The Best Ways to Make Your Balcony More Private

The Best Ways to Make Your Balcony More Private

Nice weather means more time spent outside, whether in your yard, on your porch, or out on your apartment or condo balcony. But balconies don’t always offer a lot of privacy, and it can be awkward when your neighbours can easily see into your personal space. Thankfully, there are a handful of ways to easily block others’ views while maintaining yours — with a little extra shade and style thrown in.

(Before making any final decisions, check with your landlord or HOA as well as any local building codes to ensure you aren’t breaking any rules.)

Privacy screens

Freestanding privacy screens are probably the simplest option for protecting your balcony from prying eyes, as they can be put up, taken down, and moved around as needed, and they work well in conjunction with the plants discussed below. There are lots of options to fit your style and space — just be sure to purchase screens that are heavy and stable enough not to topple over.


Outdoor curtains or drapes can offer both privacy and shade and are relatively easy to install using a curtain rod or tension rope. Curtains can be tied back when you want more sun, and they still allow airflow on your balcony. Look for curtains made of sturdy, weather-resistant fabric. Gauzy drapes will provide privacy while still letting a lot of light in.

Shade sail

If you have an open balcony or terrace that can be viewed from above (from taller buildings around you, for example), a shade sail is a good bet for privacy. Shade sails are triangular or rectangular, come in different colours, and can be anchored to walls or sturdy posts to increase shade and seclusion. Be sure to look up any building codes or HOA restrictions before installing a shade sail.

Plants, plants, plants

If you can and want to keep up with their care, there are a handful of ways to arrange plants to increase privacy on your balcony. Tall plants or plants with large leaves — oleander, fatsia japonica, or Chusan palm may be good options — in large pots or on plant stands offer a barrier as well as shade. You could also place a container garden or smaller potted plants on a patio table or add a row of outdoor planters to your railing.

When choosing plants for your balcony, it’s important to consider the conditions they’ll face, including sunlight and wind. Sun-loving plants won’t fare well on a west-facing balcony, for example.

Living fence or trellis

Another plant-based privacy option is a living fence or screen. Grow ornamental grasses, shrubs, or bamboo in long planters to create a natural barrier on your balcony. Alternatively, pot plants that naturally vine or climb up against your railing — or for an even taller screen, wire a trellis to your railing and allow plants to grow toward the ceiling. Climbing hydrangea and golden hop may be good choices, but again, evaluate your conditions first.

If a living fence or trellis won’t work in your space, you can put up a faux ivy fence instead.

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