Prying eyes and scorching rays should never be a part of the equation, especially when you’re lounging by the pool or swaying in your hammock. Your back yard should be its own little nature preserve with plenty of privacy and shade. Here are a few simple tools to keep the nosy neighbors out and the cool temps in.
Pergolas and gazebos. Wooden, overhead structures create defined spaces perfect for entertaining. For optimum shade, grow vines (such as wisteria, grapes, climbing roses and bougainvillea) on top of a pergola roof to fill in the open grid. Learn more about the popularity of pergolas and even instructions on how to build one.
- Umbrellas and awnings. An easy, practical solution. There are more than 500 umbrellas available at the Home Depot (many UV protected), making it a breeze to choose the right shape for your table and the right color for your décor. For 360-degree shade, pick one with a tilt and crank function. When it comes to awnings, many manufacturers maintain that a cloth overhang can actually keep your deck or patio up to 20 degrees cooler. And some models are even motorized with a remote.
- Arbors and trellises. Climbing vines can easily snake their way up the latticework, creating both seclusion and cover. The structures also add architectural interest and provide a place to hang plants, garden art and lights.
- Living walls. This could be as simple as a row of dense hedges or as elaborate as a towering stack of plants. Gardeners are getting really creative with their plant varieties and designs, even installing irrigation systems. Think of it as a piece of art.
- Walls and fences. Nothing blocks a view like a good, old-fashioned rock wall or wood fence. Even a short railing encloses a deck, adding to that retreat feel.