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For The Home

Creating Backyard Privacy

Author: Chirstina Forrest, ALLIED ASID
Issue: April, 2014, Page 48
illustration BY Daniel Eastburn, Architect

We are remodeling our backyard to match our Contemporary taste and want to include an outdoor living area. The challenge is that our house backs up to a canal that has a lot of foot traffic on weekends. How can we gain privacy and still allow the space to feel open and airy?

Start with a large focal point, such as a fireplace, that diverts attention from any unwanted views and establishes a central gathering space. To soften, add dimension, and form an interesting backdrop, frame the sides of the fireplace with trellised vines, planting beds, or potted patio trees.

If building codes allow, extend the height of your property wall, but make it an integral piece of the space instead of a barrier. Consider umbrellas or a shade sail in lieu of a gazebo, which can feel closed in. Use plants to create natural screens or train vines to grow on a trellis mounted to your wall.

Select a fresh color–like lilac–for the walls and repeat the hue in flowering plants, accessories and cushions. For patio flooring, a soft-colored option such as a creamy limestone will keep the space light and airy. Then consider adding something black, such as a lantern, to contrast with the lighter tones.

Choose furniture that is the appropriate scale for the space. Clean lines and fewer pieces, such as a U-shaped sectional or a grouping of one sofa and two chairs (instead of four chairs) will make the space feel larger. Anchor the seating with a large platform ottoman to form a welcoming conversation grouping.
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