Ideas for privacy in our fishbowl backyard!

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  #1  
Old 11-30-16, 03:39 PM
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Ideas for privacy in our fishbowl backyard!

Hi,
We've been in our home for 2 years. We live in a neighborhood of mostly rambler and multi-level homes. Homes on our street are ramblers but basement is quite a bit lower in the ground. Homes on street behind our house have taller basements and are multilevel...
In a nutshell, we have 3 homes that overlook our backyard and it sucks.
We planted trees a year and half ago, but we're interested in more of a quicker solution.

What makes a good privacy screen? I'd love to look out our blinds and not see someones deck or windows...
we have 6 ft vinyl. Considered 12 ft pergolas spanning back parallel to the fence where vines can spread. thought of arborvitaes but worried about buying a bunch then having some die off.

heres a view out my back yard:
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  #2  
Old 11-30-16, 04:00 PM
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Welcome to urban/suburban living!

First, you need to check with the city of what you can do. Sure you can build a great wall that Trump would envy, but if the city does not allow it then they will make you rip it down.

Trees would be the best option, but they will take a long time to grow. Conifers would be the best as deciduous trees will only provide a screen for half the year.

Although trees will take a while to grow, you could have some large trees planted by a company that has a large tree spade. This would likely be quite expensive. That will give you almost instant gratification and most cities will not have any issues with trees.
 

Last edited by Tolyn Ironhand; 11-30-16 at 05:10 PM.
  #3  
Old 11-30-16, 04:55 PM
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I agee, want privacy you bought the wrong house in the wrong area.
 
  #4  
Old 11-30-16, 07:15 PM
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Forget most trees for twp reasons. First, any tree that looses leaves would provide only part-year privacy. Second, because of the branches you would have to plant them too far from the fence and you'd loose a lot of yard.

Consider fast growing shrubs such as green giant or skyrockets. Another option is lilac, although you'd have to live with loss of leaves. You won't need many; just plant them strategically so that they block the things you don't want to see from your windows.

Beyond that, consider adding a pergola.
 
  #5  
Old 11-30-16, 07:35 PM
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Um... move to the country and get an acreage if you don't like it. You have a better view than 99.9% of people in other neighborhoods.
 
  #6  
Old 12-01-16, 07:29 AM
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I have to agree with the others, why did you buy a home that was, in your own words, a fishbowl if what you really wanted was privacy?

I am well aware of the fishbowl house and I was willing to look for months before I bought just to avoid it. Nonetheless, I do not have a perfect "compound" and I detest the proliferation of six-foot tall solid "privacy" fences. In my own case it is only the single house behind me (a tri-level) that can see into my back or side yards and whatever they see they deserve the eyeburn it causes.

Whatever happened to the three or four foot tall white picket fence that was meant only as a delineation of the property line? Whatever happened to friendly neighbors? Why is everyone so secretive these days?
 
  #7  
Old 12-01-16, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand
Conifers would be the best as deciduous trees will only provide a screen for half the year.
Thanks Tolyn,
Conifers are for sure an idea on the list.. Also might look into the tree transplant idea and see if anyone does this locally. Thanks.

Originally Posted by Tony P.
Consider fast growing shrubs such as green giant or skyrockets. Another option is lilac, although you'd have to live with loss of leaves. You won't need many; just plant them strategically so that they block the things you don't want to see from your windows.

Beyond that, consider adding a pergola.
Thanks Tony,
The wife likes lilacs. I guess i didn't realize some species could get up to 25 feet. I've considered green giants. Maybe i can do a mix instead of buying only 1 type and lining the property. Might throw a Pergola in there too as that was another of my considerations. Thanks again.

As for the rest, thanks for your input. Indicating that I simply shouldn't have bought the house or should have moved out into BFE was a big help.
Really, we bought the house because it was 1) a nice upgrade from our old house we lived in for 12 years 2)it fit 95% of our needs. 3) the neighborhood is safe and full of nice people 4) we got a smoking deal.
The remaining 5% of needs are things we are actively working through; they weren't deal breakers. Part the 5% being the not-so-private backyard which i figured wasn't that big of a deal as we could address later (Hence looking for ideas now to prepare and budget for Spring) Additionally i didn't think it was too unneighborly or damning to have some privacy in the back yard.

cheers
 

Last edited by bigjimcfh; 12-01-16 at 01:35 PM.
  #8  
Old 12-01-16, 01:16 PM
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Dude, people here are going to speak their minds and you have to be prepared for that when you ask a question. Since we seldom are given the big picture right off the bat, we have to assume (often quite) a bit. Here's basically the level of detail you gave us to start:
In a nutshell, we have 3 homes that overlook our backyard and it sucks.
Note that nothing is said here abut the house meeting
95% of our needs... The remaining 5%... weren't deal breakers... which i figured... we could address later
so we had to proceed without that information and, of course, got off the track you wanted us to follow.

