Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Creating a Sense of Privacy


It is not that you necessarily dislike your neighbours; they may well be among your closest friends, it is just that your garden is a place of refuge from the world at large and that sometimes even includes friends. You want it to be private. A garden is a place to sit and read, enjoy a meal or do nothing beyond watch the bees flit from flower to flower.

A garden is also the last place you want to think about what you're wearing. Who gets dressed up to dig around in the dirt? You want to roll out that back door in your grubbiest clothes without a moment's thought to what other people might think if they happened to see you!

Private Garden, Mississauga ON

Creating a sense of privacy can be as simple as surrounding your self with a cocoon of greenery.

Private Garden, Mississauga ON

The problem is that trees and shrubs take years to fill in and mature. Most homeowners end up resorting to a structure or fencing of some kind. 

To keep this back deck area feeling secluded, a set of benches, a planter and an overhanging structure for vines and hanging baskets were added.

Private Garden, Toronto ON

In this garden in the Forest Hill area of Toronto, there was nothing to block the view from the street. A wall of evergreens was planted then a decorative metal screen was added.

Private Garden, Toronto ON

Private Garden, Toronto ON

Of course, the surest way to make your yard secluded is to add fencing of some kind. Even fencing can have its drawbacks though. Tall fences can be costly and most municipalities have some restrictions on fence height. 

Of course there are always clever ways to get around those height restrictions:

Private Garden, Toronto ON

Good luck trying to peak into this backyard! 

Climbing hydrangea obliterates the low fence, while a solid wall of cedars stretches up toward the home's roof line.

Private Garden, Ward Island

Evergreens are useful for providing year round privacy, but it is actually the summer months that you really care about creating that quiet sense of seclusion. 

The garden above is a nice example making use of a deciduous screening. The trees selected are upright and conceal the view of the patio area without adding dense shade.

Private Garden, Brampton ON

You can also keep the fence tall without making it a solid wall.

Private Garden, Toronto ON

In this example, the backyard slopes gently upward toward the back of the property. The fence has been stepped according to the elevation.

Private Garden, Toronto ON

Lush greenery softens the line of fencing.

Private Garden, Toronto ON

At the very back of the yard, an extra height of fencing was added to keep this area around the pond intimate and serene. 

Private Garden, Toronto ON

Private Garden, Mississauga ON

Of course no one wants to feel fenced-in just to escape prying eyes. Isn't this a nice way to disguise some of that solid line of fencing?

Private Garden, Mississauga ON

Private Garden, Mississauga ON

There is even a little pond to mask traffic noises.

Private Garden, Mississauga ON

In this particular property, there was only a chain link fence between neighbours and so a coordinating screen was added along the property line.

Private Garden, Toronto ON

In this final example, a lattice was added in front of the fence and a pergola was then constructed. 

What a nice quiet place to sit and do absolutely nothing at all!

28 comments:

  1. You do find some stunning gardens to photograph.

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  2. Oh, I do so totally agree with havin' privacy in the garden. Just the other day my peep #1 was out there - gardening - and lookin' like a raggamuffin! Not to mention that she tends to wear as much dirt as she digs. MOUSES!

    And, speakin' as a cat, it's kind of nice to have a little privacy if you happen to need to use the facilities. If you know what I mean...

    Purrs,
    Nissy

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  3. Fencing can also be beautiful, as seen in your photos - thanks ! It's also to me very important to have some privacy, don't always want to be seen.

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  4. Hi Jennifer
    These are lovely little pockets of refuge. As you say, you can get along with your neighbours, but that doesn't mean you want to see them - or them to see you!
    Did you go to Through the Garden Gate? I missed it this year……:(
    Astrid

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    1. Hi Astrid, Yes I did manage to make it to Through the Garden Gate. In fact a few of the pictures in this post are from the tour.

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  5. Very nice examples of good fencing, for privacy is one of the most important things in the garden. It is such a shame there are so many horrable fences, so for me it must be overgrown with climbers and the best sort of fence is a hedge, shrubs and trees.

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  6. Great timing! We just built a deck at the back of our property and need some privacy from our neighbours where only a chain link fence separates us. I'm thinking a trellis idea like the one in the second last picture.

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  7. Ha...we were just talking about this!!! My husband and I have a problem. We live on a typical suburban lot which means our side yards are not that large...which also means when you look out our window from our kitchen table you see the side of our neighbors house...not the best view from a place where we sit and look out every day. I have a sand cherry growing in front of the window but it is not enough. What are your thoughts about creating an outdoor room/vignette outside of a window? Im thinking of buying or creating some type of structure that I can grow vines on that would block that view....Your examples are stunning Jennifer! Thank you so much for the inspiration...we need it!!!

