Private garden design – how to achieve it

garden design

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Privacy in the garden is a common problem. In particular open gardens struggle with being overlooked by neighbours or passing traffic. The legal height for boundaries is 1.8 m, meaning, very often it is tricky to create a private garden design. Very often, we may be overlooked from upstairs windows. Therefore, it is important to feel secluded in the garden. Even if it is only part of an area, it is nice to feel that you are not being spied upon.

Private Garden Design tips:

  • Where to place your patio. Try and have it so it faces the sunny corners of your garden. Consider adding planting all the way round to create walls to the space. If you are unsure, consider using the services of a garden designer to help you create privacy in the garden
  • Can you make your existing boundaries higher? If you can, it will prevent your neighbours from looking over you on both sides
  • Are you actually being overlooked? Or do you just think you are? Some neighbours might not be as nosey as you think!
  • If you have glass bifold or patio doors across the back of your house, and you feel that you are being looked into, consider bringing some planting up close to the house. It is worth dividing your garden up with this trick if you feel very exposed

Planting trees

Private Garden Design - planting trees can give shade and privacy

Hedge on a stick! This is one of my favourite solutions to tackle private garden design. Pleating is a way of growing trees. There are several different varieties available including evergreens. These will add a natural, majestic and rather glamorous solution to raising your boundaries. Many come with upwards of 1.5 clear stem and are grown on frames up to 2 m. So, you can plant them along your boundary to increase your height by at least a couple of metres. It provides a nice green backdrop for your space. They do come with a price tag though.


Pergolas can help with your private garden design

Pergolas of any structure are a great way of making an area within your garden totally private. If you have a specific space which you feel is particularly overlooked, you can direct timber framed structure to enclose it. It is a perfect solution for year round cover, and privacy can be increased if you train a climber to grow over the structure. It will create shade, so don’t feel you need to enclose the whole patio. It is also a great way to introduce structure and architectural edge to any space.

Shade sail

Shade sails are popular in private garden design

Shade sails’ popularity has rocketed in the last few years particularly in private garden design. Naturally, the primary use is to create shade, but they are also perfect for creating private areas in the garden. Easy to a erect and cheap to buy, they just require three or four high pickup points. They come in a variety of colours and sizes and shapes so you are bound to find the perfect solution

Raising the Boundary

Raise the boundaries to help with private garden design

Seems obvious, but if you are really struggling with privacy in the garden, the first thing to do is to raise the boundary. You are allowed 1.8 m around the perimeter of your garden so make sure that you have the highest that you can. Don’t be afraid to fence part of the garden if one side is more problematic than the other. If you don’t own a fence, you could always direct trellis on your side above the fence line. In this private garden design, we added a timber slatted fence to the top of the existing brick wall to raise the height.


Hedges can give privacy - private garden design

This is a classic solution to privacy around the boundary. Many gardens will come with mature hedges. Personally, I think they can be a tricky solution to a small garden as they can often be imposing, as well as taking up a lot of the flowerbed. As well as the size, they can also take a lot of the moisture out the soil making it difficult to grow other plants in front. A classic solution to privacy around the boundary. Many gardens will come with mature hedges.  There is also the maintenance to consider. However, they do provide a lovely green backdrop to your space.


Planting tall - will help with private garden design

Aside from planting around the boundary (think climbers on trellis), a well placed flowerbed, or a specimen tree can create an enclosed area. In order to increase privacy in a garden here, we planted flat top trees, which created a canopy towards the rear of the garden masking the view from the upstairs houses.

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