern details too. 

Pallet Privacy Fence
Potted plants hang from the slats of a fence made from upcycled shipping pallets

You can create a pallet privacy fence by recycling wooden shipping pallets in one of two ways. You can take the pallets apart and reuse the wood. Or if you’d like a more organic look, you can install complete pallets. No matter which option you choose, you can embrace the natural color of the wood or add some paint. 

Shadow Box Privacy Fence
A shadow box privacy fence blocks the view of a yard

Both sides of this fence, also known as a board-on-board fence, look the same. This attractive wooden fence may help change the minds of any anti-fence neighbors you may live next to. Boards on either side of the fence rails are placed in staggered rows that block the view through the pickets. This construction still allows light and air to come through, though.

 

Gaps can sometimes form in standard wooden picket fences as they shrink due to weather effects. The overlap in a shadow box privacy fence counters any changes to the wood, resulting in longer-lasting privacy. 

Panel Privacy Fence
Alternating panels of wood and corrugated metal add interest to this fence

You can save time by putting up a panel privacy fence. The pre-made panels are ready to install, so you don’t have to build your fence one board at a time. Fence panels come in a variety of styles, from pressure-treated wood to white vinyl with a lattice top. The panels come in standard heights and weights. If you need a custom solution, however, a panel privacy fence may not be for you.

Fencing Tops
Lattice accents top a wooden fence that has decorative posts

Many types of privacy fences have decorations along the top. You can choose the fence top that best suits the style of your fence and home. A lattice pattern has a rustic elegance, for example. Other styles include rounded, wave-like and the classic pointed picket.

Adding a privacy fence to your yard can take some effort, but it pays off in the peace of mind that comes with yard, deck or patio privacy. Prices, installation and level of difficulty can vary based on the materials, style of fence and your yard’s terrain. Prepare for fencing on hilly ground to be more costly and time-consuming than in a flat yard. To make your fence design more pleasing to the eye, consider pairing it with planters or flowering plants.


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