Backyard Privacy

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After a hard day’s work, you arrive home eager to enjoy a meal on your deck or patio, only to look over and see your neighbors staring right back at you. Small lots, heavy traffic and loud neighbors can take the joy out of your backyard. There are plenty of steps you can take to make your outdoor living space more private and relaxing. But first things first: Always check with your village or homeowners association about restrictions on material and height.

A wooden fence is the most obvious way to add privacy to your yard. They are also the fastest and cheapest route. Many home improvement centers will have prefabricated sections of wood that which can easily be installed in a couple of hours. If wood is not the look you’re going for, vinyl is also a great option. Vinyl usually resists discoloring and is sold in an array of styles and colors.

Brick, stone or cinder blocks are other routes you can take. This route is more expensive, and usually requires a certified bricklayer. These three can be more attractive and longer lasting barriers, but be sure not to make your property look like a prison. Homeowners often build a shorter wall when using these materials, or they decorate it with plenty of flowers and colors. Some who use cinder block will paint it to match the home or cloak it in vines or ivy.

If a fence is not your style, why not try evergreens or shrubs. Plant them in a zigzag order, which will give them better sunlight and will create a fuller effect. Boxwood, yew, arborvitae, and juniper are among the most popular hedge plants in the United States. A knowledgeable landscaper can advise you on which hedge will suit your situation the best.

If you’re looking to section off a smaller area of your backyard, a latticed, louvered wood, ornamental iron or stained glass partition can help create a cozy space. I would suggest anchoring any partitions into the ground so they will not be easily torn loose during storms or high wind gusts. This option will not provide complete privacy, but it can block views from certain angles along with adding visual interest to your landscaping. Fabric drapes are an easy, inexpensive way to make a patio, porch,or deck more intimate. Or you can try adding an awning or roof covering to create a more secluded area.

Complete your project with a water feature, which can help drown out the noise from your neighbors and traffic. A fountain can be so soothing! If in the future you put your home on the market, potential buyers will love what you’ve done to your place!

For more, call 847-292-4700, e-mail or visit

About Giuseppe Zerillo

Giuseppe Zerillo is the managing broker and owner of Zerillo Realty Inc. He is active on many boards, serving as village trustee of Harwood Heights and corporate secretary for Casa Italia. In 2011, he received the IANU Foundation's 2011 David Award for outstanding promise in the field of real estate, and in 2012 he was honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission for his community outreach. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back, he donates to several charities and raises money for children with disabilities.

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