Getting to know your neighbors is a great benefit of living in a suburb, but owning your own home also means that you can enjoy privacy when you need it. However, not all homes are built for privacy. Many neighborhoods have homes that are built close together, on small lots, with little space between houses. That setup is great for neighborhood barbecues and get-togethers, but not so great when you want to enjoy a relaxing day with your family in the privacy of your own backyard.
Fortunately, there are many ways to increase your home’s privacy without moving to a secluded cabin in the woods. Some of these projects can be completed in an afternoon, and some require a bit more planning and construction, but all are guaranteed to increase your home’s privacy, security, and comfort for your entire family.
Install privacy shades or blinds on your windows and doors
Windows and glass doors are perfect for bathing your home in beautiful natural light during the day and helping to warm it during the winter, but they can also make you feel exposed and vulnerable—especially at night or if your home is built close to other houses in your neighborhood. A quick and easy way to significantly increase your family’s privacy is to invest in privacy shades or blinds and install them on your windows and doors.
Not only are privacy shades perfect for completely blocking the view into your home, but they also act as insulators, keeping warm air in during the winter and hot air out during the summer. They’re also great for blocking outside noise from traffic, construction, lawn mowers, and other distractions.
Plant trees and hedges along your property line
Large trees and hedges are remarkably effective at increasing privacy both inside your home and in your outdoor areas. In fact, just a couple of well-placed trees, hedges, and other large plants can effectively block out both large amounts of sunlight and reduce visibility into windows and private gathering areas in your front or backyard.
While this solution is highly effective, it can take time to pay off, as you’ll have to wait until the trees and plants mature and grow large enough to provide the shade and privacy you need. But once the maturation process is complete, your home will not only have increased privacy, but also great curb appeal to potential buyers.
Build a fence
The most obvious solution to privacy issues at your home is to build a fence around any areas where you want more relaxation and less visibility. Fences are most people’s go-to project when their outdoor spaces feel too exposed and for good reason—a fence is a quick and easy way to reduce or eliminate visibility from the road or lower-level windows while also increasing your home’s security. Fences are also required by law in many places if you have a swimming pool on your property.
Fences can range in size and height, and it’s important to consider your home’s relative location compared to its surroundings as well as the height of buildings and homes nearby. If your outdoor space is relatively low-lying compared to the area surrounding it, you may need to build a fence that’s higher than normal to maximize privacy.
Frost or fog your windows
While installing privacy shades and blinds is a quick and easy way to guarantee privacy for your windows and doors, you may not want to completely block outside light at all times. Frosted and fogged windows are perfect solutions for this dilemma by allowing outside light to enter the room, while removing virtually all visibility. Applying frosting or fogging to your windows is often fairly inexpensive, and is perfect for bathrooms, garages, and laundry rooms.
Enclose your porch or patio
Although this is a more expensive option than many of the others on this list, it’s also one of the most effective ways of increasing the privacy of your outdoor spaces. Porches and patios are great entertaining areas, but they can feel exposed—especially if you live near homes with windows on the second floor with visibility over your fence or trees. Enclosing these spaces with screen or tinted glass can dramatically increase privacy and security while also providing increased shade and comfort for your family, friends, and guests.
Install a trellis
Not all homes are suitable candidates for installing large fences or planting trees and hedges to increase privacy. If you live in an urban area or a townhouse, your options may be more limited when it comes to boosting your home’s privacy, but it doesn’t mean you have to settle for your current situation. Installing a trellis in your patio or outdoor area reduces your susceptibility to prying eyes, while also giving you decorative options. You can hang plants from it or even grow ivy along the structure to further increase the privacy and shade that the trellis creates.
Secure your Internet connection
This tip may seem out of place compared to the others, but your family’s digital privacy is just as important as its physical privacy—especially as more and more people spend their time online for work, play, and socializing. Many people don’t think twice about the wireless networks in their homes, but many wireless connections are left completely unsecured or secured using outdated encryption methods and weak passwords.
To boost your home’s cyber privacy and security, make sure you are using an up-to-date router that was released within the past four or five years at minimum, as these typically have stronger encryption methods and security than older routers. Next, be sure to set up a protected password on your wireless connection— the more letters, numbers, and symbols you use in the password, the more difficult it will be to crack.
Finally, be careful giving out your wireless connection password and other sensitive information to your neighbors, and always make it a habit to change your password every couple of months.