If you have a deck or patio that you tend to avoid using because it's so close to your neighbours, or it gets a bit too much sun during summertime, you might want to consider adding some privacy screens or blinds. These are an easy installation that can add style and privacy to that space, reduce noise from a nearby roadway, and give you some protection from high winds and light rains. Note a few tips for choosing privacy screens for any outdoor space.
The thinner or more narrow the slats, the more openings or gaps in your screen. This can allow in more air and rain during inclement weather, and may not work to insulate you from as much sound. On the other hand, you may prefer more gaps so that you have more sunlight when the blinds are open and have less material obstructing your view.
Aluminium is very lightweight and requires little to no maintenance over the years; it can be powder coated just about any colour, so it can easily match your home's exterior. However, the lighter weight of the material makes aluminium more prone to dents and dings from hail and other debris, and it may also conduct more sound, so that it may not be the best choice if you need noise insulation.
Wood is more likely to absorb sound for a quieter porch or deck, and it has a more traditional and homey look that you might prefer. Wood will need more maintenance, as it may absorb moisture and then expand and shrink, causing it to crack; the colour is also likely to fade over the years, so you may need to repaint the screens on a regular basis.
Note how different models of outdoor privacy screens and blinds open. Some are stationery, so you can only twist open the slats. Other panels can be retracted with a cord, the way you open interior blinds; this can allows for more sun exposure and fresh air when the weather is nice. However, you may have more maintenance and replacement costs with this type of retractable blinds, as cords may eventually break or become threadbare and need replacing.
Other models are stationery panels but you can swing them in and out on a hinge, like interior shutters. This can be a very attractive look, but note if you have space inside or outside the patio area for the screens to open fully, or if furniture, landscaping or hedges would be in the way.
I knew that the moment we bought a house with a decent yard I'd be ready to start having kids. I loved playing outside as a kid and since we've been in this house I think the kids spend nearly as much time outside as they do outside. That lawn has seen my babies crawl, my toddlers start walkings, the kids kicking balls around and playing chasey all afternoon. Keeping the lawn soft and green is so important to me as it let's us spend all that time outside. I'm always looking for ways to make it feel and look soft and green.