18 April 2022

The best Screens and Plants to keep out neighbours

Danielle Redford

In the summer it's the best time to have fun outdoors. The days are longer, and the heat makes the nights warm, incentivising you to go outside and relax in your lawn or backyard. However, being outdoors often means being closer to the neighbours, and while some are great, fun to hang out with and well mannered, others are too nosy and too noisy, disturbing your precious peace and quiet.

With the ongoing affinity for smaller fences and bigger houses, there is a greater chance that your neighbours will overlook your private spaces, and party areas where people are most likely to be noisiest will be closer together.

Some nifty ways can be employed to block out lines of sight and even eliminate noise from the noisy neighbours, giving you peace and quiet in your beautiful backyard or lawn.

Get a privacy screen

Installing a privacy screen is an excellent way to block out peering eyes and give a new shape to your relaxation space outdoors. With this, you can create boundaries or zones for different games or activities. The materials aren't hard to source either, and you can use either custom screens made to fit your exact wants or get off the shelf materials to fix yourself.

Some screens are a better fit than others; modern materials such as aluminium, plastic, or laser-cut steel with different styles to suit the specific area will benefit contemporary lawns or backyards. Select screens made of wood, lattice, or natural materials like brushwood and bark for a more classic style.

Get your fence up

There's no hard rule saying you should have low fences, so you can upgrade your fences' height if you want your privacy and no prying eyes. Regions usually have limits set for how tall fences can go, so it's advised that you check with your local council for the specifications before work is done on the fence. Usually, 1.8 metres is fine and allowed in most states; just make sure you follow the rules and plan your project according to the community guidelines.

If you want to increase the height of your fence, you would have to reach an agreement with your neighbour first because it is a compulsorily shared structure. Generally, both neighbours should contribute to the cost of raising the fence, but if you're the only one interested, that would mean you'll cover the cost alone. However, if you don't want to go through the whole 9 yards of putting up a new fence, you can alternatively install a fence topper and keep the old fence structure. You simply have to select the right panel and height to fit the boundary you want to cover on your side. This is cheaper than getting a new fence.

Grow a barrier naturally

A natural screen can do a lot more than built panels. It can help block out nosy neighbours, but it will also add scenery to your barnyard and general premises.

The main problem is that although a dense cover from a tree and its lush branches can do a lot to hide your relaxing space and even provide shade, it takes a long time to grow and nurture. Additionally, the roots where growing can get under concrete and create cracks, get into pipes or even break them, break fences. The trees can also take up the nutrients and water in the soil that flowers and shrubs need in your lawn or garden.

That being said, a hedge is a great alternative in place of trees. Bamboo is known as a good plant for screening, and it famously grows reasonably fast. There are also several varieties, so you can pick one that grows to the height you want. You can purchase them when they're young and small from plant nurseries, and in 2 years, they'd be tall enough to provide cover for you adequately.

Bamboo is one of the best options for screening, the only known drawback most users have about it is complaints that it competes and dries out gardens and is very difficult to get rid of. While this is true, it only applies to certain varieties of bamboo, and that is why it's important to pick the right variety. Slender weavers are a good option as they grow very tall and do not disturb surrounding garden plants. They also add a luxury, exotic style atmosphere, making your home resemble a great holiday resort.

Other varieties are great for screening; these varieties grow vertically and surround new shoots on the parent stump. It is better to use these species than others that are low creeping.

Lilly pilly is a great choice for screening and is quite commonly used in Australia, where it grows. The lily pilly grows neatly and forms a clean hedge that grows an average of 2 metres annually. Other great options are the Neighbours-Be-Gone variety, Leyland Cyprus, a type of conifer popularly used to create lush hedges and screens for backyards. Leyland's can grow very long, as high as 15 metres and might have to be trimmed to prevent overshadowing or crowding.

Block the noisy neighbours away

Sometimes the hedges or panels installed to keep prying eyes away can also help keep most of the noise from neighbours away. However, if the neighbours are especially noisy, their activities would still break through the barrier. To cover this, one needs to think about brilliant solutions.

One of such solutions is installing a water fountain. The gush and flow of the water should block out any noise coming out from the neighbours, and it will also provide a peaceful water flow sound which is great for relaxation. Another option is wind chimes; they can help block out noise too. However, some people find that wind chimes constitute noise too. Different people have different choices, and so if you can bear or not get offended by the sound, you'd very much enjoy it.

Sometimes there might just simply be only one solution. It might be the best solution to directly approach your neighbour, calmly informing them that the noise from their activities disturbs your peace. It is good to have a good relationship with your neighbour if you make the conversation shouldn't be difficult.

If late-night or early-morning noise is a persistent problem, each state has laws and mediation rules that you can look into.

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