Neighbors looking over your fence, passersby seeing into your living room, and kids walking over your lawn: When you live in a crowded neighborhood, having a good level of privacy can be a challenge. And sometimes, it can be more than just an annoyance. Having poor privacy can even decrease your quality of life.

If you live in one such neighborhood, there are several ways you can increase your privacy without breaking the bank. Here are a few great examples:

1. Invest in shutters

Unlike curtains or drapes, shutters can be tailor-made to fit any size or shape of windows. This means that when you close your shutters, you can rest assured that there is no way anyone can peek through them. Moreover, shutters help insulate sound, which is extremely important for your peace if you live on a busy street with people and cars always passing through.

2. Install a property fence

If you don’t have one yet, a property fence is one of the best ways to increase privacy for your home. Having one will prevent neighbors from seeing into your yard, even when they do so unintentionally. Plus, it will also increase the security of your property by providing a physical barrier against intruders.

Before installing a fence on your property, look at the local rules regarding fence heights and other restrictions. You would also have to secure permits and talk to your neighbors before you begin construction. After you get everything you need, choose a fence that will fit your needs and preferences. Fences made from wood, concrete, or vinyl and PVC are great options for added privacy.

3. Plant a bamboo wall

If you want to make your backyard look greener, you can plant a bamboo wall against your fence. Bamboo is inexpensive, grows fast, and is easy to maintain, so you won’t have to invest much in exchange for the privacy it provides.

4. Plant trees or shrubs

Besides a bamboo wall, you can also plant trees or shrubs along your property line to create a natural barrier without fences. If you already have a fence, planting shrubs and trees can add an extra layer of protection against prying eyes.

But of course, you have to consider the costs it will take to maintain your landscaping. You would also have to ensure that your plants don’t become overgrown to avoid criminals from targeting your property.

5. Build a gazebo or pergola

A gazebo or pergola can be a nice addition to your backyard. Aside from extending your outdoor living space, it can also provide privacy when you’re relaxing outside. For extra coverage and added aesthetic, you can hang plants or install lattice panels on the sides of your structure.

6. Install warning signs

security camera

Warning signs that alert others of security cameras or dogs on your property can already be enough to keep them from snooping around. Besides that, hanging up signs is also a good security measure that acts as a deterrent for potential criminals.

7. Cover windows that are in front of your neighbors’ own

If you have windows that face directly to the neighbors’ own windows, it’s best to keep them covered for everyone’s privacy. If you don’t want to block out the sun completely, at least hang up a light curtain that will make it difficult to see into your house. The same goes for windows that face the street, especially during peak times when many people are passing by.

8. Talk to your neighbors

In a crowded neighborhood, you are more likely to experience neighbors getting in your business, neighborhood kids going on your property without permission, and a lot of traffic passing by. While you can’t do anything about the last one, you can talk to your neighbors about the first two issues.

No one likes it when neighbors constantly peek over their fence or let their kids play on their property. Don’t be afraid to voice out your concerns to your neighbors, but be polite about it as much as possible. If your next-door neighbor peeks into your yard all the time, tell them that it makes you uncomfortable and ask them to stop. In most cases, people will stop what they are doing when they are called out on it (and they might not even realize that they’re snoopy), and you can avoid unnecessary conflict.

If you are not confrontational, consider leaving a polite note instead.

Privacy is often a luxury in crowded neighborhoods, but of course, it doesn’t have to be unattainable. With these strategies, you can increase your property’s privacy without breaking the bank or bothering anyone.