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The first week of May is the American Library Association’s Choose Privacy Week. The theme is about keeping personal data safe and valuing our privacy, especially online. Sounds like the opposite of oversharing on social media.

At Buzz, we think keeping some things private is an excellent idea. In fact, it’s so excellent that we figure, why should librarians have all the fun? May is a good time to think about both your private data and your real-world, tangible, privacy fence. So this week we’re going to talk about valuing your backyard privacy.

Check the Rules

Okay, are you ready to plan your fortress? Before you go for a solid 12-foot stone wall, better check your local laws and any HOA requirements. Most communities have laws about how high a fence can be. For example, if you live in Dallas, you’re allowed to build a four-foot fence around your front yard, and a nine-foot fence in the back. If you live in a historic district, the rules may be different.

Does your vision absolutely call for a higher fence? Apply for a permit before spending your time and energy building.

Privacy Fence Materials

Chain link is clearly out unless you grow a lot of thick vines through the holes. Wood and vinyl are your best bets. Wood is beautiful and classic, but is spendier and requires more upkeep. A high-quality vinyl fence looks almost as good as wood.

Designing Your Privacy Fence Design

Your best long-term wood privacy solution is probably a board-on-board fence. This means the boards overlap, allowing no looky-loos to see what you’re doing in your backyard. Stockade fences are another option, with their tightly pressed together boards. However, over time, small gaps can develop in stockade fences. Board-on-board costs a little more but is worth it.

What if we don’t want our houses to look like fortresses? You can soften the look by choosing privacy judiciously. If a busy street runs by one side of your property, perhaps your fence can be taller and denser there, while a quieter side of your property could have a shorter fence with more widely-spaced boards. A stair-step design, with taller parts of the fence in strategic places, can also be less overwhelming than a solid fence.

Let your landscape help

Further beautify your privacy fence with landscaping. Some nicely placed arborvitae look attractive, block your neighbors’ view, and are less likely to face municipal height restrictions. If you have a large yard, consider the shade and privacy provided by fast-growing English laurels, which top off at about 20 feet high and 20 feet wide. Yews also grow tall but are only a few feet wide. Your local nursery worker can help you decide the best privacy trees and shrubs for your space, soil and amount of sunlight.

Fence Design Help

At Buzz, our expert designers are just a phone call away. We know all about adding privacy and have upped the tranquility and beauty of many a backyard. Celebrate Choose Privacy Week by calling us and we’ll help make your yard a serene private sanctuary.