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Alfresco dining and lazy afternoons spent reading on a lounger are just a few blinks away. This season however, rather than using parasols to offer some solitude and shade it's all about privacy screens, and IKEA has some of the best to buy right now.
Whether you have a sprawling backyard or just a tiny patio, privacy screens are, as the name suggests, the best way to create a secluded spot for a moment's respite in the sun's rays. They're also an excellent way to landscape a homely outdoor living room idea, even in the smallest of backyards, allowing you to zone your outdoor areas for chilling, socializing, cooking, and more.
Here, we select our favorite screens from our Scandi friends at IKEA, with a few words of advice on how to incorporate them into your space from a professional landscape gardener.
Why are outdoor privacy screens such a good idea?
Before we take a look at the options for your backyard, you might be wondering why you should bother with a privacy screen in the first place.
First off, there's the matter of privacy. For city dwellers, a screen is one of the most convenient ways to offer a little extra seclusion. If you have a rooftop garden, a balcony, or a small backyard in a shared block, screens are the best way to get a quiet reprieve away from any nosey neighbors. (Or even if you just want your own spot in the corner of your backyard away from the rest of the family.)
'Privacy screens also allow people to feel comfortable hanging out in their garden space at different times of day and of the year, particularly in the colder months or early spring before the usual amount of greenery is around to give coverage,' says Kat Aul Cervoni, found and principal landscaper at Staghorn. 'They can also help block unattractive views or elements in adjacent yards such as a neighbor's utilities, or a building in disrepair.'
Besides their practical uses, many of us are now recognizing the potential of screens in our landscaping ideas. 'Given that they are often tall and narrow, they offer an easy way to add unique patterns, color and structure to a garden space without taking up a large footprint,' adds Kat. 'Depending on the design, a screen can also be used as a lattice to grow ornamental vines on and can provide a beautiful backdrop for ornamental plantings helping them to pop.'
Our top picks of IKEA privacy screens
For stylish an budget friendly decor ideas, we can always count on IKEA. They've tapped into the outdoor living trend with a few decorative privacy screens that we couldn't resist sharing.
For a privacy screen that looks right at home in a natural backyard, the NÄMMARÖ is a perfect choice. Made from acacia wood that's perfect for a calming Japandi style, this freestanding screen looks just as good within your wild garden or on your minimalist rooftop terrace where it can also be used as a support for climbing plants. It also comes as a multifunctional variation with a built-in storage box, too.
The vertical slat design lets in just the right amount of light to keep your spot secluded without feeling too enclosed. 'This season, I’m definitely seeing the return to these wooden screens and fencing with vertical board orientation,' notes Kat. 'Specifically, the skinny slat style which lends itself well to more modern/ contemporary garden spaces, and also looks fabulous alongside all-things Mid-Century.'
Perfect for creating a comfy living room feel outdoors, the wooden slatted NÄMMARÖ screen is a beautiful addition to your backyard. Whether you have a small terrace or a large garden, this free-standing screen is perfect for offering a shady, secluded spot.
If you're after a lighter feel, the metal LUNGÖN screen with its decorative pattern and white coloring is a pretty way to add more privacy to your backyard or terrace. Also freestanding, you can line several up in your space to act as a partition to zone a seating area, or you can use a single one within your flower beds as a landscape feature (it can even be used indoors as a room divider, too).
'Stamped metal screens or woven lattices can be decorative pieces in their own right and can be placed within a garden bed without looking out of place,' Kat explains. 'I think this is especially the case when vines are grown on it.'
For an understated screen, try IKEA's metal LUNGÖN. The delicately patterned holes still offer a little bit of light and airflow, and they also make the perfect foundation for some climbing plants. This screen can also double up as an indoor room divider, too.
This traditional style three-panel screen can be adapted to fit any space, even the smallest of balcony. The grey material offers plenty of privacy and shade, while still allowing enough light to pass through, a point that Kat considers especially important.
'Unless it’s absolutely necessary, I always recommend screens that are at least minimally transparent in some way,' says Kat. 'A completely solid privacy screen can feel overly heavy and darken a space while a bit of light and airflow coming through feels much airier without really sacrificing privacy. You also get the added benefit of beautiful shadow play throughout the day.'
The slightly transparent YTTERSKÄR privacy screen can be used to create the feeling of a separate room on your balcony or patio. The three panels and four poles allow you to position it in different ways to adapt it to your space and shield you from the sun throughout the day.
How to use a privacy screen to zone an outdoor living area
Outdoor living is one of the best perks of summer. Whether cooking up a feast in an outdoor kitchen or hosting friends in an outdoor living room, there a plenty of ways to make our outside spaces as sociable (and design-centered) as our indoor ones. Sometimes, though, creating these separate zones can be difficult, especially if space is limited.
That's where privacy screens come in. You can either treat them as partition walls, closing off one space (such as the decking) where another one starts (like the lawn). Alternatively, a screen can simply be a feature used to distinguish a certain area, acting as a sort of man-made structure in an otherwise natural space.
'For a backyard living space, I recommend using them to help frame out the seating area, usually orienting them so that they are a sort of backdrop for the largest piece of furniture such as the sofa, or parallel to the long side of the dining table,' Kat says. 'However, the specifics of this all depend on what direction you are needing privacy screening from and what the shape of your patio or deck allows.'
For a secluded spot that doesn't sacrifice aesthetic design, screens are a summer must-have. If there's one multifunctional feature to buy for your backyard this season, make it one of these.
Can't get to IKEA? Try one of these privacy screens instead
For an understated look, try this wicker reed fencing screen from Amazon, with natural reeds offering the perfect opacity. This roll of fencing can be cut to size and erected with stakes and then used as a screen, fencing, or as a wall covering.
This chevron patterned privacy screen from Walmart is perfect for your outdoor oasis. Made from powder-coated iron, it can withstand weather all year round while the black color makes for a modern feel in your outdoor space.
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For style leaders and design lovers.
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.
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