Privacy Fence Ideas for Your Backyard

Your home is your sanctuary, but it may not feel that way if you see your neighbor every time you sit on the deck. Privacy fences can solve that problem by creating a barrier between you and adjoining yards. What’s more, they can prevent pets and children from wandering off — or onto — your property.

“One of the most important things that homeowners need to be cognizant of is researching their lot line location,” says Bill Gassett, a realtor with Maximum Real Estate Exposure in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. They also need to confirm whether there are any local ordinances or homeowner association rules which may limit the height or type of fence they can erect.

Once those details are squared away, homeowners have several options when it comes to creating privacy for their yard. Here’s a closer look at four privacy fence ideas.

[See: 10 Home Renovations Under $5,000.]

Hedges and Shrubs

One of the simplest ways to create privacy for your yard may not include a fence at all.

“My choice of fencing would be to use plants as a natural screen,” says David Angelov, CEO and founder of PlantParenthood, a garden design and maintenance company in Swampscott, Massachusetts. “It’s much easier on the eyes than a traditional fence.”

Depending on your needs, natural screening options can include flowering bushes and evergreen hedges. “Garden hedges such as mock orange or camellia not only block your neighbor’s view efficiently but give your backyard a wonderful fragrance and a lush look,” says Toby Schulz, CEO and co-founder of Australian lawn care company Lawn.com.au.

Costs of Installing Hedges and Shrubs for Privacy

The price of natural screening will depend on the plants chosen and their size, but this is generally one of the cheaper privacy fence ideas. Homeowners could pay as little as $10 or less per plant. However, there may be ongoing expenses to maintain and shape a hedge. Professional planting could cost twice as much as doing it yourself, but landscapers also may be able to help select the right plants and space them appropriately.

According to the home improvement website Fixr, a hedge that spans 209 feet of Leyland cypress — a common type of shrub used for privacy hedges — costs $1,730 to $2,350.

Plants need to be chosen with your area’s hardiness zone in mind, Angelov says. The hardiness zone determines the areas different plants can best grow, based on geography and climate; some shrubs may change in appearance throughout the year, especially when planted in four-season climates.

Vinyl Fencing

If you want a solid barrier to better contain pets and children or keep wildlife out, wood and vinyl are two of the most popular and affordable privacy fence ideas.

While some wood fencing can be less expensive than vinyl panels, vinyl is generally more durable and maintenance-free. That makes the total cost of vinyl fencing less expensive and a top choice for homeowners, according to Gassett. “That seems to be one of the most popular (materials),” he says.

Vinyl Privacy Fencing Costs

According to Home Advisor, vinyl fencing costs $19 to $22 per linear foot. So if you need 100 feet of fencing, expect to pay $1,900 to $2,200. Costs can vary depending on fence design and color chosen. Fences designed to simulate the look of wood typically cost the most, while white fencing is often cheapest.

“If you have an eye to resale, you want to choose something that’s as neutral and as timeliness as it can be,” says Lindsay Barton Barrett, an associate real estate broker in New York with firm Douglas Elliman. She suggests avoiding anything that could look dated in the future.

In his experience, Gassett says the vast majority of homeowners hire a professional to install fencing. However, for someone who feels capable, this may be a project you can tackle on your own.

[Related:French Drains: How Much They Cost and How They Work]

Wood Fencing

Wood fencing includes materials such as cedar, pressure-treated lumber and more exotic hardwoods such as teak or ebony.

“The gold standard is really ipe,” Barton Barrett says. This dense wood features deep brown and amber hues and is known for being low maintenance and resistant to insects and rot. However, homeowners may find their choice of wood is limited right now as supply chain issues have left some construction materials in short supply.

Cedar fencing may be more common and traditional, but may not be readily available in all areas right now. Pressure-treated lumber lacks some of the character of other woods, but it can be more affordable and accessible. “Pressure-treated wood can weather in a really beautiful way over time,” Barton Barrett says.

Wood Privacy Fencing Costs

According to Home Advisor, on average, you can expect to pay $13-$26 per linear foot, depending on material.

However, pricing for wood privacy fences varies significantly based on the type of wood selected. Eight-foot panels of softwoods such as spruce or pine may cost as little as $60 in some parts of the country, but professional installation of hardwood fences can cost as much as $36 per linear foot.

Wood fencing may require digging holes and even pouring cement to hold posts, and Barton Barrett recommends using a professional for installation. “It seems like it might be easy, but you never really know what’s nine inches below the ground,” she says.

[Read: The Guide to Home Renovations.]

Brick or Stone Walls

Although out of the price range of many homeowners, a brick or stone wall is another option for those who want a privacy fence. “That’s (found) in the really high-end homes,” Gassett says.

Given the amount of time and level of skill required to properly install a wall, this project is likely outside the realm of DIY privacy fence ideas for most homeowners.

Cost to Install Brick or Stone Privacy Walls

Professional installation of a brick wall can be as much as $45 per square foot while stone walls may cost up to $80 per square foot, according to HomeAdvisor. That puts the national average price to install a brick or stone wall at $5,223, with a low end of $750 and a high end of $18,000.

However, there are stone and brick veneers available that can cut the cost by more than half.

Stone and brick walls may also lend themselves well to the addition of climbing vines and similar plants such as clematis. “They have a lot of pop and color in the summer,” Angelov says.

Regardless of which of these privacy fence ideas you choose, be sure to follow all local rules and regulations and double-check lot lines before you begin. Then, enjoy your backyard sanctuary without having to worry about making eye contact with your neighbor every time you go outside.

[See: Best Home Security Systems]

More from U.S. News

15 Secrets to Selling Your Home Faster

10 Interior Design Trends for 2022

The Best Free Interior Design Apps of 2023

Privacy Fence Ideas for Your Backyard originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 05/05/23: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up