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Are you looking for ways to increase the privacy of your backyard? Privacy is a valued component of any yard, but many homeowners find it a challenge to select the right kind of privacy fence or screen to match their preferences and budget. What works for one neighbor might not be a good fit for your home, which can make the decision-making process feel overwhelming.

With so many options available, how do you figure out the best type of fence or screen for your home and yard? Research is key. As you educate yourself on the pros and cons of different privacy options, you learn which elements are important to you.

Let’s explore two popular choices amongst homeowners – privacy fences and privacy screens. Oftentimes, the two options can be combined for privacy perfection.

What is the Difference?

Most homeowners are familiar with privacy fencing. Commonly installed along property lines, these fences delineate property boundaries, keep animals and children from wandering off, and limit the view onto your property.

A privacy screen can apply to a variety of different structures that partially, mostly, or completely block the view of a smaller section of your property. These screens can incorporate a variety of materials such as lattice, bamboo, fabric, or fencing boards mounted with gaps in between. The style, height, and length of the screening is up to you and depends on what you are trying to achieve.

How to Choose the Best Option for You

When deciding whether to install a fence or screen, there are numerous factors you should consider.

The Purpose – What are you trying to achieve? What are you hoping to accomplish?

For example, if you want to close off a whole yard, then a privacy screen isn’t for you. You need a privacy fence to enclose an entire area.

Is your goal to provide a safe, secure yard that can keep in children or pets and keep out unwanted visitors? Once again, a privacy screen is not the right fit. A fence that wraps around your outdoor living space is the ideal solution.

The Area – How much privacy do you need?

A screen is typically used to provide privacy to a small area, like a deck, patio, or garden. To keep an entire backyard private, constructing a fence is the better choice.

The Size – Do you want the privacy that comes with an eight-foot privacy fence? Or will a privacy screen meet your needs?

A privacy screen is not designed to be a massive structure. They are only as large as they need to be to do their job. On the other hand, a privacy fence is much larger, which allows it to provide much more privacy.

Privacy fences and screens can be different heights based upon your preference. A standard privacy fence is six feet tall. If you want extra security to prevent curious neighbors (or strangers) from peeking into your space, then an eight-foot fence is worth the investment.

The Look – Are you trying to achieve a particular aesthetic look to your outdoor living space? Do you want your privacy structure to match the architectural style of your home and yard?

A privacy screen can be used as a decorative piece in your yard, while also serving a functional purpose. Privacy screens come in all sorts of styles, shapes, and sizes. A screen can elevate the look of a yard and provide a unique pop of color and texture.

You can add design elements to privacy fences too. To change an ordinary fence into a decorative privacy fence, consider including post caps, accent boards, and trim.

The Location – How large an area do you want to keep private?

A privacy fence is meant to run along long borders of your property setting boundaries in addition to keeping prying eyes out. A privacy screen is meant to be just a panel or two in a specific area such as around a dining area, firepit, or patio.

The Durability – Are you looking for a sturdy structure that can withstand wear and tear for years upon years?

If you have little ones, furry friends, or even large animals, a privacy fence is a must. A privacy fence provides more than just privacy. It provides an enhanced level of security.

A privacy screen does not act as a physical barrier like a fence does.

The Cost – Are you on a tight budget?

The cost of a fence will be significantly more than a screen. Building a fence requires more time and materials, which naturally increases the price of a fence compared to a screen.

Don’t Forget to Verify Your City Regulations

No matter the route you go, make sure to check the rules of your city (and HOA, if you have one) before beginning construction. Do not start your privacy project or even buy supplies until you verify the regulations surrounding fences and screens for your particular location.

You might be required to pull a permit and follow certain building guidelines as well. Zoning laws often regulate style, height, and materials. Many homeowners have discovered the hard way that not checking with your local planning department turns into a costly mistake.

Fence Versus Screen?

Who doesn’t love spending time in a private backyard where you can enjoy quality time with friends and family and without the neighbors prying eyes. A privacy fence, a privacy screen, or a combination of the two can accomplish just that.

Think about the reasons why you want more privacy and consider the amount of privacy you hope to achieve. Your answers can help you come up with a plan that best matches your needs.

Do you now feel prepared to make a decision? Start by contacting your local fence wholesalers for materials, then get ready to enjoy your newfound privacy.


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