17 Oct 2013

Creating privacy for your yard

Posted by Leo

There was a time you could kick back in glorious solitude right in your own backyard. Then the people next door cleared some trees… And on the other side, the neighbours new master bedroom with walk in robe and 7 person spa also includes a second-story deck with nice views, right into your yard. Suddenly, you feel like you’re living in a fishbowl.

In this post we explore some ways create privacy again in your yard.

Boundary privacy options

As larger houses occupy ever-smaller blocks and the demand for outdoor living areas grows, privacy is at a premium. And it’s not just about prying eyes invading your space—you may want to shield your own view of your leather skinned sunbathing neighbours and also block out their chatter / screaming at the TV for their favourite team to “Just tackle him”.
There are many ways to add privacy in the landscape, from putting in perimeter plants to building fences, stone walls, or garden structures.

Below are a few options to consider.
If you haven’t already, the quickest way to gain some extra privacy is to put up a nice 6ft colourbond or hardwood fence.
This option can be quite unattractive and may not give you all the privacy you desire, especially when trying to block out two story houses.

Softening a fence or wall

There are a number of simple ways to ‘soften’ a new or existing fence. From simply planting some flaxes at the base of your fence (Pic 2), planting a layered garden (pic 3) or putting planter boxes and seating in front of your fence to create a real wow factor (pic 1). Don’t be afraid to mix in a small tree or two for extra height, colour, and texture.

Privacy option pictures

Boundary hedges

Boundary plants can provide year-round screening and are typically not restricted by council restrictions limiting their height.
Before you buy your privacy plants, you need to work out how big you want them to grow. If you don’t know how tall or wide you want it, your nursery staff wont be able to give good advice.

Which variety to choose
Of course you want to choose a plant that you like but some other factors need to be considered as well. Sunlight/shade, height, how much room do you have available, are there any pathways or structures that could be damaged by plant roots and any required maintenance.

Once you’ve worked out what you want, there are plenty of options that work well in the Sydney area, including:

  • Murraya (Murraya paniculata)
  • Sweet Viburnum (Viburnum odoratissimum)
  • Large Leaf Lilly Pilly (Syzygium luehmanni)
  • Small Leaf Lilly Pilly (Acmena smithii)
  • Sasanqua Camellia (Camellia sasanqua)
  • Japanese Camellia (Camellia japonica)
  • Photinia (Photinia fraseri ‘Red Robin’)
  • Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’
  • Magnolia grandiflora ‘Teddy Bear’
  • Pacific Red Cedar (Thuja plicata)
  • Bhutan Cypress (Cupressus torulosa)
  • Leyland Cypress (X Cupressocyparis leylandii)

Important things to remember when planting and maintaining your new hedge:

  • Prepare the soil, ask the staff at BC Sands to help you with soil selection.
  • Make sure they are evenly spaced and have even growth at the bottom of the plant.
  • Follow the nursery / plant instructions
  • Fertilise hedge plants three times per year, at the end of winter, around Christmas and again in March.
  • Watering – New plants require more watering than established ones. Check the moisture at the base of the plant every second day for approximately 6 to 8 weeks after planting.

BC Sands has a large range of soils, slow release fertilisers and watering equipment, buy online, call or come into the store. Our staff have the ‘know how’ to make sure you buy the right equipment and products for the job.

Private patio

Potted plants can be positioned to create a green screen around any small area. Ideally, pots should be raised up on casters or drip trays and / or made of lightweight materials so you can easily move them for parties or deck repairs. Screening is another option for instant privacy.


Blocking out noise

Even if you’re not literally seeing eye to eye with the neighbours, you might still be close enough to hear their conversation. Or you may be bothered by intrusive traffic noise or buzzing AC unit. Hedges are quite good at blocking noise but you may also want to consider adding a fountain to your privacy plan to mask unwanted sounds with pleasant white noise. They range from off-the-shelf, plug-in units that sit on a table or hang on the wall to custom designs that become a major focal point.
Keep in mind that flowing water becomes louder the farther it falls and the more tiers it travels over.
It’s possible for a fountain to be too loud, which can be just as disruptive as the noise you’re trying to hide. All fountains have a re circulating pump, so if you get an adjustable one, you’re sure to find a sound level that’s soothing.

BC Sands has a large range of soils, slow release fertilisers and watering equipment, buy online, call or come into the store. Our staff have the ‘know how’ to make sure you buy the right equipment and products for the job.

Written by Leo Stanners – Marketing Manager, BC Sands.

 www.bcsands.com.au  – Order online 24/7.

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