Although restrictions on staying at home are beginning to ease, many of us are still hesitant about spending extended periods of time in public places such as parks and other green spaces. For those lucky enough to have their own garden, this small plot of land continues to be a sanctuary from the madness that is life in 2020.
For some, however, even this place of refuge remains off-limits.
The thought of prying neighbours, either real or imagined, can be off-putting for many who would otherwise enjoy spending a few hours a day in their outdoor space. The good news is that privacy can be increased relatively easily, and we’re going to give you a few ideas here today.
Let’s get started!
Planning your privacy
Before you rush off to the nearest garden centre for supplies, it’s important to think through exactly what you need in order to improve the privacy in your garden. For the most part, increasing privacy means blocking sightlines, so think about where they are before you make your next move.
Are you concerned about neighbouring windows looking down into your garden? Or is it more a case of next-door being able to easily peer over the fence that puts you on edge? Knowing what you’re guarding against is the first step towards a more private space, and working that out now will save both time and money further down the line.
Where do you want the most privacy?
No regular garden can be 100% private, but all should have a small nook at the very least where one can sit in peace without the feeling of being watched. Working out where you’d like your spot to be will narrow down your choices when you come to consider which of the privacy improvement options listed below will best suit your needs.
When will you need it?
Another thing to think about is when you’ll need your privacy. For a lot of homeowners, summer will be their priority, but some will want year-round shelter. Working out what you need now will help immensely when planning the best course of action, especially in terms of plant or tree selection.
Keep perspective in mind
The thoughtless gardener will automatically opt for the biggest blocker they can find, usually fast growing trees like conifers that can get out of hand very quickly indeed. While these will most definitely give you more privacy, they’re probably not the best option for most of us. In fact, they’ll likely cause you more problems than they solve.
It’s important, therefore, to remember the power of perspective. A medium-sized planter positioned close to where you’ll sit will work just as well as a huge tree planted further away. Again, knowing in advance where you’d like your private corner to be will help you plan accordingly.
When planning your garden’s privacy, always bear in mind the need to retain as much natural light as possible. Knowing your sightlines and concentrating solely on blocking them will help here, as you’ll be able to minimise the amount of light you’ll lose with your privacy boosting efforts.
You should also consider increasing the amount of light your garden receives in other areas whilst in the planning phase. Think about pruning existing trees to increase light, yet retain privacy.
Garden privacy improvement options
So, with the planning stage out of the way, you’ll now have a better idea of exactly what you need to do to increase the amount of privacy you’ll have in your garden. While you’ll have a better idea of what needs to be done by this point, there are still multiple options to consider.
Here are a few of our favourites:
Trellises are a great way to increase privacy, either on the boundary of your garden or to create an enclosed area within it. The very nature of their construction allows a certain amount of light to penetrate, while still obscuring the sightline of others enough to make you feel secure. When well maintained, they look fantastic, too.
Gain privacy with a pergola
A bigger project, for sure, but a pergola can serve a dual privacy purpose: blocking sightlines from both the side and above, especially if the correct climbers or trailers are incorporated into the design.
Be bold with bamboo
Bamboo is often found in more tropical climes than we’re used to here in the UK, but that doesn’t mean it can’t thrive here. Not only that, it also offers some fantastic options to those looking to up the privacy of their garden.
One thing to bear in mind, though, is that some bamboo is better suited to our needs than others, so choose wisely. This article from the RHS will help.
On to what is probably the most obvious solution: fencing. For some this will mean replacing old wire fences with sturdier, slatted wood fencing, while others may want to increase the height of their fences rather than replace them altogether.
A word of warning here, though: taking the latter approach can cause disputes between neighbours, as you’re effectively increasing the height of their fence, too. It’s always best to consult those next door if you want to go down this route.
A great option for those looking to create a quiet corner and up the beauty levels in their gardens, oversized planters offer a very quick fix for those who want to up their privacy levels overnight. Although they can be cumbersome to put in place, once they are and you have the right tree or shrub in situ, they offer a fantastic shield against your neighbours line of sight.
Pick the perfect parasol
Another option for those looking to protect themselves from both the sun and those looking out of neighbouring windows is the humble parasol. These come in all shapes and sizes nowadays, so you’ll easily be able to work one into your home garden should you wish to.
Heighten your hedges
Similar to the fence option mentioned above, heightening your hedges can definitely bring more privacy to any garden. However, just as with the high fence option previously discussed, not everyone will agree with your decision, so do take the time to speak to your neighbours before going all out with the heightened hedges.
Try a DIY privacy screen
If you have a little time on your hands and would like to get creative, DIY privacy screens can be a rewarding way to spend a few hours. There’s no end of these projects online, so search around Google, YouTube, and Instagram for inspiration.
Think long-term with trees
Our final option is more for the future than the here and now, but it would be remiss of us to leave it out altogether: tree planting. Selecting the right trees can offer a combination of privacy and light that is unrivalled, but you really do need to make sure your choices are spot on if you want to get the most from them.
Garden centres aren’t the only businesses to reopen, estate agents are back as well...kind of. To be honest, Petty’s never really went away. Operating from home, we’ve managed to keep our virtual viewing and valuations going throughout lockdown and we’ve now got stringent measures in place to keep buyers and sellers safe moving forward.
In short, if you’re thinking about moving home, we’re here for you. Our phone lines and email accounts are being answered, monitored, and replied to despite our offices being closed, so do reach out if you have any property-related questions for us.