Friday, October 26, 2012

THE LAST DAYS OF MY PRIVATE BACKYARD GARDEN

There are things that you never think about until they happen. Like people looking down on you as you garden. Before this week, the thought never occurred to me. You see, when you live in a neighborhood with small, one story houses, nobody can look over the fence. Our garden privacy was a given. But my little privacy fence is no match for what's happening here in my inner city, post WW II, tiny home haven.
If you owned the little home on the left, would this photo scare you?
It scares me because it's right behind my house.

Here's what's left of what used to be a very large back yard. 
There are only a few choices for builders.
Big house on big lot
Big house on small lot
Small house on small lot
and finally...
Small house on big lot (lot's of room for gardening!!!)

Here's the sad part...this is the new view from my secluded garden bench at the very back of the garden.
If I plant a line of tall cherry laurel trees, this would block out the people and the windows.
But that's a terrible idea since the same line of trees would block out the precious sunshine.
 I guess this is what I get for living in a city of 2.1 million people. 
*****
For all of you with this problem I'd like to know if you ever think about people watching you garden? Maybe I should just wave from time to time. 
Thanks for any advice.
Happy Gardening, David/:0)
Last week's view when I thought it was going to be a one story house.
(Wishful thinking)
This photo is entitled "Beyond the Chicken Coop"






28 comments:

  1. Quite a huge change to the vista and atmosphere of your garden David. I wonder if instead of a tree use a trellis on top of the fence panel instead? With climbers it will give some privacy without totally blocking all of the sun away.

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  2. Oh dear. Yeah, that would scare me. I hope that the people living in the house will become great friends of yours. That would help. Maybe greetings with a smile will help. You might even come up with some innovative way to make your garden more private.

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  3. It will be a big change. I live in a two story house between two single level houses and one of the neighbors has mentioned it. It might make a difference what rooms overlook your yard. I don't look out the upstairs windows much and we have only a few windows on the sides of the house.

    They got over it when a highrise hotel was built overlooking all our yards. I just ignore it.

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  4. You have my sincere sympathies as I went through this same thing a few years ago. Big lot small house behind us transformed into two McMansions on said lot, three stories tall in a neighborhood of houses that sound a lot like yours. I made my self sick worrying about it. Thankfully the builder caved to neighborhood pressure and left a tall tree that helped give us a little privacy. The Laural which had been removed for building has (as it does) grown back and also provided a bit of a screen. Still they are there...my best advice to you? Try not to think about it. Easier said than done though...

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  5. Some people call this progress...HA!

    Our old garden was private...a wooden 'privacy' fence, in a one story neighborhood.
    Here, we can't have those wooden fences. We're on 'the turn' of a golf course. Our house can be seen from all sides. I do feel sometime that I garden in a goldfish bowl. But, I just smile and wave at carts going by..or ignore them.

    At least your new neighbors will have a nice view.

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  6. That's what Washingtonia filifera or better yet, Sabal mexicana, are for:-) Think of it as a new garden opportunity on your side of the property?

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  7. Bummer...sometimes you wonder what people are thinking. How about a few palm trees clustered together.

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  8. I must admit I gasped in horror when the first picture popped up. No doubt they will be looking down at your beautiful garden often! Maybe you need to get those chickens back so they can crow at the neighbors at inappropriate hours . . .

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  9. I sure hope the people who are going to live in that house are very nice!

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  10. Oh, my! My privacy is very precious to me, and I can't imagine having 'nosey neigbor' watching (or in my imagination, at least) my every move. What will you do? Perhaps they will be just as concerned for their own privacy, and install black-out curtains that they keep drawn. I hate to think of people watching me. I even hate when airplanes fly overhead! LOL

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  11. Well, I suppose you could look at it this way ... you will have some new fans of your lovely garden when these new neighbours move in. They will have a great view of your wonderful creation. Maybe if you do some weird magical garden dance, they might be tempted to keep their curtains closed and never look out upon your yard again!!!

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  12. Hi David,
    You have all my sympathy :( Just hope that the occupants of that house are too busy with cleaning and pottering around their house to look down into your backyard.

