How to Make Your Deck Feel More Private — These 5 Design Elements Will Help Screen Your Outdoor Space

Want to make your deck perfect for socializing but keep it far away from prying eyes? These suggestions will ensure quietude and coziness

An outdoor deck surrounded by trees
(Image credit: Marcelo Martinez. Design: Andrew Trotter)

Spring has sprung and there's no better time than now to enjoy the outdoors. But traffic noise, unsightly views, prying neighbors and even the wildlife around can throw off the vibes. This is why you need to invest in effective privacy ideas for your deck.

From architectural designs to carefully chosen plants and trees, there are several ways to give your deck more seclusion. Take a look at these useful ideas.

1. Add a roof over the deck

An outdoor area with a roof above the deck

(Image credit: Salva Lopez. Design: Studio Andrew Trotter)

To give your deck more privacy, consider a traditional awning or a custom roof that will offer protection from the sun, rain, and hail. A roof will also make the deck more inviting and cozy, allowing it to become a natural extension of the indoors. If you're going in for readymade coverings, you could consider a retractable one that you can unroll whenever you want. Otherwise, to give the deck a more earthy, natural feel, consider building one with organic materials.

Enhance the structure further with hanging baskets, planters, or light fixtures to make the space attractive to spend time in.

'For this deck, we chose tufo pillars, and wood beams and created the covering in bamboo for a natural feel,' says Andrew Trotter, founder of Studio Andrew Trotter.

2. Consider a fireplace

An outdoor space with a fireplace

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors)

An outdoor fireplace will not only add coziness to the deck but also seclusion when installed within tall stone or brick walls. These fireplaces create a gathering place and appeal to people because of their warmth and visual allure.

'When working on an outdoor fireplace, I love to ensure it serves as a focal point that anchors a seating area, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere,' says Marie Flanigan, founder of Marie Flanigan Interiors. 'By integrating elements of the surrounding landscape into the design, such as a natural stone, limestone, or a beautiful antique wood mantle, the fireplace should seamlessly blend with its surroundings. This thoughtful approach not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also harmonizes the outdoor space, creating a cohesive and relaxing retreat for gathering and entertaining.'

3. Bring in privacy trees

An outdoor deck surrounded by trees

(Image credit: Marcelo Martinez. Design: Andrew Trotter)

Walls and roof aside, tall trees and plants too can go a long way in creating seclusion in the backyard. These act as living walls and guard the deck from sights and even noise.

Choose best trees for privacy like the American Holly, Thuja Green Giant, Magnolia grandiflora and more.

'My favorite trees for adding more privacy and the feeling of being enveloped in green are Fastigiate Hornbeam for a deciduous option and Thuja plicata as an evergreen option,' says Kat Aul Cervoni, landscape designer and founder of Staghorn NYC and The Cultivation by Kat. 'Both are tall, narrow, and fast growing with beautiful foliage. If you have a very sunny and dry space, I would recommend Juniper as an alternative as they are better suited to those conditions. "Blue Point", "Spartan" and "Hetzii Columnaris" are all great cultivars.'

4. Install a fence

(Image credit: Suzanna Scott. Design: SkB Architects)

'My absolutely favorite material for fencing is cedar as it is naturally durable, insect-resistant, and a beautiful color,' says Kat. 'It doesn't require any sealant to be weatherproof and ages to a soft silvery gray. While not a cheap lumber, it's definitely a lot more affordable than a hardwood fence and still has the low-maintenance and long-lasting characteristics of pricier wood.'

Wood aside, vinyl, composite, and metal could be considered for privacy fence ideas.

5. Build a sunroom

A deck next to the pool

(Image credit: Eric Petschek. Design: Starling Architecture)

And finally, if your budget allows and if you want to create the most cozy socializing space outside, consider a lanai or a small sunroom.

When it comes to sunroom costs, the average price for a sunroom varies between $10,000 to $80,000; although these can tip over or under based on the materials used and the size of your outdoor space.

'The den is physically or visually connected to the pool deck, creating a constant sense of connectivity with the outdoors,' says Ian Starling, founder of Starling Architecture. 'Seating arrangements are angled to capture views of the building as well as the courtyard setting. Around the deck, and closer to the pool, we added a mixed hedge of evergreens shielding the house and pool deck from neighboring views, and two climbing roses providing color and scent throughout the summer.'

3 products to give the deck privacy

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast).  Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.