Decks can leave one feeling exposed and uncomfortable without some kind of definition both above and at the edges. It is possible to enhance deck privacy and enclosure if the deck site lacks the necessary natural attributes.
It's a good idea to consider privacy first. If the proposed site is at the least exposed side of the house, at a corner where the main structure of the home meets a wing or tucked behind a retaining wall or hedge, privacy probaly will not be an issue. Also if the site is isolated from the house or is on an elevated hill above the surrounding views, the deck design may not need to be altered. However, if the deck is not effectively screened from the street and from a neighbor's view, then it will be necessary to add a fence, a wall, trees or shrubs to the plan. Fences create privacy and security but with a little thought they can also contribute beauty to the landscape. Climbing vines or hanging baskets full of cascading foliage and flowers can add color and texture to perimeter fencing for little expense and effort.
These same elements have the capacity to produce a sense of enclosure but so will benches, garden beds and other features. Overhead space can also affect the comfort level of deck occupants. So an outdoor ceiling or overhead such as an arbor, pergola or tree limbs is an possible consideration.
Walls and fences make attractive additions to an outdoor space design by connecting the deck to the larger landscape and adding a vertical contrast to the horizontal expanse of the lawn.
Walls and fences can define space giving it an identity that suits its purpose. They can create privacy, tame slopes, block annoying winds, form backgrounds for decorative accents and hide unsightly utility devices and areas. Walls and fences can make large areas seem less imposing by dividing them into smaller ones.
There are obvious walls such as fences, hedges and the sides of the house. But there are also walls that are not as obvious. These are perceived walls that include low hedges, built-in or freestanding benches, planters, changes in deck levels, posts that support an overhead, plants, shrubs and small trees. Anything that separates the deck from the rest of the world or separates one area of the deck from another can be considered a wall. Erecting solid walls, fences or dense hedges to divide property into divided spaces can result in separate but isolated areas. Perceived walls, however, suggest the separation without isolating the areas from one another. They interrupt both visual and actual movement but they do not block views. As a result they direct traffic effectively and define space without creating a feeling of claustrophobia.
Another means of creating deck privacy and enclosure is through the use of screening which simply involves the careful placing of plants, fences, walls, trellises and other stuctures. The amount of screening required will depend upon on how each area of the deck is to be used. Cozy, intimate places for conversation, reading, sunbathing or meditation should provide lots of privacy. These areas need to be screened with walls, high fences or dense evergreen plantings. Active areas for family gatherings, child play and parties require less privacy. Partial screening is the answer such as latticework fences, airy trees or walls with available seating.
The placement of privacy screens is an important consideration. The closer to the deck area, the more privacy is created. The farther from the deck area, the less privacy.
Few decks require screening around the entire perimeter. Plan the screening to block the most revealing view first. The idea is to enhance privacy without barricading the outdoor deck space.
For maximum privacy as well as security install a solid wall, a fence or dense hedge. These structures can function as effective boundaries that can retain children and pets within the yard and keep unwanted visitors out. They make an ideal backdrop for garden beds where flower borders, ponds, fountains and sculpture will stand out dramatically and enhance the aesthetic look of the yard.
Selecting materials for outdoor walls and fences offers another excellent design opportunity. There are a tremendous number of choices but the goal should be to select materials that suit the style of the home and the landscape. A solid brick wall can look classic and imposing. Interlocking concrete blocks suit most home styles. An evergreen hedge or closely planted row of roses can create a colorful and attractive barrier that is almost inpenetrable.
Homeowners are only limited by their imaginations and willingness to experiment with creative and different ways of creating deck privacy and enclosure.
Richard Vande Sompel is a professional deck builder of 35 years and over 850
decks built and is the author of "How to Plan, Design and Build a Deck from
Start to Finish". To Discover More About
Deck Privacy and Claim your 2
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