A good start

Your first step should be to figure out where you need privacy and what visual intrusions you need to block. Usually, that means the areas of your backyard where you'll relax and entertain. Your property also might dictate the need for blocking views into front or side windows. Or, you may want to separate parts of your garden from one another (do this carefully, especially where space is limited, because too much division can cause confusion and crowding).

Next choose the method. Privacy most often is obtained with plantings, fences, or screens.

And always remember the golden rule. If your plans will affect your neighbors, talk to them early in the planning stage. For instance, where fences are few, people may just need reassurance that your intentions are not unfriendly. The neighbors may be as amenable to the idea as you and even agree to share the cost.

If a tree that will give your patio privacy also will block your uphill neighbor's view, try another solution, such as an overhead arbor.

Before starting to build or plant, it always is best to know exactly where property lines lie. Check laws and regulations, too, concerning the placement and height offences, walls, and other permanent structures.

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