Creating Privacy at Home – A guide to screening indoors and out
So you found that perfect lot to build your custom home…except there are very few lots available without some sort of drawback to overcome. Finding a lot that fits most of your needs is a great win and if you can work through those few remaining obstacles, you’ve got it made. Creating privacy for your home and outdoor living space can be a challenge. For example, are your neighbors a little too close? They might be great neighbors right now – but what if they sell and move? Creating a privacy screening plan starts with using ideas and integrating it into your unique needs. Putting in the effort upfront to ensure privacy can make all the difference for future enjoyment of your home.
Types of Privacy Screening for Custom Mountain Homes
- Terraced Landscaping
- Deck Railing Choices
Trees used for screening around your home is often dictated by the region the home is located in. Temperature, sun exposure, wind, and elevation makes a big impact on the types of trees chosen. Deciduous trees can provide good screening (as well as shade) during the summer months when they are leafed out. But during the winter months they may not provide the privacy that you are looking for. Pine trees can give the needed screening, but may block the warming winter sun. A big advantage of trees is they can grow much taller than other screening choices, but they could take several years to get there if you are starting with saplings. Consider the existing trees on your lot and if they can be incorporated into your overall plan.
Shrubs or hedges depending on the size and shape can create low level privacy while still maintaining views above it. Mature heights vary from types of shrubs selected, which should be considered during planning or placement. Are there some undesirable views that could be buffered with some greenery? Sometimes, it can look less permanent than a wall, while still screening out the undesirable.
Boulders strategically placed create more natural barriers to your property. The size and placement depends on your budget and desired outcome. Boulders used in rock retaining walls placed around outdoor living space can help give some seclusion. Adding shrubbery along the wall will only increase its benefits. Private outdoor space can enhance your home environment and elevate the experience of backyard entertaining.
Terraced landscaping is a great way to expand privacy screening of your custom home. This incorporates rock retaining walls mixed with shrubs and trees. Depending on what you want to block out, you can select the level and intensity of plantings in certain areas. It’s a more natural look that creates simple privacy which blends into the mountain environment.
Walls are a more permanent solution and creates a more solid type of screening. The advantage of building walls is that they provide good sight blocking, while trees and shrubs don’t give as solid of screening effect. Trees and shrubs also need water and proper care. Effective use of walls in the backyard can create well defined space. For example, it can shield outdoor kitchens and living areas, making a cozy environment.
Fences provide different types of screening for privacy. Solid fencing is good but may stop some sunlight and put that area in the shade depending on time of day. Slated fencing cuts down on the line of sight, and still lets some light through depending on the type and width of the slats. Materials have advanced dramatically in recent years that provide low maintenance options. It may be more expensive up front, but can be much more cost effective in the long run. Fences create an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ feel – hiding the neighbors and their prying eyes. Another benefit is that fences come in all a multitude of heights, colors and styles. They are also great at keeping ‘man’s best friend’ corralled within your yard – and keep other animals out. Fences ultimately define your space and lets others know that the area is private.
Enhance home privacy with deck railings. Decks are a great way to expand your living space, and are a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors. Simple design ideas, such as solid railing can block out unwanted attention, give a more secluded feel. But that isn’t your only choice and may be undesirable, depending on your needs. The more transparent your railing becomes, the more sunlight shines. You may also have great views you don’t want to hide. You will need to consider if sunlight and unobstructed views are more important than privacy.
Roller your way to privacy with blinds. Blinds have come a long way over the years. From simple roller shades to fully automatic, cordless and even app-controlled digital shades, there is a window treatment out there to fit every need. You can choose what to block out, as well as how much light to let in – from sheer to full block. The versatility of the products means that anytime, day or night, you can shield the interior of your home from solicitors, curious neighbors and the delivery guy.
Adding Privacy to your Home
Which choice is best for your home? Every custom home has a specific look, and privacy screening should play into that design. From the inside out, it needs to have a flow that looks natural. Location of where your home is built on the property also plays a part in what to screen out or not. Remember, it may take several options melded together to get the look you are after. For example, you may want to mark the lot line or perimeter of your home but a fence may take away from the look and design of the house. Incorporating trees, shrubs and boulders would not only delineate the property, but also fit more naturally with a rural mountain landscape. Solid deck railing would also provide some privacy but you don’t want to cover up those incredible views from your living room with blinds. Your bedroom on the other hand, needs complete room darkening shades for that great night’s sleep. The choices you make are personal and should be customized to your unique wants and needs. Plans that work with your home design and environment along with your goals work the best. One final thing to consider – most homes today are built within planned communities that have rules and regulations regarding exterior design and landscaping. Local ordinance may also have limitations on what you can do. It’s best to check with your town as well as community design review prior to putting your plan into action.