Small, overlooked garden, privacy & design ideas


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Around 6 months ago moved into a new build house with a tiny garden. In additional to being small and awkwardly shaped it is overlooked from pretty much all sides, as you can see from the attached pictures. The developer had kindly offered to plant a second tree (a wild cherry to the left) to create a little bit more screening, but so far it's not doing too well and the leaves and branched are really weak. I'm hoping it's just the initial stress from being replanted and it would hopefully survive the winter.

We were initially thinking of planing some clumping bamboos just behind those two trees to create a better screening, but then someone suggested that we plant an evergreen trees instead, like 'Chinese privet', as it would then allow us to use the space below the canopy to plant some shrubs. They are quite a bit more expensive, though. Bamboos are quite cheap, on the other hand.

I should probably point out that the garden is south west-facing and gets plenty of sun, apart from the area behind the trees, where the brick fence is, there is no sun there at any time. We also live in the UK (South East), so there is not that much sun, regardless of the direction of the garden :).

Another thing to mention is we are definitely looking for a budget solution, possibly with the use of trellis and other types of screenings. Ideally whatever the solution we settle on, it would probably need to be around 4 meters high to provide an adequate screening.

I am completely open to any ideas and would highly aprreciate your suggestions.

View from outside the house / patio:
garden_1.jpg


View onto the house from the end of the garden:
garden_2.jpg


View from the parking lot:
garden_3.jpg


High resolution pictures:
https://imgur.com/a/YaTFe
 
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zigs

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Welcome to the forums :)

I can sympathise, I lived in a housing association place that was the same.

Before you go down the trellis route i'd check with the council that its allowed, pretty sure you'd need planning for anything over 2 metres.
 

alp

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Congratulations on your new house. Hope you live there happily ever after. You might need some security there as well as that low wall is not difficult to scale.

Bamboo is good. Phyllostachys Niger is nice. Just trim the lower branches and water generously, no, GENEROUSLY, bend new branches horizontally and you can have new shoots in no time. you could have a screen in no time. Also, they can be trimmed to let in light. Last thing you want is a thicket of leaves, blocking out all the lights. For security, I would top up the wall with sturdy trellis (ask for permission though as we don't want to break the law) so that nobody could climb over. Confederate jasmine is also nice or some evergreen which will let in light.
 

alp

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Actually, if I were you, I would see if the builder would top up your wall as your neighbour has higher walls than you. It's not funny if someone can scale the wall. Mind you, someone has his car stolen whilst asleep in the house. Nothing is safe or sacrosanct any more. Just my observation. I would ask for the same height.
 
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Welcome to the forums :)

I can sympathise, I lived in a housing association place that was the same.

Before you go down the trellis route i'd check with the council that its allowed, pretty sure you'd need planning for anything over 2 metres.
Thanks, I think it is 2 meters, but the wall is actually lower than than if you measure it from outside (not sure how visible it is from the pictures). It's a retaining wall, so our garden is a bit lower than the parking lot, hence it is 2 meters from the inside, but perhaps 1.7 from the outside.
 
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Congratulations on your new house. Hope you live there happily ever after. You might need some security there as well as that low wall is not difficult to scale.

Bamboo is good. Phyllostachys Niger is nice. Just trim the lower branches and water generously, no, GENEROUSLY, bend new branches horizontally and you can have new shoots in no time. you could have a screen in no time. Also, they can be trimmed to let in light. Last thing you want is a thicket of leaves, blocking out all the lights. For security, I would top up the wall with sturdy trellis (ask for permission though as we don't want to break the law) so that nobody could climb over. Confederate jasmine is also nice or some evergreen which will let in light.
I might try and go with the Bamboo route after all, still a bit worried, since everyone keeps saying how uncontrollable and unpredictable it is. I could ask the developer to top up the wall, but I recon they'd just dismiss it saying that it is 2 meters height on the inside or something along these lines. I might, however, try and top it up with some small-ish trellis on top.
 
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zigs

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I'd have a look around the estate to see if anyone else has done similar, then sound the council out about puttin up trellis with bamboo matting attached to it.

