There was a time when you could relax in splendid solitude right in your backyard. Then a neighbouring family cut down some trees on their property. And on the other side, the neighbours, in their new master bedroom, have a second-floor deck with a great view – of your yard. Suddenly you feel like you’re living in an aquarium.
As larger homes take up smaller lots and the demand for outdoor living areas grows, privacy is increasingly demanded. And it’s not just about outsiders invading your space-you may want to shut out your own view of sunbathing neighbours and shut out their chatter.
How Can I Get Privacy From Overlooking My Neighbours?
There are three main ways to recreate a private backyard if it is visible from above the first floor:
Block your neighbours’ view from your lot or fence line
A solid, high fence or hedge planted on your property line will separate you from your neighbours and block their view of your yard. You could also build a trellis or pergola on your fence line and grow climbing vines to provide additional privacy.
The downside to this solution is that it can be expensive and time-consuming to construct and maintain a fence or hedge, and it may not be in keeping with the style of your home or neighbourhood.
Convince your neighbour to install a safety net on his second-floor deck
The advantage of this solution is that it is relatively inexpensive and can be done quickly. It will also not impact the style of your home or neighbourhood.
The disadvantage is that it may not be very effective in blocking out noise, and your neighbour may not be willing to do this for you.
Install outdoor privacy screens and shading
Outdoor privacy screens come in various materials, including wood, bamboo, fabric, reeds, lattice and more. They can be freestanding or attached to your house, fence or deck. You can purchase them ready-made or have outdoor privacy screens custom-built.
The advantage of these solutions is that they are relatively inexpensive and can be done quickly. They will also not impact the style of your home or neighbourhood. The disadvantage is that they may need to be replaced or repaired over time.
Do I Have a Right to Privacy in My Garden?
The good news is that you don’t have to put up with it – you do have a right to your privacy. If everything else fails, your local government should be able to assist. The same may be said for security cameras, which should only film inside the confines of your garden or public area.
For example, section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures by the police. This means that the police cannot enter your property without a warrant or your permission unless they have good reason to believe that there is evidence of a crime on your property.
The Privacy Act protects your right to privacy when dealing with the federal government. The Act gives you the right to access your personal information held by the government and request correction of that information if it is inaccurate.
How Can I Get Privacy Without a Fence?
If you live in a rental property, your options for reclaiming your privacy may be more limited. But there are still things you can do to create a sense of privacy in your backyard.
Outdoor privacy screens can be a good solution, as they are one of the cheapest privacy ideas and can be freestanding or attached to your house, fence or deck.
Planting trees, shrubs and vines can also provide some privacy, although it will take longer for them to grow tall enough to screen your yard from view.
You could also try hanging outdoor curtains around your patio or deck. This will give you some privacy while you’re spending time outdoors, and you can easily take them down when you want to let the light in.
Finally, if you have particularly nosy or intrusive neighbours, you may want to consider talking to them about respecting your privacy. If they don’t listen or continue to be a problem, you may want to consider mediation or involving the police.