There are fences intended for ornamentation, and fences built to secure the equivalent of a domestic stronghold.
But what if you are merely looking to reclaim a bit of privacy for yourself and your surroundings?
What if style and curb appeal certainly factor into your decision, but the ultimate choice resides in the fence that keeps the world out and encompasses you within yours?
These top 50 best privacy fence ideas are designed with a simple goal in mind: to raise an attractive but nonetheless opaque barrier between your home and the uninvited gaze of the outside. Privacy fences can be easily customized to blend with your house’s exterior, employing the use of various woods, stains, and concealing angles.
Similarly, a combination of latticing and expertly planted hedges can shield your habitat in a charmingly clever bit of old-fashioned implementation. Even the ingeniously spaced fencing panel scheme allows an openness on your side and absolute seclusion from the other.
Privacy is not just a luxury, but a right that all are entitled to. While standards of privacy may be dwindling in our present world, that doesn’t mean you can’t still achieve it within the sanctity of your home.
A finely selected and well-positioned fence affords you the refuge that is the hallmark of the hard-earned home, while lending a brush of accent style that only enhances your property’s appeal. Don’t let another season pass you by under the prying eyes of neighbors and passersby; the nouveau privacy fence all but begs to be appointed.
1. Wood Privacy Fence Ideas
When the average person thinks of a privacy fence, a wood panel design usually comes to their mind. They’re sturdy, affordable, and can provide as much privacy as you’d like them to. They can last for years, especially if maintained properly.
One of the best things about wood privacy fences is that they’re easily adaptable. They take paint nicely, so color changes from year to year are not a problem. You can also customize a wood fence easily. With some time, a miter saw, and a nail gun, you can add decorative touches or trim to a basic fence, making it look like it cost far more than it did.
You can purchase fence panels but you should also consider building your own for a truly custom installation. This allows you to choose your own slat spacing, design, height, and materials. The end result will be far nicer than an off-the-shelf panel that you can purchase at the local home center.
If you need some inspiration on how to build your own wood privacy fence, here’s a great video detailing the steps and tools required.
2. Metal Privacy Fence Ideas
Metal has become a popular fencing product due to recent trends and to be honest, they look pretty cool. Many of these fences are built with corrugated roofing material, which makes them tough and long-lasting.
Most times that you’re adapting a product for unintended use, you have to think outside the box to make it work. Luckily, this project has been tackled enough that there are plenty of how-tos and DIYs available on the internet to get an idea of how it works.
Corrugated roofing isn’t your only option for a metal fence. You can purchase metal panels (like this one from Home Depot) and posts meant specifically for fencing. They’re perfect if you’d like a low maintenance option that requires less thought and adaptation, so check out the metal products in your local home center’s fencing section. These fence panels are typically more expensive than other products, but they’re tough and look amazing. They also come in several different styles and sizes, so finding a metal fence to create some privacy won’t be an issue for you.
3. Natural Privacy Fence Ideas
Some people just don’t like the feeling of a fenced-in backyard. It makes them feel cramped, like an animal in a crate. If that’s you, but you recognize that you could stand to do with a little more privacy, consider a natural fence to block out the rest of the world. These fences can consist of trees, shrubs, or a combination of standard fencing and natural plants.
There are some species of trees and plants that lend themselves particularly well to the natural fence style. Trees like cypress and red cedar, as well as shrubs like lilac and arborvitae, all get tall and dense enough to create a buffer between you and your neighbor. Planted in a row or in an offset pattern, they will grow into a thick natural barrier that will envelop your backyard and keep your business private.
While one would think a tree or shrub would be low-maintenance, there are some things to be aware of. For one, you might not want to plant this privacy fence too close to your home. Roots can find themselves in the most precarious of places, so keeping them away from your foundation is probably best. Also, some of these trees do better in full sunlight, while others could use some shade. Consider where you’re building this natural fence before you decide what shrub or tree you’d like to use. Finally, if you have a heavy deer population, you may find that they like nibbling on the lower part of your fence.
4. Traditional Privacy Fence Ideas
Traditional style fencing isn’t relegated to just the wooden picket fences in the front yards of suburbia. There are a number of timeless styles and designs that work well to provide backyard privacy as well. If you’ve got a traditional style home and want to put up a fence that blends in with your design, this might be the category to focus on.
The trick here is to choose a fence style that fits your yard. If you’ve got some rolling hills in your backyard, it would make sense that you’d choose a fence with round curves to mimic the slopes. You could use an arched fence or scalloped fence design, as they both maintain smooth, consistent curves. While you certainly can build them yourself, it might save time to purchase these in panels.
For flatter backyards, squared panels might look the best. They maintain a flat, parallel top rail, but you can also climb small slopes by tiering or racking the panel, whichever you feel looks the nicest. These are also easiest to install if purchase in pre-built panels, but you could save money by building these fences board-by-board.
