Retreating to a patio or deck area is something to look forward to when spring is in full swing, throughout hot summer days and before the fall season becomes too crisp. At the end of a workday or over a weekend, this retreat can provide peace and quiet or be the favored place for entertaining. Full privacy complete with tall barriers, lush greenery and the total elimination of outside noises is not always possible or even desired. In fact, some smaller spaces can even feel too cloistered for comfort.
With a few easy changes and additions, patios can adopt a secluded feel. Two particular design angles, along with mixing and matching between the two, can help anyone achieve the look they want without the expense of a complete renovation while creating more privacy on patios and decks.
Perceived privacy provides a sense of seclusion without view-blocking barriers. Accessories that mask street noise, flooring that absorbs sound and furnishings arranged to create enclosed groupings are all popular techniques.
Rubberized pavers come in many styles and are easy for do-it-yourselfers to install. All-weather area rugs or bamboo mats are temporary options. A range of rug sizes in decorative colors and patterns will make any area feel more like home while absorbing sound and defining seating or bar furniture groupings.
Sectionals in all-weather resin wicker are not only an excellent way to add more seating in small spaces; they also reduce unwanted noises while providing the sense of secluded chat areas. Select closed weave construction and frames that feature high-rise modular armrests along with deep seat and back cushions for the best effect.
Replicating natures sounds not only blocks unpleasant noise, it creates soothing effects. Recirculating fountains in tabletop and freestanding sizes add sculptural elements in natural stone, copper, ceramic and other materials.
The effective use of lighting for nighttime activities enhances security and safety. In addition to illuminating the patio area, add perimeter lights that direct outward and down. The skirting effect detracts views from passers-by or neighbors to the edge and away from the center of activity.
Partial privacy involves providing a way to enjoy surroundings while inhibiting how others see in. Broken barriers at various heights eliminate the sense of confinement but will draw unwanted attention away from the focal area.
In smaller covered spaces, hanging planters or decorative seasonal baskets are excellent blocks. Stagger placement of pedestals to hold plants and the barrier appears even more inclusive. Bushy type plantings work best rather than taller trees.
Individual lattice panels or wrought iron trellises require anchoring at the edge of a deck or patio. Placed at intervals, there is still space in between for an enjoyable view, but from a distance, they present a sense of privacy. Sturdier units can serve a dual purpose with climbing vines planted to decorate the outer side while hook-mounted window boxes bringing color to the inside. Weather-resistant hinged-panel outdoor dividers are even easier to place strategically or relocate as needed. Teak is a popular choice along with rustic pine and cedar. Aluminum bakers racks and wood work benches provide space for seasonal decorations and are solid enough to stand alone as intermittent barriers.
If the tropics sound appealing, a freestanding tiki bar in bamboo with a thatched roof and enclosed base provides a solid, festive barrier. Add a matching pub table with stools in an arrangement behind furniture groupings as a view blocker.
With the addition of posts and overhead framework, roll-up bamboo or fabric shades are attractive, colorful installations. They can also help block late afternoon sun.
These simple techniques for adding privacy will benefit any large or small patio space.