High summer is only a few short weeks away. Those long, heady days when the garden eventually bursts open to share the beauty contained in every petal and leaf, and the butterflies dart in jewel-bright colours through the air, are almost here.
Right now, you’re probably preparing your outdoor space to enjoy the summer display at its best and, like many, you may have noticed an annoying privacy issue. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a grand Georgian estate with a majestic walled garden, retaining a sense of intimacy and seclusion while enjoying your garden can sometimes be a challenge. Here are eight inventive ways to increase your privacy when the neighbours feel a little too close for comfort:
- Plant for privacy
Using large, free-standing pots to grow plants or small trees is a clever way to temporarily add extra privacy to a specific area. Planting in this way adds a versatile element – you can move the pots whenever you please, and it also stops certain varieties from taking over your garden. Bamboo, for example, is an excellent choice for this method because although its screening capabilities are great, it can potentially run riot if left unchecked.
- Create a curtain
If space is extremely limited, a finer, airier ‘curtain’ may serve your purposes better than a hedge, fence or wall of shrubs. Tall, fast-growing grasses are the ideal choice.
- Sound thinking
Attaining privacy isn’t only about not being overlooked, it’s about not being overheard too. Invest in a quality water feature or two and install them strategically around the garden. The lulling sound of the water’s cheerful gurgle will help keep your conversations private.
- Create a lush living wall
When you’re seeking privacy, climbing plants can be your friend. A simple trellis can quickly become thick and lush with flowers and coiling leaves, providing a very pretty screen between you and your neighbours. Ivy, clematis and honeysuckle are all good vine choices.
- How low can you go?
If you’ve got a relatively large garden, a sunken area can be a brilliant solution to privacy issues. Dig down around three feet and build raised beds around the edge of your sunken garden to add an extra sense of height and seclusion around your hideaway.
- Add structure
If it’s not possible to achieve privacy in your entire garden, how about blocking out just a small section for complete privacy with a pergola? These charming mini-houses provide shade on very hot days and can also be a brilliant focal point around which to place other key elements of your garden.
- Go for the berm
A berm is a small hillock that rises out of the landscape, lifting your planting along with it. Strategically placed, they can add extra privacy to your garden, as well as visual variation. Berms drain well because of their slopes so they’re suitable for plant species that prefer a drier soil.
- We are sailing
This solution is particularly handy for anyone with an extremely tight urban garden, or even just a back yard. Use heavy canvas sails in clean nautical colours to create a taut, overlapping shade to shield you from nosey neighbours.
When it comes to creating a little summertime privacy we can all do better than a dull wooden fence. This year, apply a little creativity and reclaim your peace and seclusion with green-fingered ingenuity and finesse.