A fence topper will give you extra privacy in your backyard – these on-trend options pair style with seclusion

If you're in search of some solitude or extra privacy in your backyard, fence toppers are the stylish solution to an overlooked yard

A backyard with a wooden fence and a trellis fence topper
(Image credit: Getty)

Sunny afternoons spent lazing in a lounger are just around the corner, but if your backyard is overlooked by your neighbors it can be hard to fully feel relaxed. Fences are the intuitive landscaping answer, but they only go so far (quite literally). For a stylish yet functional solution to extra privacy, a fence topper could be just what you need. 

What many of us don't realize is that it's easy to add modular panels to the top of our fences for some extra height with some basic DIY. Not only are they a fresh landscaping idea for your yard, but they're the best way to turn your outdoor space into a more secluded spot without replacing your fence entirely. 

They are plenty of options out there to suit your style, too. From wooden lattices for your plants to climb to slatted metal panels for a chic, urban feel, there's a fence topper out there to fit your backyard. Here, we take a look at some of the best to buy right now so you can enjoy a well-deserved moment of solitude this summer. 

How to choose the right fence topper for extra privacy

A backyard with a wooden fence and a trellis fence topper with pink flowers growing along it

(Image credit: Getty)

The thing to love about fence toppers is, they don't only serve a functional purpose as a privacy fence idea, but they play an aesthetic role, too. 'I love adding a fence topper for an extra bit of detail to a garden space,' says Kat Aul Cervoni, landscape designer at Staghorn NYC. 'Whether it’s horizontal skinny slats on top of a standard board-width fence or a criss-cross lattice design, I find that it adds a beautiful layer and texture to the space.'

If you have an existing wooden fence and want to stick with your natural theme, then a lattice fence topper is the way to go. Despite the trellis structure, they add just the right amount of extra privacy while still letting plenty of light through. 'In some cases, these can also help support additional plantings, such as twining vines,' says Kat. If the idea of disguising your fence with a living wall appeals, take a look at the best plants to cover a fence

Wood lattice toppers needn't be reserved for uniform wooden fences, either. 'For example, an old, low brick garden wall can be brought up to full height with the addition of a skinny-slat wooden lattice which helps meld the old with the new while adding the privacy you crave,' says Kat.  Before you buy, it's important to remember that some municipalities have height restrictions on fencing so make sure you're not exceeding the legal restriction in your area. In most cases, it's six feet. 

Best trellis fence toppers

Best metal fence toppers

If you're a fan of a more industrial feel in your urban courtyard garden, a decorative metal fence topper might be more suited to your space. According to Kat, it's currently all about slats. 'Horizontal skinny slats are definitely still the most popular fence topper style this season and they can be done in wood or metal,' she says. 'I like designing these with 1⁄2”-1” spacing between the slats for light and airflow.'

The benefit of metal toppers is they come in a wider range of styles. From rustic cut-outs to patterned frames, the choice is yours. 'Think about whether or not you want this to be a point of interest,' notes Kat. 'Do you want it to be a true design element or would you rather it remain purely practical and fade into the background? This can help you decide whether to do with a simpler look, or something more ornate or unique.'

Lilith Hudson
Staff Writer

Lilith Hudson is the Staff Writer on Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.