■ Chronicle News Service
(Metro Service) Living in close proximity to one’s neighbors has its benefits. But many homeowners would no doubt admit that privacy at home is a good thing. Whether homeowners are enjoying their yard in spring or summer or simply want their in-home activities to be less obvious to neighbors, privacy is a year-round concern and homeowners can take certain steps to ensure their homes stay or become the sanctuaries they were designed to be.
Window treatments and frosting: Windows allow natural light to enter a home, but windows also enable neighbors and others to see inside. If thieves are the ones looking inside, wide open windows present a security issue. Window treatments are an effective way to add privacy to a home.
Closing curtains or blinds limits others’ ability to see inside the house. Switch to more opaque window treatments when using interior lighting more often, as gossamer draperies may still make it possible for outsiders to understand what’s going on inside the home if people and items are backlit.
For those who do not want to compromise natural light, frosted windows can satisfy a desire for privacy. Windows can be purchased with frosting in place, and home improvement retailers sell various products that can create a frosted look.
Fencing and perimeter plantings: Privet hedge, arborvitae or Italian cypress are fast-growing evergreens that provide privacy around a home for homeowners who do not want to install traditional fencing. These trees also provide a natural habitat for various yard animals. Layering various plants of different heights and textures also can create a more natural and less imposing look.
Fencing remains a viable option to create privacy and stop noise pollution. Privacy fences come in various materials, colors and sizes, enabling homeowners to choose styles that fit their landscapes.
Pergolas and enclosed patios: Homeowners who like to entertain outdoors may want to make their outdoor living spaces more private. Pergolas allow light to filter through but obstruct direct view of patio activity, especially when combined with some gauzy draperies hanging on the sides. An enclosed patio or three-season room can be a worthwhile addition for homeowners who like to enjoy the great outdoors without being in the elements or on display for neighbors. Structures vary from screened-in porches to greenhouses to removable gazebos. Potted plants or trailing vines can soften the structural edges and help the privacy devices blend in with the natural surroundings.
Personal tactics: Homeowners who do not want their neighbors or others knowing what they’re up to in their free time can limit what they share through photos and descriptions on social media. Doing so also cuts down on neighbors’ curiosity.