Neighbors on top of you. An adjacent eyesore. The buzz of a busy street. Yes, these are the things that can keep you out of your yard, and out of what could be your own retreat and possibly the best part of your home. There are many ways to create that private space, to camouflage ugly and to bring more welcome sounds to your yard. The first step is to determine the main problem, the second is to come up with a plan, and then you need to implement the plan.
There are several ways to add privacy to your landscape.
Perimeter plantings. If your home is too close to your neighbor and can't be in your backyard without seeing them, then chances are the right trees and shrubs will make a difference. You might want to accomplish this by planting in clusters. Plant groups in odd numbers. It creates a more natural look. If cluster planting doesn't appeal to you, and you want more of a living screen, then you may want to consider a mixed border. A mixed border includes both shrubs and trees, but with a more linear planting style. Mixing plant varieties keeps pest infestation down, too, by giving your landscape plant diversity.
If you have a very small townhouse or condominium yard, then your yard may consist of a deck or patio and just a small amount of green space. If this is the case, planting in containers can often work best. Arborvitae and bamboo, both excellent choices for creating a sense of privacy, do very well in containers and can also add style to your landscaping when the right containers are selected.
Fences and walls instantly add privacy, but they don't necessarily create the feeling of a backyard retreat. To break up a plain fence, add some evergreens for the winter and some flowering plants to give it color during other seasons.
Another way to gain privacy is to create a separate "room" in your backyard. You can do this by adding plantings or small walls around a deck or patio. The addition of a pergola will give your "room" a roof that can be accessorized with fabric and lighting to turn the space into what could become the favorite space of your home.
If it's noise that's bothering you, you can always buffer it with plants. But to really camouflage noise, whether it's traffic or the sound of an AC unit, the best solution is to cover it with a more pleasing sounds. Fountains and water features can perfectly accomplish the task, and also bring visual beauty to your space. There isn't a more peaceful sound than moving water Be sure and listen to a variety of options to discover what will work best for you.
When it's privacy you're looking for, the possibilities are there. Bring a touch of privacy to your space.