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    1. Narrow side yards are always a challenge in suburban neighbourhoods. Actually, I hope to do a post with inspiration for side yards soon. I like the idea of creating a vignette that you will see when you look out the kitchen window. If you go with vines and a structure, I would try to choose something that will be evergreen or make sure the structure obscures the view of your neighbour's house even in winter.

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  8. You have shown us wonderful examples of privacy which is so important, especially as I sometimes get up early in the summer and garden in my pjs!

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  9. Nice examples. I especially like using hedging as opposed to fencing, but in a small space, a fence is so useful in taking up less space. Covering it with vines softens the structure too.

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  10. Even out here in the country, I am concerned with privacy. These are some great examples and inspiration ideas. I love the metal screen. I think you may have just given me an idea!

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  11. What a WONDERFUL post! Some wonderful ideas here. I do love tall tress for shade and privacy. xxxx

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  12. Privacy is an issue I am starting to deal with as we have new neighbours and their new huge house. You've shown some excellent ideas that I will need to think about.

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  13. Jennifer, I do think the fencing has to be in private gardens. I had no a fence during some years and now when I have it i see the garden looks more closed and comfy.

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  14. Jennifer you made me smile at the description of gardening in ones grubbiest clothes , so True! My garden is young only 3 years old so I am in the midst of trying to create privacy. Our area has a restriction on fences so shrubs and trees and vines it is....

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  15. Hi Jennifer...wonderful ideas! Even though our neighbors aren't close, I've tried to create privacy by planting tall shrubs in certain spots and creating a living fence on one side. However, we did put up some fencing in a couple of places too.

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  16. There are some really wonderful ideas here, Jennifer.
    I especially like the little bench in the third photograph.
    Thank you so much for sharing these here.
    Happy day to you!

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  17. Excellent post Jennifer. I'm not keen on evergreens so have created my privacy with tall shrubs that look good for a few months of the year. I saw a good idea recently of metal trellis with ivy used as screening.

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  18. I do love to feel private in my garden, it would bother me if you could look in too easily.

    http://tinajoathome.com/

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  19. Każdy chyba marzy, żeby w swoim ogrodzie czuć się dobrze, żeby nikt obcy nie patrzył na niego. To ma być nasza oaza spokoju. Z pokazanych ogrodów najbardziej podobało mi się w Toronto, bo była woda, która mnie bardzo uspakaja. Pozdrawiam i dziekuję, ze byłaś u mnie.
    You probably dreamed of in your garden to feel good, so no stranger looked at him. That has to be our oasis of peace. The gardens illustrated most liked in August in Toronto, because it was the water that really calms me. I greet and thank that you were with me.


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  20. What lovely serene gardens you have gathered in this post. My backyard is becoming more and more private as my pine tree broadens and a cedar hede grows tall. Only my side neighbours need to be blocked out (next to impossible with one neighbour building a deck that rises above my fence line! At least my patio space is hidden ;) Wendy

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  21. People in San Diego like their privacy but usually with fencing. I am covering mine with vines and it will still be a little while before everything is green from plants! These are all such pretty examples of privacy and I could see myself hanging out in all of these gorgeous spaces! Jeannine

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  22. Hello Jennifer girl!
    I so long for privacy .. a TALL fence would be wonderful .. have to win some money in the lottery tonight for that one though ! haha
    Yes .. plants add so much to privacy and dampen noise levels .. even the trickle of water can make such a difference in the atmosphere of a garden .. bringing in birds and their songs .. it all has a "good" domino affect once you start working with plants and nature doesn't it ?
    Joy : )

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  23. P.S.
    I am totally in love with your header picture !!

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  24. I really love these private gardens and their methods of creating such...I wanted to create more privacy but my husband wanted to keep the neighbors in sight...he is a social butterfly.

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  25. I love my neighbors but we both benefit from a giant trumpet creeper I've pruned into a canopy that blocks their patio from my garden. I've also added tall plants and trees to help screen my garden from my neighbors. Fences in my neighborhood can't be taller than 4 ft. I love how creative some of these gardens are. The garden as a place of seclusion/respite is so important.

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  26. This is a very informative post and it comes at a good time for me! I really like the elegance of the metal screen. If you could drop by my blog and see Monday's post, I have an epic (well, it is a big deal to me!) privacy issue going that I could use some help with. I don't think there is much I can plant without a competition issue with the neighbor's fir trees. And I laughed out loud about the part of rolling outside in your grubbiest clothes. Today, I walked on the back deck to pick some lettuce in my garden and I was wearing my swimsuit and swim cover up in plain view of a couple of construction workers. I didn't realize they were there. It was a bit awkward. I was just getting lettuce.

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