Enclosing your patio using a fence, wall or shrubs will change its character completely. Walls, fences and shrubs all have advantages and disadvantages.
Patio Fencing Ideas
A fence can be as low or as high as you want it to be. It depends on your reasons for wanting to fence in your patio. If you want to make it a child-safe area then a three foot high fence will do the job, but it needs to be stout and not climbable.
A traditional paling fence will do the job perfectly. You can paint it or treat it with ranch paint in any colour from blue to dark brown.
If you just want a visual barrier around your patio then consider rolls of willow, bamboo or brushwood. You can buy all three at very low cost from Lidl ™, Aldi ™ or any large garden centre. A fence of any of these materials has a natural look, is low cost and easily erected. It is not particularly strong, though and pets and children will soon find a way through.
Fences generally are instant, medium cost and good looking. They do need annual maintenance and they provide limited privacy.
Patio Wall Ideas
Patio walls can be constructed from brick, blocks, ornamental concrete blocks or any combination of these materials. You can build a two metre high wall on one side and a low wall on the other two sides if you need privacy from neighbours.
Brick walls are attractive and you can use any brick you like, even reclaimed Victorian bricks.
Consider a planter wall as an attractive feature. This is usually a low, two foot high wall, constructed of two brick walls with a gap between them for growing plants.
A high wall to give privacy from the road can look good with screen blocks (patterned concrete blocks with holes in). You can grow climbers over and through your wall to soften it. Honeysuckle and climbing roses work well on this type of wall.
Any wall will need a concrete base and needs to be built by a skilled bricklayer, so they are the most expensive solution. A wall needs very little maintenance though and it will last for many years.
Patio Shrub Walls
Shrubs are my preferred method of enclosing a patio, but they do take a few years to become established and will never be pet or child proof. This is the lowest cost and most attractive way to give privacy on your patio.
You can use any shrubs you like from 12in high lavender or thyme to 4ft high skimmias. An evergreen shrub will give you year round privacy, with minimal maintenance.
You could use climbers such as clematis, but you will need to build a strong support trellis for them. Most climbers are deciduous, so you would lose your privacy in winter.