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Garden privacy ideas

(34 Posts)
BlogOnTheTyne Thu 24-May-12 13:57:22

When we moved into our house, a main attraction was the fact that we weren't overlooked at all...until the neighbours decided to put a large trampoline against their fence plus kid's playhouse on stilts and the agricultural land on the other side was rented by people with horses who ride there a few times a day.

In each case, the height of any fence is far below the height of people overlooking - on a trampoline, playhouse and horseback. In fact, on the trampoline and playhouse, they can even see over the line of 8ft trees on one side.

Is there anything more we can do to retain a bit of privacy in our garden or will we have to accept that we're going to be overlooked indefinitely now, like many many people are of course?

There's no room for more trees and we wouldn't be allowed to raise the boundary height further.

The horse people are really nice and try not to be intrusive - from what we can see/ feel but the trampoline/playhouse people (with young DCs) have been v difficult about various things over the last few years, meriting us having to go to the police at one point to ask advice (long story). No longer on speaking terms with them. So we're looking for solutions on our side and within our control.

How might we rig up canvas shields/sheets or something, without this appearing ridiculously ott? Is there anything more discrete that we can do, as the summer arrives and we want to sunbathe?

BonnieBumble Thu 24-May-12 14:00:26

Are you sure they can see as much as you think they can. We have a trampoline and it doesn't really give us a view of next door.

You could try conifer trees, they grow very fast,

Rainydayagain Thu 24-May-12 21:33:32

Two or three leylandi ( sp?) would block the trampoline.

I have horse people going pAst. HAve just moved a hugh buddliah to block part of the view. It grows fast and high. I have some rhoham growing as well.

Chippychop Fri 25-May-12 16:14:21

I have a similar situation. On the farm side I am having a row of evergreens put in with 6 ft trunks to coincide with the height IOC the fence. We are considering pleached trees too. The nosy neighbour side ( where they go down the side of their house to peer in our garden as the fence is only 4ft there... Amongst other things we are considering beach hedge or willow fence. Good luck its driving me mad!!!

HeathRobinson Fri 25-May-12 17:12:07

Depending on aspect, so it doesn't shadow your sunbathing area, what about some trellis with evergreens or climbers with thick summer growth?

If you also did similar with an outside eating area, you might feel a little more comfortable outside.

Garden privacy ideas.

echt Fri 25-May-12 20:09:02

Some bamboos are very good, though it would depend on where you live in the UK as to whether they would grow.

We're overlooked by next door as they have their living area upstairs and sit on the balcony calling out to us if we're in the garden. hmm

We're growing a non-invasive bamboo called bambusa gracilis which is doing the trick at 3 metres high in less than a year. However this is Melbourne and hardly ever gets frost. I've just looked it up: tolerates some frost.

survivingspring Fri 25-May-12 21:41:08

A stilted hedge is expensive but won't take up much space. I'd have gone down that route if we could have afforded it for our garden!

Why can't you raise the height of your boundary? Trees or trellis aren't counted as a solid structure so can be higher than a fence.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 26-May-12 17:52:52

Trellis sounds a good idea to me too, but if you really can't do that the RHS has some other ideas here.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 26-May-12 17:55:09

Oh and don't get leylandii if you have difficult neighbours, as they are notorious for causing neighbour disputes.

BlogOnTheTyne Sat 26-May-12 19:30:31

Many thanks for all the ideas. Re. trellis, I thought that the garden boundary had a maximum height regardless of whether or not this was made up of fence or trellis - ie 2 metres? Wouldn't extra trellis on top of that count as the boundary line and therefore be deemed too high?

We can't plant more trees as there isn't enough room between the fence and a large garden pond but I can keep trying to grow more climbers and have also bought some small hedging plants today to put in. It'll be 2 to 3 yrs before they've grown much and in the meantime, the neighbours and the people on horseback have a view that's far above the fence line and the trees that are already there in one section.

We got a large 'trellis on legs' structure put up within the garden last year and I'm trying to grow climbers up this too but even then, the neighbours can easily see over the 8 foot structure from their playhouse and when bouncing on the trampoline.

