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Looking for Backyard Privacy??

July 10, 2011

 Looking for Backyard Privacy??



Rick Pecman,

Your Local Realtor & Horticulturalist



          Getting larger homes onto our standard sized lots has created smaller and smaller backyards.  In maximizing the land space developers, investors and builders have created detached homes with very little elbow room outside, unlike the Bungalows of our parents generation.  Watching TV shows  on HGTV has given many homeowners lovely ideas on creating outdoor living spaces and retreats in their backyards, but actually enjoying the solitude and privacy NOW, not in 15-20 years is the ultimate objective, and can be obtained by using the right plants and trees along with well positioned screening, trellis or pergolas…


TREES > The quickest and most cost efficient ways of creating privacy during the summer months is by planting trees in just the right spots to block the 2nd storey windows of your backyard neighbours.  Before actually planting any trees, it is important to decide how you’re going to use the backyard and then situating the trees to maximize privacy for certain key areas (eg. Deck> for eating/entertaining, Hot Tub> for Relaxing/Parties, Patio> for BBQ’s and dining….).  Picking the right tree for your yard and the space is important. The big Red Maples will take over the entire yard, spread into your neighbours yard and suck the moisture out of your lawn….choosing a smaller, narrower tree such as the columnar maple(pictured above), or a pyramidal hornbeam, columnar engish oak, red obelisk beech, columnar crabapple.. will give you the height to block out those 2nd storey windows quickly and not take over your entire yard…

   If your planning on having a patio, a tree planted strategically close to the patio will create quicker privacy than if it was planted 20 feet away near the rear fence. Choosing a smaller tree such as a bloodgood japanese maple will provide interesting foliage colour and privacy when your on your lounge chair or at your patio set having diner. If a year round coverage is desired near a hot tub a columnar evergreen such as emerald cedar, degroots cedar, Spartan juniper, blue arrow juniper would be more suitable.


SCREENS, TRELLIS’ & PERGOLAS>  Combining appropriate narrow or small trees like I discussed as well as adding a few screening structures will give your backyard an added element of privacy as well as some year round structure.   Blocking the view of a side neighbours deck from your deck, can be challenging if it’s a 2nd storey deck and limited space between your deck and the fence line, prevent a columnar tree from being planted.

Being creative by integrating a screen will create instant privacy. A little thought and a few extra dollars can create a screen that will be functional and appealing..adding pictures, lighting, even an outdoor flat screen tv to the structure will add to the Wow Factor!! A few large pots with tropical bougainvillea or climbing mandervillea will add a tropical flair to the deck and soften up the hard lines of the screen.

Romewasn’t built in a day, and neither will your backyard retreat.  It will require some planning to minimize wasted dollars, it may require phases to work within your budget but a well planned out design is a great first step.. from the design you can get proper quotes on installation, or proper advice from your local garden centre and home improvement stores if you’ll be planting and building it yourself….




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