We have just finished a year that forced many homeowners to spend more quality time than they were used to with their outdoor living space. And for some homeowners, 2020 made them realize they need a stronger sense of privacy so that they can more comfortably enjoy their backyard. Here is how to build a fence that still manages to brighten an outdoor living space in Morris County and Bergen County, NJ.
Privacy Fencing: Start With an Open Design
It may seem counterintuitive that a privacy fence could also feel airy and open, but it can, with the right design. There are several ways to approach privacy, including completely blocking the view with a solid fence or partially blocking the view with a fence that has some openings such as a latticework fence.
Fences that completely block views do the job of creating a cozy, private space, but they can also make a space feel closed in, dark, and even small. If you are not a fan of the cozy look yet you want to completely block the view, you could designate the top part of the fence for a more open design. For example, as many privacy fences are 6 feet tall, you could reserve the top foot of your mostly solid fence for latticework.
If you are considering a full lattice fence, this solution provides visual separation but not complete privacy. You could grow vines on an area of the fence to add a dimensional touch as well as greenery, but be aware that vines can be unexpectedly heavy and may put a strain on the fence.
Choose the Right Colors
White fences tend to reflect the most light and bring a sense of brightness and openness to your outdoor living space. Whether the fence is primarily for privacy or more for decoration, it can be hard to beat the charm of a whitewashed picket fence (or a maintenance-free vinyl fence), or the simple elegance of criss-crossed wooden slats in pure sparkling white. If white is too much of a contrast against the greenery of the landscape—or if white just does not match your home’s architecture (for example, if your home is rustic or starkly modern)—then you could go with the timeless appeal of natural, unstained wood. Lighter colors reflect more light and add to the brightness of the space. But, if a fence isn’t intended for privacy, a dark aluminum fence with narrower pickets (the vertical elements) will tend to blend in surprisingly well with the surroundings and create a more cohesive look—there won’t be a visual break between what’s on one side of the fence and what is on the other side. This tactic also contributes to an open, airy feeling in your outdoor living space.
Make the Right Material Choices
Privacy fences tend to be made of wood or vinyl. For fences not concerned with privacy, you could choose thicker pickets of wood or vinyl and ensure they’re a light color, or you could choose thinner pickets of aluminum that allow for more space between slats and let in more light for a more open look.