Panels, which can be stretched along the balcony balustrade, are true classics. You can either wind them through the struts or use hooks and eyelets to secure them to the railing. This not only gives you a privacy screen for the balcony, but also protection from the wind. You can choose from a variety of colours and materials. Plastic mesh in particular, alongside fixed cords and similar natural materials, set the tone. They are easy-care and robust. However, over the long term they will suffer from the heat and intense sunlight. Consequently, over the years, they will fade and become brittle. And natural material will deteriorate due to the effects of the weather. The advantage is that they can be washed if need be. You can even wash them in the washing machine, depending on size.
Balcony awnings are another practical solution. They usually come in the form of a retractable roof; a great privacy screen, shielding you from being overlooked from above. Another advantage of awnings is that they keep the rain off you for a time at least. A disadvantage is that they gather mould if they are rolled up when wet. You should dry them well after a downpour. If not used as a shelter, they also come fan-shaped, like a quadrant. These fan awnings are just the thing for mounting on the left and right sides of the balcony. You use a steel plate to fix them to the wall of the house. You can easily fan them out if you don't want to be overlooked. But they need looking after in strong winds. It's best to fold them up if strong winds are forecast. Awnings are usually made out of plastic, e.g. polyester, and are available in a wide range of colours.
Plants are also great privacy screens for the balcony, provided they grow to the necessary height. This can cause teething problems. If you buy plants that are still relatively small, then it will naturally take months or years for your balcony privacy screen to grow high enough. Unless you place the plants in a pot directly on to the balcony railing or balcony wall.
Grasses, boxwood, thuja and bamboo are classic alternatives for this. In terms of pot plants, lemon verbena, oleander, hibiscus, laurel and olive trees are well-suited. Climbers are a good choice too. Plants like ivy, vines or clematis definitely need a mesh or netting as a plant support.