Does Privacy Matter to You?

Bee Better Naturally with Helen Yoest

Seasonal splendor draws us outside to enjoy time with our families or just to be alone in the garden. When venturing outside, do you often come face to face with a neighbor seeking the same? Even if you have great neighbors, most of us want to have some private time. Privacy can provide a comfy sense of seclusion and security. While we are social creatures, there are times we want to be alone in the garden—or at least, feel alone without being open for inspection.

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Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum

Privacy is becoming increasingly precious. When creating some for yourself, go beyond fencing. Add a variety of sizes, textures, and colors by using plants, including trees, shrubs, perennials, and even vines. This will not only provide privacy, but it will add interest and attract more wildlife.

The first place to start is to evaluate your goals for privacy. Are you trying to create a sense of enclosure? Do you want to hide the driveway or block the view of your neighbor’s deck or patio? Do you need privacy year-round or just during specific times? Plan and plant for privacy based on your specific needs.

Careful evaluation of the landscape will help you identify where you want to place plants for privacy. This will help you see whether or not a complete barrier is necessary in a particular area. While complete enclosure can be nice, it may be that all you really need is to block a bit of your neighbor’s window. If that is the case, just a few well-placed plants—or perhaps even just one shrub—will be enough, creating privacy when and where it’s needed most.

It’s also a good idea to know how your privacy screening works. Is it all built on your neighbor’s property? If so, you may want to consider adding a privacy barrier on your side as well. You never know if your neighbor or the next owner will keep those plants. What may be important privacy to you may only be a hedgerow to them.

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Oftentimes only seasonal privacy is needed for blocking the view of a neighbor or a shed. Maybe you enjoy spending the most time in your garden for spring teas, summer cocktails, or fall cookouts; select tall plants that will peak during the seasons you are most likely to be outdoors, allowing you to benefit from the privacy they provide as well as their beauty. Year-round privacy may not be needed or desired. Sometimes openness can be useful as well, such as allowing in more light during the winter.

Think about using plants to create private areas around your garden, as well . A long, single-species hedgerow can create a garden room, becoming a backdrop for a planting plan. With the hedgerow providing privacy and serving as a wall, a garden could be started from there, with the privacy hedge as the backdrop. During the garden bed’s peak, the privacy hedgerow will disappear. As the front garden display dies back in the off-season, the hedgerow takes center stage again..

Keep in mind that diversity of plant species will be good insurance against widespread pest damage. Having a variety of plants will lessen the wait period should one shrub in a row of shrubs be lost. Your barrier will be presentable while you wait for the new plant to catch up to the rest.

As an added bonus for planting a privacy buffer, you’re also providing cover and habitat or wildlife to raise young. With a selection of plantings that provide fruit, such as hollies, you also provide food. The sounds of life emanating from a hedgerow can be reason enough for providing privacy.

It’s also a good idea to know how your privacy screening works. Is it all built on your neighbor’s property? If so, you may want to consider adding a privacy barrier on your side as well. You never know if your neighbor or the next owner will keep those plants. What may be important privacy to you may only be a hedgerow to them.

With a good design, your privacy screen can serve multiple purposes. It will not only give you the private space you desire but will also become a part of your garden to admire and enjoy.

SIDEBAR

Whether you add a fence, hedgerow, or single shrub to block a view, creating privacy offers an opportunity to add your own personal touches. Break up a long row of identical hedges with a cute birdhouse or feeder or another type of tall vertical garden accent.

Containers in front of the hedgerow can change the rhythm of the space, at the same time allowing you to personalize the space. A privacy backdrop, whether it is a fence or plants, can also be embellished with a birdbath or bench or garden art, giving you a chance to express more of your style.

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Pollinator-friendly, sustainable, good design

Raleigh, NC
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