Reclaiming Garden Privacy
Garden privacy you don’t miss it till its gone, to steal a couple of lines from counting crows song
“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parkin’ lot”
Well it wasn’t a parking lot that stole our garden privacy I think my family and the rest of our “original neighbors” on our street would of preferred a parking lot, to the new sub division that was thrown up on some spare ground behind our houses the summer before last, robbing us of our backyard garden privacy stealing away our garden sanctuaries .
Its not that we were an unsociable lot but we liked the choice of when and where we would interact with ourneighbors not feeling their presence thrust upon us every time we ventured out into our backyards .Rick and Nancy my immediate neighbors to the right, and Donna who lives next door to them, have by far the worst encroachment on their garden privacy.They have almost none existent backyard spaces, there main garden space being located at the sides of their properties. All they have at the back of their homes are narrow raised decks that are accessed through sliding doors off the kitchen, wonderful for stepping out to sit at a bistro table for that early morning coffee. But alas it is no more Donna steps onto her deck and just about 10ft beyond her deck is the very solid ,view effacing, sun blocking end wall of a row of new town houses. Where once there was an open field ,wild fruit trees and abundant wild life to entertain her, now her entertainment with her morning coffee is counting the bricks in the wall that are only a few feet beyond her nose. Her house is up for sale, but who would want to live there with such a view.
Nancy and Rick fared little better they have at least no solid brick wall limiting their view ,but they have completely lost their garden privacy their raised deck now exposes them as if on stage to a dozen or more gardens and sets of windows no more early morning coffee in her dressing gown for Nancy, she says she feels too exposed, and was considering buying a camouflage tarp and stringing it across the deck like curtains and drawing them across when she didn’t want to be sociable with the “new neighbors” I suggested the use of outdoor curtains but she said she would feel with real curtains it would only intensify the on stage like feel. Rick also feels he has an audience when ever he steps on to his deck now that all his garden privacy has been removed he says he feels like a pastor at a lectern at Sunday service about to minister to his flock, after revealing this, all the “original neighbors” now refer to him as Rev Rick.
If I had the type of garden privacy issue to deal with that Rick and Nancy do, or the total absence of a view like Donna ,then I think I would employ garden privacy solutions similar to two shown above.
Our home sits in the middle of what nowadays might be considered a triple wide lot its about 130 ft wide by 120 ft deep the house a large raised ranch bungalow sits 10ft short of the fence line on the right hand side of the lot leaving 100 ft wide but shallow gardens on three sides and only a pathway on the other. Garden privacy had never been an issue until last summer,our gardens were completely secluded by trees and tall growing shrubs problem is some of those trees and shrubs were not all growing on our side of the chain link fence that marks the property line some were volunteers that took root on the spare ground adjacent to and behind our house when they built the town houses whose gardens are at most a 20 ft square they cleared away all the volunteer trees and shrubs that were unfortunate enough not to be growing inside our garden boundaries removing the garden privacy they provided for our home.
I now have several areas where I want to screen out the neighbors .But with having an already established garden and that our garden privacy has only been breached at random places a privacy fence is not the answer as we’d have to rip out several very large trees to run a privacy fence the length and width of the garden only to purchase and and re grow replacement plants in front of the new fence seems a little stupid not to mention not cost effective and counter productive. Plus the maintenance involved in keeping such a big fence in good shape is more than I’d care for. So I have been researching solutions to my garden privacy problems.
I have six main problem areas to deal with each probably requiring a different garden privacy solution. so far we’ve solved three out of six So for all of you out there facing similar issues with garden privacy perhaps some of the ideas I have found will provide the answer to your particular privacy problem, as I find solutions for my other garden privacy problem spots I will post them so keep checking back .
What I have looked at so far are garden buildings (including sheds ,pagodas, pergolas etc)
Privacy screening and trellis
potted privacy (container and potted plants)
Living Privacy (fedges, living walls trees shrubs)
Arbors and arches
Movable Privacy (such as screens and umbrellas)
Large pieces of garden art