At the bottom end of the garden, where there's an agricultural field, now used by horse riders for riding and grazing/keeping their horses, we have a new slatted fence that lets in the light and the lovely view....but of course now we're regretting not having a solid fence put in, as even today, the horse people have been inches from our fence, hammering in more posts for the horse boundaries and up on horseback all afternoon - the whole family!

I'm trying to cultivate a different mind set and think positive thoughts about them - well the horse people, as it'd be impossible to have any good thoughts about the horrible neighbours! However, our garden 'view' which faces most of the day's sun and used to be a field - occasionally with sheep grazing - and views beyond, is now criss-crossed with white ribbon that sections off the field for the horses, jumps, buckets and the family of horse people. We haven't really wanted to sit and sunbathe all day, as it looks as if we'd be staring at the horse people.

I might try to rig up a temporary canvas sheet thing or something to get us through the summer and until the climbers and hedging plants grow.

Rainydayagain Sun 27-May-12 08:47:31

I had a grren mesh type thing that my husband nailed to an frame structure ( wind break garden membrane) did a good job until my hedging grew.

Not that pretty, effective though.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sun 27-May-12 09:08:53

This is too small to read on my phone but I think that relevant law on fences and boundaries is summarised here.

I think you are right and will have to cultivate a different mindset. Annoying as it is, you'll have to keep reminding yourself that the neighbours' children don't spend all say in the tree house or on the trampoline (or do they?!)

BlogOnTheTyne Thu 31-May-12 09:06:30

Thanks again. I wonder if we should just take down the lovely, slatted fence that we recently put up, tearing off the climbers already growing there - and re-erect a closed board fence - losing our country view but gaining a bit more privacy from the horse people? Alternatively, within 3 to 5 yrs, climbers and shrubs should have grown along the slatted fence, partially obscuring the view but allowing more light and a little more privacy. Can we wait that long to regain anything like a sense of privacy in our garden, though?

I'm really torn on this one. Where we used to have afternoon tea in the corner arbour, where the sun shines till almost 9pm, we now have 1 or 2 cars parked inches away behind the slatted fence and arbour and several people coming and going with riding /horse equipment and walking, riding past again and again, chatting etc. All we used to hear was bird song.

It's not that these people are at all unpleasant. It's just that even if they were our best friends, it still means we've lost any sense of having a private secluded garden that was a main reason for buying the house and a lovely outlook of only fields. The uncertainty of knowing when the horse people will turn up is really stressful as it's several times a day between 6.30am every morning when they first arrive, to 9pm at night - on and off all day.

We can just be settling down, after work, with a cuppa and suddenly, the car pulls up beside us and they get out and we feel uncomfortable that they're right behind us, not initially aware we're there and then it just feels so awkward and intrusive.

I used to spend happy hours in the garden over the summer and w/es and now am checking first whether or not the horse people are there, before going out and more often than not, staying indoors when I see them. They can even see into every main room in the house, as all the rooms back onto the garden side and even with an obscuring fence, they'd easily see over, whilst on horseback.

Perhaps I should have posted this in the AIBU forum where someone there is facing a different situation but equal or worse impact on loss of privacy in their garden and home.

Is it 'normal' to feel so incensed and stressed by losing privacy in this way or am I just turning into an old fuddy-duddy?! Gardening is/was my main hobby and now I'm feeling really inhibited to go out there at all!

survivingspring Thu 31-May-12 09:53:40

I feel your pain Blog as same thing happened to us when we bought our house. A leylandiii hedge (not the most beautiful of things but functional) was removed by our neighbours and we lost all our garden privacy and they can also directly into our back windows. It is a horrible adjustment when you are used to seclusion and not needing to have net curtains sad

It is surprising how quickly climbers and many shrubs do grow. I would keep the slatted fence as within a year or two you could have the privacy you need but without feeling closed in by a solid structure.

Wormshuffler Thu 31-May-12 10:16:53

I have put a picture on my profile of a really fast climbing plant we have put around our table area to give us privacy, as the trees that used to be at the bottom of out garden have now gone . Unhelpfully I can't remember what it is called but it was really tiny 2 years ago when I got it off a market and it was in with all the clematis. You know how they have them in long bags with a picture on the front. It was in an any 3 for a fiver package.
I shall ask my step mum, she will know it's name back later............