We're here to help but you have to help us a bit as well.
 
  #9  
Old 12-20-16, 08:35 PM
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Seek out a bamboo grower in UT. There might be a clumping boo (not running) that will overwinter.
 
  #10  
Old 12-30-16, 10:12 PM
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bamboo is a potential nightmare. Many varieties are illegal. It spreads so fast in all directions and breaks though patios etc. It will go under the fence and piss off the neighbors. The root system is like wood buried if you ever want to remove it.

To the OP, if you have a patio area, you can plant bushes/trellises/pergolas/privacy fences around the patio and it will be much closer to the house and thus will block the view vs trying to grow huge trees at the back fence line. It won't block out as much but you will at least be able to be on your patio or downstairs and not look out and see other peoples' windows and vice versa, and in the meantime you can wait for giant trees to grow at the back fence area.
 
  #11  
Old 12-31-16, 10:53 AM
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gunner666....clumping boo is OK. We have 30 or so around our fence line for privacy. Half are 5 years old and 8 x 8. Others are 3 y/o and 5 x 5. Roots are not a problem. You are thinking of RUNNING boo.
 
  #12  
Old 12-31-16, 12:22 PM
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You clearly allowed to have fences have you checked to see what the max height allowed is?
 
  #13  
Old 12-31-16, 01:41 PM
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Is this a common arrangement ?

What I find odd is that all of those people on the other side of the street are forced to look at your Backyard . . . . or at your fence.

Most urban areas are laid out with with the Frontyards facing one another, and the back yards abutting people on the next street over, or a common alley . . . . often lined with garages or parking areas.

I've lived in many parts of this Country and spent the past 28 years as Real Estate Broker . . . . and I think I can say I've never seen anything quite like your set-up.

What do you have for a view from your Frontyard ?

Are you currently the only one with a fence completely surrounding your Backyard ?
 
  #14  
Old 12-31-16, 02:02 PM
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The pictures look like back yard to back yard to me. Very common in my area.
 
  #15  
Old 12-31-16, 02:09 PM
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FWIW, the OP hasn't logged on since early December, I suspect he did not like the information he received based on post # 7.
 
  #16  
Old 01-01-17, 07:24 AM
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I would agree, have lived all over the country and that is what you get with most new planned subdivisions.

Not to get into ones wishes but that has to be a condition you are willing to live with choosing that type of home!
 
  #17  
Old 01-16-17, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by YaddaYadda
Seek out a bamboo grower in UT. There might be a clumping boo (not running) that will overwinter.
Thanks! I've actually since found some recommendations of bamboo and considered if for a bit, then found people reporting issues with it going crazy and taking over. That turned me off from it.
....clumping boo is OK
...That was until you suggested clumping bamboo. I'll have to look into it. Thanks.

Originally Posted by gunner666
...if you have a patio area, you can plant bushes/trellises/pergolas/privacy fences around the patio...
Thanks Gunner! We do have a patio. I've considered this and may just do this. Was thinking lattice and PT 4x4's as a temp setup for a couple years. Still deciding. Thanks for the idea. Things are frozen solid at the moment so i have a couple months to decide.

Originally Posted by Marq1
You clearly allowed to have fences have you checked to see what the max height allowed is?
Yup; 6FT max around here.

Originally Posted by Vermont
What I find odd is that all of those people on the other side of the street are forced to look at your Backyard . . .
It is the back of our houses/yards facing each other. our backyard, fence, their back yard, house, front yard, street.
What do you have for a view from your Frontyard ?
We have a front yard, driveway to the east to our garage with curb/gutter and street. the front of our houses face each other.
Are you currently the only one with a fence completely surrounding your Backyard ?
All of our neighbors have fully-fenced back yards.

Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand
The pictures look like back yard to back yard to me. Very common in my area.
Yesssir.

Originally Posted by stickshift
FWIW, the OP hasn't logged on since early December, I suspect he did not like the information he received based on post # 7.
Well... Was a bumpy start. You don't agree that some responses contributed absolutely nothing? Others have provided suggestions/advice/tips/ideas which have been really helpful and I greatly appreciate. Also, i hadn't been getting email notifications that there were responses.

Originally Posted by Marq1
...that has to be a condition you are willing to live with choosing that type of home!
As had been established.
The meat of the ask was options to remedy issue which was lack of privacy through means of construction, planting or combination of both.
Had been hoped that i might find others which had similar situation that had discovered a reasonable resolution they were happy with which excluded moving or going back in time and not buying home in the first place.
 
