Create your own hidden hideaway
Whether you want to entertain guests, top up your tan or have a water fight with the kids, it’s nice to have a private outdoor space which you can relax and enjoy without the peering eyes of your neighbours
It’s super easy to create a peaceful haven inside your home by shutting your neighbours out with curtains and blinds; however it’s not as easy in your garden. So now is the time to create an oasis – whether that’s to the front, side or back: a place where you can relax and enjoy the peace of your own home.
Firstly, it’s tempting to just install 6ft fences; however, if you have a small garden this will create too much shade making it gloomy and almost like living in a wooden box. If it feels important to create a solid barrier then try hurdle-style panels made of hazel, willow, bamboo or heather, as these will provide a more natural and friendlier feel. You don’t even need to rip out any existing fencing so this will ensure greater stability and will be less time consuming to achieve.
Bamboo screening is ideal for providing an instant enclosure effect, making a big impact with little spend. Plus there are many sizes and designs available.
Some plants can provide up to 50ft of seclusion if needed, whilst others are perfect for smaller areas. Try some of these plants and shrubs:
Clematis Montana is a climber that needs to be grown against a fence or trellis and will provide a great amount of colour in spring, ranging from pink to white. Bonus is that these are also super easy to grow
Forsythia is a shrub that will make a dense enclosure of around 5ft to 7ft and produces masses of yellow flowers in spring, just before they come into leaf
Photinia ‘Red Robin’ is a brilliant shrub providing privacy all year round, the new growth is bright red which matures to a dark green
Laurel and Leylandii hedging plants are both evergreen and ideal for forming large screens over 6ft tall. Leylandii can even grow to 50ft if needed. However, you’ll need to prune twice a year to keep things under control. It’s also important to check with your local council to seek permission and check for any restrictions that may be in force in your area.
Instead of installing a conventional hedge or border in front of your panels you can also install tall, airy and see through plants which will create an enclosed area without casting shade or filling up too much space. To do this, go for flowers and foliage, a good mixture includes Verbena Bonariensis, Valerian and Pendulous Sedge, which looks like a tall, weeping fountain of grass decorated with long, dangling green catkins.
If you don’t have much room or you fancy a more formal look then, as mentioned before, a decorative trellis would be ideal covered with climbers. Star Jasmine is good if you live in a mildish environment; it’s evergreen and the large white summer flowers are heavily scented. Meanwhile, Clematis is brilliant as you can plant several different kinds in the same spot to provide a range of different flowers from spring to autumn. They also don’t cast too much shade. Finally, if you like the scent of pineapple, the Pineapple Broom is superb. Its foliage is greyish and architectural, with big flowers, providing a sweet scent.
However, growing plants isn’t the only alternative way to create privacy. Why not dig down instead! Sunken gardens were a great favourite in Edwardian times. But it’s worth noting that a sunken garden only works if you have well drained soil, otherwise it’s likely to flood each time it rains, leaving you with a temporary pond for your garden. However, if you do have a suitable spot, then dig down and make raised beds or a grass bank.
You could even create a sunken rose garden which will help trap its scent. After enclosing your gardens you may find you have a few eyesores such as wheelie bins, oil tanks and bike storage: all of which can really make your garden look unpresentable. It’s important to store your bins in a convenient area close to the house, so why not decorate them? Include various grass and floral designs to act like a camouflage or even attach artificial grass or turf, which will allow your bins to blend into your gardens surround. An alternative way could be investing in a perfect bin storage: a neat and tidy option with some even allowing you to incorporate plants throughout and hide any recycling boxes.
You can pick these up from most garden and DIY shops, and they sell them in a different range of sizes, materials and shapes.