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  13. Take heart, David. Assuming you don't garden in the nude, you'll probably soon forget they're there. At least I hope so. I garden in my front yard so I've gotten used to gardening in public view - in all my sweaty glory. Hopefully, you won't lose any sun in your garden, and I hope they paint it a pleasing color.

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  14. I don't think I'd like that either. I can relate to some extent because I made the mistake of putting a wire fence around my backyard and I'm on a corner. Thus, everyone and their dog--literally--see me when I'm outside sometimes in my nightgown, short shorts, hair sticking up everywhere, etc. For awhile I even had a neighbor who would watch for me to come out so he could come over. I hid behind trees. This drove me nuts! Could you screen it with some lattice and a delicate vine?

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  15. My sympathies, David. I once had a lovely art teacher, who decided to build a studio in the front of her house and get visiting artists to conduct workshops, but no sooner was her studio completed - and it looked very much like the house on the left in your photo - than the builders moved in next door, whether to build a multistory house or apartments I don't recall, but the end result was that she lost all her natural light and the studio was unusable. What a shame people can't take the existing street profile into account.

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  16. My neighbors are very close and our neighborhood doesn't allow privacy fences. My neighbors have a full view of me in all my ragged dirty garden clothes and my hair sticking up. Sometimes we chat, other times we just ignore each other. I'd like more privacy and understand your frustration. But it's also given me a chance to chat with my neighbors about gardening.

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  17. It is a pity, I can understand why this things happen!
    Regards.

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  18. OMG this is a nightmare come true !!!! I'd hate that and would do EVERYTHING to avoid being looked at when I'm in my garden. Perhaps you cn consider high espalier tree's ?

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  19. I totally understand how you feel as we had the same thing happen to us. I have tried to let the hedge trees grow up way higher and untrimmed since then...not so much to stop them looking in but so that their huge house is not my view from the kitchen window.

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  20. I have the exact same problem - they are now building on the previously empty lot next to me. I knew the house would be a 2 story, but even the foundations are up quite high - it's going to be a very tall house. And if our back neighbors really wanted to watch me, they could as well. It is weird to think about people seeing you garden, but lots of people see me garden in the front yard so I guess I'll get used to it. It's what we get for building on a small lot (which is all they really have where I am). If we ever move again, I want more land!

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  21. Eww thats annoying I would hate being that close to my neighbors and have them be able to look down on me.

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  22. We have always lived in a neighborhood of two story houses. I had the opposite problem as we looked into our neighbor's yard and pool. They didn't seem to mind, but I did. So I planted a row of wax myrtles to give them privacy. Weeping Bottle Brush would also work well as they flower and attract hummingbirds. I do grow other plants around them.

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  23. Yuck! Sorry to hear that. I know what you mean- if you plant to cover it then you lose the sun.... Hopefully they won't have a lot of windows looking out onto the backyard they don't have......

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  24. Im sorry to note this.
    I would be feel the same way as you mentioned.
    Hope it worked out the best with your new neighbours.
    And if they are too much of a busybody - just plant shady plants to give you the needed privacy.

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  25. Well, dang, David! I hope it won't be as intrusive or shady as you fear!

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  26. The same thing may happen to me. The city wants to sell the corner 40 foot wide lot to a home owner/builder who plans to build 2 stories the length of the lot - no back yard. I will loose all my sun and their will be no gardening anymore. I can't imagine my life with out gardening. Plus he loves to throw around his hip hop street cred. No privacy fence can drowned out that noise.

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  27. Builders are often pressured into building large houses on valuable in-town lots because they don't make enough money to buy the land if they build a small house on it. That said, I don't see any window framing on the side of the upstairs that most directly faces your yard. Perhaps a blank wall won't make you feel as exposed as a wall of windows would. I'm sure you'll find a way to screen and soften that view. Good luck!

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  28. Quick summer privacy plant that will grow over 15 feet tall in the summer. Tithonia diversifolia or Bolivian sunflower, I have it planted across the back of my property which faces an easement.

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I always appreciate your comments & questions! Happy Gardening from David/ Tropical Texana

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