  #18  
Old 01-16-17, 11:07 AM
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You don't agree that some responses contributed absolutely nothing? Others have provided suggestions/advice/tips/ideas which have been really helpful and I greatly appreciate. Also, i hadn't been getting email notifications that there were responses
Well it is a free forum and anyone can respond. You have to take the good with the bad. We only intervene if dangerous advice is given.

It doesn't look like you subscribed to this thread which is why you weren't notified.
 
  #19  
Old 01-16-17, 01:37 PM
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You have to take the good with the bad.
Very true.

I was going to comment on this topic back on New Year's but saw the OP hadn't logged on in several weeks and decided not to do so. The fact is I found several of the comments to be way off base. Not only didn't several of the comments add to the discussion (comments akin to "You have a typical yard." or "Why'd you buy the house?") but others were downright insulting (comments similar to "Move." or "Consider what your poor neighbors have to endure".)

Guidelines provide,
Never degrade any other person and/or the information any member provides. Treat each other with the highest respect, dignity, professionalism and an overall highest regards at all times.
This guy was talking about his house and so were we. He shared an issue he was having with his house and what he got in return was a series of passive aggressive or stronger comments on his choice.

Two final comments. First, it's not appropriate to comment negatively on another's post so I tried to make my comments generic. Second, if anyone wants to comment on my home I've included a picture.
 
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  #20  
Old 01-16-17, 02:08 PM
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comment on my home
Bad enough to wake up on the wrong side of the bed but upside down
 
  #21  
Old 01-16-17, 02:45 PM
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When an op is seeking a solution for something that seems to most people to appear perfectly normal and expected, it seems logical that "part" of the replies might address that part of the question... that this is normal. (No different than someone who posts a question worrying about some perceived problem when he just needs to hear someone say... this is not a big deal, dont worry about it... which is helpful in that it "ought to" allay his fears, and help him realize he may be overreacting to something that just needs to be accepted for what it is). I notice no one was getting out of hand... giving snarky answers suggesting he board up the windows or pull the shades or just quit looking in that general direction, although im sure some thought it.

Maybe I was out of line to suggest a house in the country with no neighbors... but in reality, if you don't want to see other houses or other neighbors, your options are pretty limited. If anyone took offense I appologize. Or to quote Alec Baldwin from SNL, I apple-o-gize.

The point about looking out the front windows is a valid one, because heaven forbid you might see the houses across the street or their crappy car in the driveway or the neighbor kids playing in their front yard... also things you cant do any thing about. How is this a different situation? Front yard / back yard. Seems logical enough to me to bring up the question of why one is bothersome but not the other.

But if the op wants ideas outside the realm of what you would normally find in a neighborhood, building or planting something closer to the house that might block the view out the windows seems logical enough. Building a 6 ft courtyard style brick wall or wood arbor that is closer to the house might be another... then put plants on top of the wall / arbor. Or maybe get one of those LED "windows" that has a desert scene or a mountain scene and hang that in front of the window to simulate a beautiful view.
 
  #22  
Old 01-16-17, 03:19 PM
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I have to agree with X, I didn't see any really nasty responses.

My previous house was in a suburb about ten miles north of Seattle. Total population was a little less than 20,000 people. Most of the homes were fairly modest, ranging from about 800 to 1200 square feet on lots of about 7,000 to 9,000 square feet. The house to the north of me went through three or four owners during my 22 years there.

One owner was a young couple, in their 20s and the man, I'll call him Keith because that is his name, was an "up with the chickens" type of guy. I worked a graveyard shift and normally got home between quarter til and quarter after eight in the morning. I often would stay up until noon or later before going to bed but occasionally would hit the sack as soon as I got home.

Anyway, Keith would decide his lawn needed mowing at 8:30 Sunday morning and would fire up his home-made power mower (without muffler) and go to it. Or he would fire up his chain saw to cut some firewood. Or he would get an "attack of the buildies" and start hammering away. More than once I asked him if he could please refrain from making excessive noise until after nine AM because if I wasn't asleep by then I wasn't going to be sleeping. His response was that he had to get things done, essentially telling me to pound sand, he would make as much noise as he desired because the sun was up and time was awastin', it wasn't HIS fault that I worked a screwball shift.

Now here is the relevance to this thread, One time we were talking and he told me that he didn't like living "in the big city" and that they were looking for a place out in the country. What was really strange is that he worked in Seattle so he should have known what a "big city" is like and that MLT was a far, far cry from that.

That is why I agree with X, the pictures show a very typical suburban neighborhood. I've seen a lot worse when it comes to "fishbowl" living and I was instantly turned off by them and kept looking. I probably looked at well over 100 homes and looked in depth at at least a quarter of them, rejecting all for some reason or other. My current home is far from ideal but I have to admit I like it just as much today as when I bought it more than sixteen years ago.
 
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