Alternatively, build an arbour where you can sit out without being overlooked.
 
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In looking I wonder if you could... Instead of grass, can you have about a 1' or 2' border around the garden grass area at the base of the wall? I think you could then do a lot more seasonal plants in pots and stands, maybe a narrow raised bed (one of the truly raised on legs type) for some veggies. The border (pavers, stones, crushed rock) would give you a solid foundation for planters, plant stands and alike. This would allow you to have some plants that are not typically screens, up higher and function as screens if you’re allowed to go that high maybe. If you cannot go over the top, it would still create nice variation to everything being in the ground, ground based. Not everything would be seasonal based, but they could create variety amongst the perennials ground based and or potted and raised perennials.

I love all the potted plants you have in the first picture, how to go about getting some of that color and variety down below. I also love the brick work, and think it makes a very nice accent – backing.

Also they say some hardscape is important. How about a birdbath, nice mid-size stature in the corner? I see one small decoration on the wall, what else might play out like that? For something dramatic you could espalier something that would extend over the top of the wall.

Are you allowed to attached to the wall, hang from over the top of the wall? Hooking over the top and then a planter down on your side about 2 -3' from the top of the wall? Then you only need a plant of modest high to provide some privacy, opens up options and can be changed out. Think some small 4' Italian Cypress type plants elevated mid wall, rising over the top of the wall. Some trellised plants. That start at 4' and go up. If those plants on the pavers were on a table, stands.... across that wall

If think if you go too heavy with a bamboo or alike in the ground (2 or 3 of the wall sides) pretty soon it will be large and your actual ground left will be very small and the light you get in the yard could be minimized. I might feel enclosed (which can be good or bad) but I don't think it will leave much room for variety, annuals... It might seem 1 dimensional. I understand privacy might be a goal, but keep in mind the opportunity of the walls as palettes and not something that is going to just end up being covered by screening plants. Screen one with bamboo or Italian Cypress or something, but leave yourself room to experiment and grow in a less permanent, more flexible way.

What is native to you, do you have birds, bees or butterfly’s visit? Would they visit with some native plants? A BBB sanctuary of sort in that garden are would be fantastic, not just for them, but also for you. Keep this in mind regardless how you decide to go, if it just screening plants what kind of screening material might promote BBB to visit. Don’t just need to have it all done at once and buy what is available at local big box if that’s one of the options. Try to find a smaller nursery and see what they have to offer and maybe suggest. Be creative.

PS I know nothing specific about design, but my taste is color, sizes, shapes, variety and sometimes having things a little less than conventional.
 
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alp

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I might try and go with the Bamboo route after all, still a bit worried, since everyone keeps saying how uncontrollable and unpredictable it is. I could ask the developer to top up the wall, but I recon they'd just dismiss it saying that it is 2 meters height on the inside or something along these lines. I might, however, try and top it up with some small-ish trellis on top.

But if your neighbour can have that height, why can't you? It seems to me your house back onto a car park, a taller wall can screen off a bit of exhaust fumes which are never good for us. Also, the world is getting tough and people are getting greedy. We are nice people and can always be caught by nasty surprise. I went out for an hour and my whole house was burgled. Everything was turned inside out and drawers bottoms up in the air. My elderly deaf neighbour was burgled twice within one year. Write them a proper letter or email. However, if you think you're safe, just ignore this. Remember a wall of brick is better than a trellis, even though it is 4 bricks high. (OK, I'm a bossy boot!) Sorry..

Bamboo phyllostachy won't be invasive. All you need to do is fashion some barrier near the front. And if you see runner, press it down with earth horizontally and you will have several plants within half a year. They won't go everywhere. They are clumpsters. I they run everywhere, I will be very rich. I do sometimes sell them. One winter, the wind toppled my 230L butt of water and the 5 foot tall bamboo added 2 feet to its height. Keep an eye on the bulky ones in B&Q or Homebase and get one when they reduce them probably to £25. Another name is Fargesia. Or even advertise on gumtree or freelywheely to see if someone wants to get rid of some black stem bamboos.. but make sure it is the elegant phyllostachys or Fargesia. Those really chunky ones can give you headache.
 

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