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Block out neighbours gigantic tree house

Firstly I have no problems with play houses / tree houses and it’s lovely for kids to play in.
however, picture the scene:

We live on a hillside, so our neighbours garden that runs parallel to ours, and their land is about 2 meters higher. There is a large brick wall running the full length of our gardens dividing us. It’s about 4 meters. It’s been great for privacy until now...

Our neighbour has built a treehouse that butts up to the boundary. All I can see is a huge window and flat in slightly side that overlooks our garden and has all sorts of kids poking there head in and out of to continually look into our garden ( looks like a prison guards tower from our garden). You can imagine the volume !

I would like something that would grow quickly to block said tree house. Boundary wall is not my own so I sadly cannot add a climber. The soil is clay and in a very hot sunny spot.

Id like something super fast growing, column shape and evergreen. Any suggestions?
I did raise concerns with neighbour, but they could not care less and I really do not want to complain the the council just rather get some privacy back with some strategic hedging or tree !

Thanks in advance,




  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,625
    Even fast-growing trees and shrubs will take a while to get to above 4 metres (as in several years) unless you want to fork out ££££ for a big specimen, and even then summer would be a very bad time to plant it because you'd struggle to get it established..
    Maybe you could put up a pergola or one of those sail-type awnings to give some privacy to the area where you sit out, in the meantime.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,059
    Eucalyptus gunnii is one of the fastest growing trees growing @ around 2m per year. It's also evergreen.
    Once it's got to about 3m, remove the tallest growing tip and it will bush out a lot.

    I planted one about 30 years ago and had it felled about 10 years ago when it had got to about 100ft.
    It cost £1.99 to buy and £1100 to remove it!
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • KT53KT53 South WestPosts: 6,820
    I would contact your local council.  There are rules about size, height, position etc of these sort of constructions. 
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,544
    Definitely contact the council. You shouldn’t be overlooked like that.

    If the council don’t want to know, build a mirror image one exactly next to theirs and fill it full of plastic skeletons. 😁
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,629
    @Impatient_gardener .  I believe large/tall tree houses need planning permission these days. You could just ring your local planning authority and ask them. It would then be up to them to take it further if need be. Can it be seen by any other neighbour or passerby?

    The wall also sounds rather tall and over the regulation size as well although that does depend on which side it is measured in the case of sloping land - did your neighbours have it erected?
  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 1,093
    I fully endorse what the others have said.  I imagine your contact with the 'offending' neighbour has been verbal?  I'd write to them saying you're rather worried that it MAY have contravened planning laws and common laws such as 'Ancient Lights', thus leaving you open to a suggestion that, by omission, you're condoning the monstrosity.  Could they let you have copy correspondence authorising its erection within e.g. fourteen days so that you can keep it on file pending any future challenge.  The whole thing is totally unreasonable, and asking questions where answers are required is the finest way of putting the wind up the bumptious.  If they ignore you, you have the advantage and can raise your 'concerns' over things like their insurance indemnity to you if anything happens via the children.  I did it once!
  • Joyce GoldenlilyJoyce Goldenlily Posts: 1,456
    Remember that any fast growing plant will not stop growing when it reaches your required height
    That is why councils have stopped Leylandii conifers being used as boundary trees. Cheap, fast growing and a complete pain in the proverbial when they reach 30//40ft.
  • a1154a1154 Sunny South Scotland Posts: 996
    I don’t have any better suggestions, but I do sympathise, that’s just awful. I would definitely talk to the council, because in a similar position, when a neighbour promised to sort something out and didn’t, by the time I did go to the council it was too late. He should have had planning, but they couldn’t do anything after it was there for 4 years. 
    Councils vary, and I don’t know if the 4 year thing is law or working practise or what, but do talk to them, if nothing else they will tell you privately if your neighbour needs permission for the structure. 
  • Hello, thank you everyone for their feedback and great advice.

    Im avoiding going to the council as I would like to sell in a few years to downsized. Making a formal complaint means I have to list it on the sales documents and may put off buyers.

    I was hoping maybe leylandii, i know i know ! that will take a few yrs but might block it out in 5 yrs when i come to sell?

    The wall is a retaining wall as it’s built into a hillside, and very high.

    I like the idea of making my own watch tower from the other side. Although it would have to be meters high to overlook theirs.

    It’s such a shame people have lost the ability to be civil nowadays and cannot see the issue of being overlooked by massive shed (treehouse).

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,884
    edited 28 July
    If you've got room, you could have silver birch - ideally a little group of 3. There is a fastigiate version. They'll be fine in those conditions, will take a few years to get to the size you need but they are reasonably fast growing. Leylandii are not just tall, they are immensely wide, especially if you try to limit the height and do you really need evergreen - are you out in the garden in winter and are the children in the treehouse as much then either? A lighter tree may be less of a total block, but they will stop you seeing the treehouse to a large extent and will be less dominant and gloomy in your garden than a hulking evergreen. 

    Either that or get a ladder out there one night and stick some film on their window so they can't see out. Something like 'Fablon frosted' film. It's pretty cheap and they might take the hint?
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
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