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Patio Screens and Enclosures

Updated on December 23, 2017
viryabo profile image

Practicing as a professional interior designer for 30+ years, I do design & build projects & offer tips on how to do simple design tasks.

For vertical screens to work efficiently in any patio, they need to be planned well and placed with careful thought.

A careless offhand plan may end up resulting in a patio screen that's far from solving any problem and one that creates a feeling of discomfort.

Patio screens also work as definers or dividers of space. For example, they can be used to decoratively demarcate the outdoors into a special garden, a busy play yard, a vegetable patch, swimming area, outdoor games area, etc.

"Japanese Garden and Patio" . . . Gropius House
"Japanese Garden and Patio" . . . Gropius House | Source

There are a good number of patio screen materials and design ideas on the market and on-line patio galleries.

The design ideas are vast and prices may range from the inexpensive to the more expensive tempered glass and aluminum patio enclosures, and it's good to know that there is always one that will fit well into a homeowner's budget.

Some of the most popular outdoor privacy screens are made from:

  • Treated canvas
  • Bamboo
  • Reed
  • Safety glass
  • Wood
  • Plants and trees

Tempered Glass, Canvas, Reed, Bamboo, or Aluminium Screens?

What works for patio canopies also works well for vertical patio screens.

Tempered Glass Patio Enclosure
Tempered Glass Patio Enclosure

Canvas screens - These look colourful and modern, they work beautifully as tie back covers or as roll down shades.

Bamboo - Bamboo, on the other hand, will modify the temperature of a patio and serve well as a patio screen to guard against too much wind or too much sun.

Translucent white fiberglass panels - These can be designed to resemble Japanese screens (shoji type screens), and clear plastic or tempered glass is good for 'cutting' the strong winds whilst still allowing a clear view of the garden and possibly the whole landscape.

Aluminum - Screened patio enclosures made of aluminum are also good because they act as protection against the heat of the sun, with an added plus of being insect free. Aluminum patio screen enclosures are good for guarding against wind-borne litter and flying insects.

Reed Patio Screens
Reed Patio Screens

Patio Wood Screens or Fences?

Patio screens made of wood are classic, quite popular, and can come in form of lattice trellises, low picket fences or higher vertical screens. They serve a more substantial purpose than the roll down canvas screens or the bamboo and reed screens.

For a garden that doesn't need much privacy, but needs attention paid to aesthetics, vertical lattice screens or lathed louvers punctuated with evergreen plants will give controlled privacy and ventilation.

Latticed Wood Screen
Latticed Wood Screen

Where seclusion is required, maybe on a street side patio, enclosures can be created using wood framed translucent panels, solid finished board fencing or basket weave fencing. The translucent plastic panels will admit light into dark areas of the patio without a view from outside.

These can also be used for screening off outdoor work areas.

Having a high fence (higher than 180cm or 6feet) may pose a problem in many localities because building regulation disallow this without a permit.

Additionally, neighbors may frown at its erection and it may generate ill will in the neighborhood. A better solution to fence height issues is using screens that have plants trained to grow high above the fence. This will be acceptable to most.

Natural Enclosures - Foliage Screens

Lively and interesting screens can be made with plants and trees, and they are known to make the best deck and patio screens because they give a soft breezy look and a totally natural feel to an outdoor room than manufactured materials do.

Natural Patio Screen Of Vines Trailed Over Steel Wires
Natural Patio Screen Of Vines Trailed Over Steel Wires

Where manufactured elements can be imposing and sometimes blunt, patio screens 'derived from' plants or trees are always pleasant features in any garden and patio design.

Other forms of beautiful patio enclosures are vines trained onto unfinished wood lattice trellises. Another great feature is having the vines trained to grow on decoratively attached wireframes.

They will both offer privacy, and block excessive winds and heat, while at the same time give an airy open feeling to the patio. It is great to use vines that will produce colourful and fragrant blooms of flowers and probably some fruit. It's good to know that most of these type of plants require minimum care, as long as they are kept tidy with frequent pruning.

Trees are striking features when used as visual screens for patios and the landscape generally. Planting the right trees in the right positions, remembering to give room for sideways growth when mature, will add sculptural value to a patio's design.

Trees will break brisk winds and keep the heat away in the hot summer months.

Careful selection must be made for ultimate size, on maturity, growth rate, texture, shape, and colour. Avoid trees that will cause untidiness to a patio because of their frequent shedding (some trees can cause a mess), so careful selection is important if they are to serve as patio screens because trees are planted to stay.

Which would you prefer to have for your patio's privacy ?

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© 2011 viryabo

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    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 6 years ago

      Thanks Anna, and thanks for visiting.


    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 6 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      nice ideas here well done