5. Contemporary Privacy Fence Ideas
Some backyard designs require a different style of fencing to look whole and complete. A home with a backyard full of modern touches would look strange with a white picket fence wrapped around it. That home would be better served by using a contemporary style of fence. Contemporary fences can be made from a number of materials and come in many different styles, but popular choices are metal-woven fences, as well as horizontal wood board-on-board styles.
The great thing about a contemporary fence style is that it doesn’t necessarily have to fit in with everything else in the yard. It just has to fit the style. These fences can be nearly any color or material. In the images below, you’ll see a copper-look woven privacy fence that creates an awesome look. Just as nice as that fence looks in that space, a horizontal plank fence would work there as well. The contemporary style, which is seemingly strict in certain areas, allows for a bit of fun elsewhere.
If you’re going out on a limb and trying something different, there are a few things to be aware of. If your neighbor can see the fence, the style might not be their cup of tea. In the spirit of being a good neighbor, you two should work on an option that works for both of you. Also, when it comes time to sell your house, any non-traditional touch could be a point of contention for a potential buyer. That being said, if this is your forever home or your neighbor is unaffected by your fence choice, the sky is the limit.
6. Gabion and Masonry Privacy Fence Ideas
If you prefer the look of stone over PVC, metal, or wood, you should consider building a stone or masonry wall to help gain some privacy. These walls can be large, mortared stacked-stone walls that are meticulously laid out, or you can try a less traditional Gabion wall, built with large rocks inside of metal frames.
Gabion walls are a simple but highly effective solution when it comes to privacy walls. They can be built almost anywhere that’s relatively level, and they’re a pretty affordable option. Gabion walls are metal-framed baskets filled with large stones. They don’t require foundations and are very stable if built correctly. They work well as a stand-alone structure, or they can be used in conjunction with standard fence materials to create a dual-textured look.
Stacked stone, brick, and block walls are also good options for building truly private fences. Not only will these materials block out on-lookers’ views, but they’ll also block much of the sound transfer from the neighbor’s house to yours and vice versa. These structures are more expensive to build and do require some serious knowledge or a contractor, but the end result will be a very secluded space for you to kick back in.
Have a look at this video that explains and shows how to build a large Gabion retaining wall:
7. Vinyl Privacy Fence Ideas
For the past couple of decades, vinyl and PVC products have taken the home improvement world by storm. Vinyl fencing panels have become a particularly attractive option, as they require very little maintenance and are light enough to be installed without help. Vinyl fencing panels have also come down considerably in pricing, making them a viable option for homeowners on a budget.
There are quite a few choices when it comes to vinyl privacy fences. Your local home center should have a large selection of products on hand, as well as a few catalogs from manufacturers that they can order from. The variety available makes it easy to find a vinyl fence that matches your backyard’s style and design, while also providing plenty of privacy. These fences typically come in panels, like one fence from Lowe’s, to make the installation fast and straightforward.
There are a few things you should be aware of before you order all your fence panels. PVC and vinyl can become very brittle in the cold, so a winter install should be considered a no-go for all but the warmest climates. You should also be aware that in that cold weather, any heavy impacts from dogs or playing children could lead to some damage as well. These panels aren’t very easy to fix either, so if this is a factor for you, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
8. Privacy Fence Gate Ideas
There is a lot to be said about gates. They are ultimately the most important part of a fence project. They need to be well-designed, well-planned for, and finely executed. If not handled properly, gates just become flimsy eye-sores that compromise the integrity of the fences they’re meant to secure. When built correctly, they are strong and stable, and also a pleasure to use.
While not all your fence posts need to be set in concrete, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not cementing your gate posts in the ground. Keep in mind that these fence posts will experience pressure the entire time that the gate is open by carrying the weight of the door. This can easily loosen a fence post that’s only been set in the ground, regardless of the depth it was dug to.
Now that we have structure out of the way, you need to consider what you’d like your gate to look like. Some homeowners choose to have their gate blend in with the rest of the field of fencing, while others prefer that their gate stand out. The previous images have some awesome examples of how to build a highly-functional, good-looking gate that will last as long as your fence is standing.
Privacy Fence FAQs
Can a privacy fence add value to my home?
Depending on the type of fence and material used, the answer is yes, you may fetch a higher price at the time of sale. However, you may not recoup your entire investment. What you will benefit from is that your house will spend less time on the market, as buyers find private backyards more desirable and will be keen to make a deal. That could save you interest on mortgage payments.
How long can a wood fence be expected to last?
A western red cedar fence can last up to 30 years with proper maintenance. Species like hemlock will only last 10 to 15 years. A pressure treated fence panel can last as long as 30 years, but 15 is more likely. All this depends on how well the wood is maintained and the quality of the products used.