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Making overlooked garden a little more private


Any ideas or suggestions on how I could make my garden in new home a little more private from the flats (along the fence line as seen in the below pictures)?

I realise I'm never going to have total privacy and was well aware of this when buying the house. Would 2 or 3 pleached tree's along the fence be suitable? You can see the proximity to my house, the neighbours (semi-detached) in the photos. Alternatively, any suggestions of tall shrubs that might be better suited? I like the height of the existing bamboo plant which makes a difference, even on it's own. I plan to add some trellis to the fence but would still be looking at improving on this further. 

I'd probably then put some form of seating adjacent to fence line/or a covered gazebo as the garden is south facing and that area would then be private/covered when seated etc.



  • delskidelski Posts: 274
    Oh dear you’ll be ripped apart by the regulars for mentioning privacy. They all hate it. Or if they don’t hate it, they hate that everyone else wants it.

    You could attach a shade sail from the garage to the house and sit under. Otherwise you could plant a tree at the far end of the boundary but it will take a few years to get to your desired height. 
  • delski said:
    Oh dear you’ll be ripped apart by the regulars for mentioning privacy. They all hate it. Or if they don’t hate it, they hate that everyone else wants it.

    You could attach a shade sail from the garage to the house and sit under. Otherwise you could plant a tree at the far end of the boundary but it will take a few years to get to your desired height. 

        A well thought out question with photos and that's a nasty reply from delski.
  • delskidelski Posts: 274
    edited June 2021
    Not nasty at all mrsoldladysouthampton. I was preparing the OP for the kinds of replies they would receive from people on this forum, and then I provided a suggestion of how they might obtain that privacy.
    The kinds of replies (and I would say THOSE are nasty) I refer to are "omg people are soooo not interested in your life to be constantly staring into your garden looking at you, you don't need privacy you idiot" or other such words to that effect.
    Surely you wouldn't like me to trawl through all the old posts about privacy on this forum and post them here?
    @jla36 welcome to the forum from me, I adore privacy and completely understand why people would want their garden to be like another room in their home, but the majority of other forumites here would disagree and deliberately come on here to disparage you instead of ignoring your thread or offering helfpul suggestions.
  • Oh @delski I don't understand why do you have to stir for absolutely no reason. I don't care for "privacy" in an outdoor space. But then I didn't buy a house with a block of flats overlooking it. Hope the OP get a satisfactory solution to reduce the sightlines. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • delskidelski Posts: 274
    edited June 2021
    The first step in changing the culture is to challenge the culture. I've obviously been watching too much of The Good Fight.
    I don't care for "privacy" in an outdoor space.
    I don't care for houses with stupid mesh fences, but then I don't go on that post and tell them how they shouldn't've bought the house in the first place.
    Everyone on here has forgotten that life is about money. People do things they can within the means that they have. If that means buying a house next to a railway line or next to a block of flats, that doesn't mean their complaints about noise or being overlooked are invalid or negated in some way. Society has dictated their ability to live in places without those things, if they should so want. I don't want neighbours, but I've got them. Some people on this forum have acres of land with no neighbours for miles and I'm envious. It's money. Money money money.
  • SuesynSuesyn Posts: 630
    @jla36, what a welcome to the forum!
    Personally I have found my questions on this forum have been answered speedily and helpfully but I have noticed that occasionally some like to stir things up a bit. 
    However, in relation to your original question, our neighbour applied for planning permission to build an extension which would overlook our conservatory and outside dining area. We didn't object to the plans but planted 3 Himalayan Birch Jacmontii in the sight line of the overlooking windows. We bought them from "mail order trees" and they weren't very expensive. The foliage is fairly light so they don't block out totally but help the space feel more enclosed and private without making it too dark.
    I hope that helps. 
  • DitsyDitsy Posts: 174
    edited June 2021
    Hi and welcome @jla36. I think the trellis is a good idea and if it were mine and financially viable I would have a lovely summer house or gazebo put there - a little oasis. You could then plant some climbing roses to train up the trellis and over the summerhouse. It would look pretty as a picture. :) 

    Something like this.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,190
    Well - I hope that hasn't put you off @jla36. Most people here are every helpful, contrary to what that person might think.  Those are totally unacceptable and rude posts from that member. 
    I think you're already on the right lines considering a pergola or similar. Using pleached trees can be very expensive, and mature ones are difficult to establish,  and even if allowed to grow to a suitable size, they'd need to be massive to give you privacy from all those windows, which would then be difficult to maintain, not to mention that they'd create a lot of shade in your own garden too. 
    Once you have climbers on a structure, as illustrated by @Ditsy, you'd have a nice area to sit and dine etc. It would mean you can be still be overlooked while in other parts of your garden, but having attractive areas to look at within it will also help. From looking at your photos, it wouldn't be possible to screen your whole garden from every window, without it becoming a huge problem in your own. 
    Take a little time to think of the options. Print out some photos, and do a few rough sketches on them if you can, and that might help too, if only to get some clarity  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,440
    Welcome to the forum @jla36 :)
    The idea of a sail as mentioned by @delski is an idea you could consider if you want an instant solution, also l think l'm right in saying that they are comparatively easy to take down if you needed more light in the Winter months.
    As you say, pleached trees are another solution, but they are not cheap. They do give you areas to plant underneath though if you wanted to.
    The main thing is to work out the area you really want to screen and the angle required for a sail, pleached trees or whatever. Pinterest is another good area for inspiration, and there are ways of "drawing" on photos to get an idea of what things will look like.
    Sorry not very savvy on that type of thing but l hope you know what l mean.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,056
    How tall is that existing fence? The photo might be deceptive but it doesn’t look 2 metres? You can certainly have a fence of 2m high with a short trellis on top of that which would screen the lower windows, but it depends on who owns the fence, what your neighbour thinks and your budget! 

    I like Suesyn’s idea of the birch, something tall and airy that is not too dense and overbearing. If strategically placed to block the worst of the overlooking from the areas of the garden you frequent most I think that would help a lot to create a sense of privacy. They don’t have to be against the fence, one farther forward will provide more height from the point of view of perspective.

    It might also help you to visualise placement if you got a willing helper to wander around with a 3 or 4m pole whilst you are sitting on the patio. Then you can say, ok a tall tree there would need to be 8m high but there it only needs to be 4m etc. A smaller, airy tree like an amelanchier closer to your main seating area might work just as well as a tall tree near the fence.

    Do consider the orientation of your garden and where shadows will fall though, if planting tall trees or installing pergolas etc. Especially if you are a sun worshipper!

    Another idea is to install large, sturdy planters with a 2m high vertical trellis attached to the back, so you gain some instant height ‘for free’ so to speak before you have even bought a plant 😊 
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
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