In the warm months my routine is to have my morning coffee on my back deck. Over 20 years ago we had a deck built and to this day I really love it. It basically takes up about 3/4 of my narrow backyard. When it was built there was a beautiful red maple tree. This tree gave the deck wonderful shade and privacy. But, for some reason, the tree died and we had to cut it down. Now we had no shade and absolutely zero privacy. Luckily for us we are on a corner so we only have to worry about our neighbors on two sides. We do have a tall, custom built fence on three sides of our yard but the 4th side is an ugly chain link fence.
So you see my problem. How to add shade, without waiting for a tree to mature and how to add privacy.
First we decided not to plant another tree. But instead made use of that awful vine that grows everywhere. The good thing about that vine is that it is fast growing. We needed something to train it to grow on and create height. The two shutters you see were perfect. They were in the basement of our house when we moved in. I loved the cutouts and couldn't throw them away. My husby made a frame around them to add height and then attached them to the deck railing. Pretty much by the end of that first summer we had a "tree" and privacy.
Next, what to do about the chain link fence and privacy from that side? Willow fencing to the rescue! Husby, attached it to the chain link fence and not only does it look great but it is pretty tall and adds more privacy.
It's not shown in this picture but since that first year when we did this we have added a set of shutters and another shutter. They are spaced about 3 feet apart and allow the vine to grow and create more shade and privacy. The set of shutters also solved another problem created by city living. When we sat in our chairs the neighbor's air conditioner would blow hot air directly on top of us. Yes, the houses are that close and this was not pleasant at all! SO we attached 2 shutters to the deck - directly in front of the lovely air conditioner, blocking the hot air and dispersing it sideways. Now if someone could come up with a solution for the noise from the air conditioner :).
Add in flowers, an outside rug and cushions and we now have our little sanctuary!