Wormshuffler Thu 31-May-12 10:19:40

Its a blue potato vine.

survivingspring Thu 31-May-12 10:32:30

Ooh yes I planted that one wormshuffler - Solanum Crispum I think it's called and it is rampant! Has got to about 10 feet in less than a year. Clematis Armandii is a beast too and is evergreen.

BlogOnTheTyne Fri 01-Jun-12 13:44:42

Thanks. Might add that to the mix of climbers and shrubs now growing there. Meanwhile, still trying to adjust to the 'invasion'.

As I type, there are 4 girls in the field, having amateur riding lesson with one of the regulars, the mum and the car parked inches from our fence. It's like backing onto a park now, which might be acceptable, if that's what I'd bought from the start but to have things go from total seclusion and privacy to this, is really hard!

Pannacotta Sat 02-Jun-12 18:48:45

Our garden is very overlooked but we have planted trees and put up tall trellis (to 3m) which we applied for planning permission to do.

The best climber I put in for both speed and privacy is clematis Armandii, it looks lovely draping itself over several metres of trellis and the flowers smell amazing in the spring.
Solanum too is great, the blue one is quite shrubby and gets big, could you fit this in near the trampoline? I planted a small one last year and its over 2m tall already and smothered in flowers.

COuld you replace your trees with larger specimens, ie from Barchams? Birch grow very fast if not and are good for screening in the summer months.

BlogOnTheTyne Tue 05-Jun-12 06:44:28

The trees we've got are mature photinia and ligustrum from Majestic Trees (company that sells huge mature specimems) and are already at least 3m high and beyond. Because of the width of the gardens, however, this means that the neighbours can be far back enough and high up enough to see over from their trampoline and playhouse, despite this, unfortunately.

With the aspect from the field, the riders can be quite far back from our boundary line and high up on horseback and so can get a clear view not only into our garden but also into the back of our house. In their case, they're not at all deliberately looking in. It's just difficult to hang out in your own garden when they're there.

I think I'm going to have to play the 'long game' and over the next few years, hopefully the climbers on the back fence, plus hedging, will obscure the view from the field, at normal height, if not on horseback.

Meanwhile, I think I'll put up boarding on the inside of the arbour, to hide the gaps between the slats and give us a bit more privacy from the car park area now behind it.

I'm actually finding it hard to continue planting along the back fence or do these works, as the horse people are so often there and I find it really uncomfortable to be inches away from them, planting climbers and shrubs or hammering in nails etc, when they're going about their own business in the field.

I've tried to buy the field from the owners several times but they're not interested in selling. I should have considered renting it, like the horse people have done and then retaining the view by paying a small rent per year....too late now.

Selks Tue 05-Jun-12 07:28:37

Taking notes, for my overlooked garden.

Pannacotta Tue 05-Jun-12 08:31:06

If you can, do try to pretend the horse folk arent there when you are out in our garden.
You live there and have every rigfht to enjoy your house and garden and to do your gardening as you wish.

I do think that havign layers of planting, ie trees, climbers, hedging, shrubs and perennials along the boundaries will help make your garden feel more secluded, they shoudl also help dampen the noise.

Portuguese laurel is tough as old boots, looks good (evergreen) and is fast growing.

ChristieF Mon 18-Jun-12 18:02:40

What about creating a pergola to sit under? Enough plants on it and they won't be able to see past. Have you read Geoff Hamilton's book, The Paradise Garden? All about creating privacy. Leylandii can be a nuisance, but fantastic if you keep chopping the tips out. Thuja plicata looks like leylandii but will only ever grow to about 15 feet. You could buy mature specimens. I've also seen sail things in garden centres which you angle however you want to cover you up. A wahing line with blankets across? Not attractive but it works.

ChristieF Mon 18-Jun-12 18:04:42

We have laurel hedges at front and back too. They can grow to around 15 feet or so and can be fast growers if you water and feed them. Trim the tips out regularly and they quickly bush out. Evergreen too and very attractive. Also cheap if you buy them small from a nursery.

funnyperson Mon 18-Jun-12 19:08:37

yew hedge?

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