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Is your garden a personal, peaceful and private sanctuary?

Updated: 4 days ago

How you can improve your privacy, and increase your value, this summer

With so much new development in our area, along with ever increasing noise levels, one of the most frequent questions I receive is how to increase privacy and how to screen out unwanted sights and sounds.

Here are a few practical options to create your peaceful and personal sanctuary:

Planting hedges, shrubs or trees to create a natural barrier that increased privacy and soaks up sound. There are a range of options to fit different spaces, styles and budgets;

o Tall dense plants for hedges, or pleached hedges (effectively a series of trees that have been trained to create a hedge at height (like a hedge on stilts). Hedges can been planted as very small plants, or if you are in a hurry, mature troughs of thick hedging are an option.

o Instant screening panels, covered in ready grown plants such as Ivy and Jasmine can provide an immediate solution, and are great where you don’t have a lot of space.

o Trees with a more open canopy, such as Birch, can be planted along a boundary to create a stylish translucent screen, that changes with the seasons.

Strategically positioned trees, shrubs and hedging can distract from or break up a stark view

Installing a fence or trellis: Erecting a fence, or adding a trellis with climbing plants can enhance privacy while also adding a decorative element to your garden. You do need to be aware of the law surrounding fence heights: typically a fence structure around a rear garden* can be a maximum of 2 metres from original level without planning permission, (total combined height including any gravel boards at the base, or trellis on top). This is why most fence panels you can buy from your local DIY centre are no taller than 1.8m (6 foot). However, with planning permission a fence can be taller.

*The two-metre limit applies to areas that don’t front a road. For spaces that do front a road, a footpath or public highway such as front gardens where a visibility is needed for safety – the maximum permitted height is 1 metre. Planning permission is also required for new fences to listed homes.

Building a pergola or gazebo: These structures can add a sense of seclusion and privacy while also providing a space for relaxation or entertainment. A simple single sided (cantilevered) pergola or a series of archways (a ‘walk’) can be a really effective way of adding a lot of privacy, particularly where neighbouring buildings are very close, whilst also creating a very attractive design feature.

As a quick fix - Place strategically positioned potted plants and trees to distract you from unwanted views. A few dots of the same attention grabbing colour can soon pull your eye into the garden space.

Incorporating a water feature or fountain: The sound of running water can help create a peaceful and private atmosphere in your garden, and distract you from external noises that might be bothering you.

The sound of moving water is immediately calming

Consider your budget, the size of your garden, and the level of privacy you desire when choosing the best option for enhancing privacy in your outdoor space.

And - If you, or indeed your neighbour’s, hedges or screening options mean areas of your garden are now darker than you would like, you may want to think about ways to boost the light levels, with designer tricks such as adding:

• Reflective surfaces: mirrors tucked behind planting on fences, shiny silver ball sculptures, or pools of water that reflect the sky and sunshine.

• Shiny leaved plants, such as Fatsia japonica which can bounce the light around, and/ or silver leaved plants such as Brunnera macrophylla ‘jack frost’.

A strategically place mirror increases the light in this space, as well as making the garden appear bigger

Do remember to check local regulations and consider your neighbours before making any significant changes to your garden for privacy reasons – the best changes are ones that improve everyone’s outlook.

If you would like some professional design help transforming your garden to your personal sanctuary, get in touch:

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