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Erecting structure for privacy in thin strip of ground


I am looking for a solution to our privacy problem with our neighbours in our back garden.

We live on a hill and our back garden is lower than our neighbours. This was not a problem before but we have now extended our house and taken down our conifers. The fence between us and our neighbours is over 25 years old and is a wooden four foot high fence. Because they are higher than us we feel like we are in a goldfish bowl and would like to get some privacy. The neighbours are not planning to replace the fence and don't seem to mind the lack of privacy on both sides.

In our garden we have a retaining wall, the top of which ends at the bottom of their fence. At the top of our wall there is a very thin area in our garden that I can plant in. I would like to plant something that will grow about five or six feet high that would give us privacy. However, it cannot be a tree or shrub because there won't be room for large roots. I was thinking of planting sunflowers and some tall border plants. I may be able to push some canes into the ground and attach netting to try to grow sweet peas. Can anyone suggest any other options? We cannot and won't attach anything to the neighbour's fence as it is so brittle. Thank you.



  • joslowjoslow Posts: 218


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,107

    Just how narrow is it jem? image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Hi, Jem. We have a similar problem in that our neighbour's garden is higher than ours, our garden is fairly short and they are in a house and we are in a bungalow! We talked to them about it (they weren't very friendly) and put up a fence next to their wall with trellis on top. It is higher than the statutory six feet or so, more like seven and a half feet, but because of the difference in height of the garden, it does not look that high to them. If you can't do that, could you put up a pergola or beam along which you could grow everygreen honeysuckle and/or clematis? Or a series of arches? If there isn't rooom for the roots of climbers to flourish, you could raise the bed first. We did that along another overlooked boundary where we felt it would be tactless to raise the height of the fence and there was only a shallow and narrow border with a supply pipe running quite shallowly under it. We're very limited in what we can plant there, obviously, but there is always the use of a large tub to contain roots that cannot be planted in the ground. Joslaw has wisely suggested bamboo, which can look gorgeous, but you'll have to be very careful to contain the roots, which often travel underground quite a long way.

  • P.S. Our whole garden has the problem of being overlooked by other houses and a lot of our gardening has been about creating privacy. the best thing we did was to put up a summerhouse (built by OH out of an old chicken house clad with wood with the front taken off) with a pergola attached. We covered the pergola with plastic roofing (not beautiful but practical) and planted climbers all around it. It breaks the eyeline from other houses and when we are sitting under it enjoying the garden, no-one can see us!

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,107

    Good shout with the pergola/beam idea GG image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • sweet psweet p Posts: 15

    Hiya Jem, a photo would be good , you will get more suggestions that way. Tall plants like sweet peas and sunflowers are a good idea , but as they are annuals they will only provide you with privacy for a few months at best. G G's suggestion of a raised bed is an excellent idea. The problem with perennial plants ( ivy, honeysuckle, clematis, etc) is that they take a few years to reach a decent height unless you have a very large wallet and can buy very mature plants. Perhaps a combination of  climing perennials with climbing annuals is the way to go. The annuals will at least give you some privacy until the perennials get established. Or if you can afford it you could always offer to replace your neighbours fence. Hope you find a solution.

  • TopbirdTopbird Mid SuffolkPosts: 7,585

    Hi Jem - how about a few smart posts in the area (depending on how wide it is) with stuff trained up them. They could also be linked at the top with tensioned wire or rope. Things that could be trained up the posts and eventually along the wire / rope might include roses / honeysuckle / clematis / golden hops - depends how much room there is for roots really and how good the soil is. Golden hops will grow really quickly in the right conditions and a clematis montana would give fairly permanent screening.

    I don't think I'd go down the bamboo route. The route system can be very invasive and can push up through paving / tarmac / etc depending on species.

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,107

    Just a thought jem - is the wall very high? Can you not just plant in front of the wall rather than above it on the 'narrow strip'?  Amelanchier  or something would give an airy screen. Difficult to advisewithout a pic as sweet p says! image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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