Deck Designs Get Cozy With Privacy Screens

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As popular as outdoor living areas have become, there’s often one essential thing missing when lounging on your backyard deck. Privacy.
Many suburbanites love their wood or composite decks and would hang out there all day. But sometimes tanning, having a romantic dinner or just chatting with friends on the deck can seem like being in a fish bowl. Fix that feeling by installing a privacy screen or two in strategic spots.
Block the view and allow yourself to really live while you’re outside.


Multi Purposes
Privacy screens are great for more than just keeping peeping toms away. Screens can provide shade in the early morning or later afternoon.
Installing a privacy screen is also a great way to provide a wind block to protect sensitive patio plants. Or just to set up a comfortable dining area without fear of everything being blown away by a sudden gust.
Design Considerations
The keys to well designed privacy screens are location and size.
You need to put the screen (or screens) in just the right spot. Find out what your neighbor’s can see – either ask them or just make an educated observation. Also consider where it is you like to hang out. Maybe you have a favorite corner with a grand view. Put the screens around or beside that area to create a private nook.
Also consider the height and length of your screen. Don’t make it too long or it begins to resemble a wall and your deck will look off balance. Same goes for height, although that gets a little trickier.
If your neighbor’s are looking down from above (as in their second story window), there’s not much a screen can do to block them. You can, however, install two screens at a perpendicular angle and run a simple pergola between them. Grow some vines on top or hang fabric and you have excellent privacy and shade.
Building a screen that’s too high, even when you need to block the neighbor’s view, can seem very imposing. You’re aiming to create a cozy atmosphere, not Fort Knox, so don’t go ultra high. Usually 6 feet is the max, although some larger decks can stretch that to 7 feet.
The ideal privacy screen in the perfect spot will form just the right atmosphere for your deck. A spot where you can be yourself without fear of prying eyes. A spot where you can wear and do whatever you want. Then the deck becomes just like your living room – except with a little more sunshine.

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Timothy Dahl

Timothy Dahl

Founder/EIC at Charles & Hudson
Timothy’s background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Woman’s Day. His work has been published on Wired Design, Bob Vila, DIY Network, The Family Handyman and Popular Mechanics and he has been featured on the Martha Stewart radio show and as a speaker at the ALT Design Summit, K/BIS and the National Hardware Show.