Decorative Metal Garden Panels Can Create Privacy

Metal garden panels can help screen unwanted views — without waiting for trees to grow or battling with your HOA.

One of the problems that needs to be solved on many of my designs is screening. We may love our neighbors, but that doesn’t mean that we want to look in their bathroom window. Neither do we want to have them drooling over the chicken on our backyard barbecue.

The traditional way to solve the problem is to raise the block wall. But many times the HOA stops that idea, and sometimes the wall just can’t be raised that tall without it beginning to look like a “prison wall.”

Well how about planting a tree or tall shrub, you say? First, that may obstruct the neighbor’s “mountain view” if it is not between the houses, and second, we don’t want to wait years for it to grow.

Screening on the side of the house is even more difficult. If you were willing to wait for the trees or shrubs to grow, they would usually take up too much space because the side yards on many homes are so narrow. Now the problem is getting worse. How do we give the height needed to screen that bathroom window without blocking the side of the house?

A trellis with a controllable vine (“controllable vines” is the subject for another article) that can be trimmed flat against the wall could work. But we are still waiting on the vine to grow.

I won’t frustrate you anymore. Here is the answer to screening without waiting for a plant to grow or battling with the HOA and neighbor over a “prison wall.”

Metal garden panels. These are sheets of metal that have a decorative design laser cut into the panel. They come in many sizes and can be custom cut by decorative welders.

“Off the rack” panels are reasonable priced and many come in 2’x4’ and 4’x6’ sizes. When installed they can be horizontal or vertical and can be grouped to fit your needs.

Your installer builds a frame out of redwood 4x4’s and adds legs to be mounted in concrete. The finished product looks like a series of window frames with the panels attached to the back or inset like a pane of glass.  

To get your creative juices going, Google “metal garden panels.” Your handyman or handy “significant other” can build it for you.

To my clients: Sadly, I seldom get to see my work as it matures. Please send me photos of the best part of your yard, with everything in bloom, by June 30. The top five will get a free on-site consultation to help you along. Send your photos to

Mike Dooley is the designer and owner of Dooley Landscape Designs. Visit his website

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