The Best Plants and Screens To Block Out Your Neighbours

In an age of shrinking lot sizes and expanding dwellings, preserving privacy is essential. Shield against intrusive gazes from curious neighbors with premium plants and screens. There are many options for plants and screens to act as a physical barrier to obstruct your home from anyone trying to look inside. They can also help block out sound protecting your peace and quiet.

And remember, these tips aren’t just for homeowners – they’re a must-know for property sellers and landlords too. Boost your property’s value and appeal to buyers or renters by addressing privacy concerns head-on.

Upgrade your fence

If low-boundary fences don’t provide enough privacy, consider upgrading to a taller fence.

Check with your local council on the maximum height of fence allowed. In most states, fences under 1.8 metres high won’t require approval, providing they meet planning guidelines regarding styles and materials.

Keep in mind that the general rule is both neighbours need to contribute equally to the cost of a new fence, unless only one party prefers a higher quality fence than standard. In that case, the neighbour who wants the premium fence needs to fork out the extra cash to cover it. If you want to keep your existing fence but need more privacy, you can install a fence topper.

These panels can be selected to match your fence and add height to the boundary without the cost of building a new one.

Add a privacy screen

When it comes to screening ideas to block out neighbours, sometimes the simple option is the best.

A privacy screen can be the perfect addition if you want to stop onlookers from peering inside your home. 

You can use your privacy screens to:

  • Stop people looking through your windows
  • Divide your backyard 
  • Keep your utilities (air conditioner, hot water system, junction box) from view 
  • Provide shade on hot days 

If you still want to enjoy the morning sunshine through your window, there are screens with small gaps so light can get through, without sacrificing privacy.

Alternately, screens are made from wood, plastic, fabric, or some other material that makes them light and easy to move. This way, you can take down the screens and put them back up at your leisure. 

These screens can also add shade to your backyard, and help keep you cool in the hot Australian summer. 

Grow a natural barrier

One of the best cheap ways to block neighbours view is through a natural barrier. 

A living screen not only prevents neighbours from peering in, but also adds a lush backdrop to your yard. Not only that, but you have the added benefit of additional shade and a cooler backyard in summer. 

Although a dense tree canopy is ideal for blocking views, large trees can take decades to mature and roots can crack concrete, block pipes, destabilise fences and sap nutrients and water from garden beds. To provide screening, a hedge is a better solution.

Consider using bamboo

Although bamboo has a bad reputation for invading garden beds and becoming impossible to remove, this is largely due to homeowners selecting the wrong variety for their yards. One of the fastest-growing screening plants is bamboo. You can choose a variety that grows to your exact desired height, and small plants purchased from nurseries can provide screening in as little as six months, growing to full height in about two years.

For screening, choose clumping bamboo, as it has a neat upright growth habit and only sends new shoots up from the main growing clump. Avoid running bamboo, which sends out underground shoots and easily spreads into neighbouring yards.

Which are the best plants to block out neighbours?

The best plants and best trees  to block out neighbours include:

  • Slender weavers bamboo (Bambusa textilis ‘Gracilis’)
  • Lilly pilly (Syzygium smithii)
  • Photinia Red Robin (Photinia x fraseri)
  • Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Silver Song’
  • Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’

With so many options available, there is a plant to suit every type of house or property.

A popular Australian native plant for screening is lilly pilly, as it forms a tidy hedge and grows up to two metres per year once established. In fact, there is even a variety called Neighbours-Be-Gone, known for its use as a screening plant.

Fast-growing conifers such as Leyland Cyprus are commonly used to create dense screens and hedges, although at up to 15 metres high, overshadowing can be an issue if trees aren’t pruned regularly.

Using plants to block out noise

Another benefit of having a thick, green garden is that it can actually block out noise!

Plants that are effective at blocking noise include:

These plants are thick, grow large at maturity and are evergreen, meaning they stay green and functional for more than one growing season. 

Water Feature

With any luck, a dense hedge can cut out a lot of the noise associated with loud neighbours, but if the residents next door are particularly annoying, you’ll need to think outside the box.

A water feature will make it easier to deal with noisy neighbours, as even though it might not block out the sound completely, it will provide you with a more peaceful sound to concentrate on.

These water features can be built DIY from scratch, or you can buy more ornate artistic fountains. 

Some homeowners even have outdoor waterfalls that act as both water features and privacy screens!

Container Garden

Wondering how to block out neighbours view if you have a small block, or live in a townhouse or apartment?

Thankfully, garden privacy is not limited to those who have large backyards. Container gardens are portable alternatives to the traditional backyard garden. They come in a nearly endless variety of shapes to suit any living situation, and you can move them around to suit your purpose. 

While pots are the most common form of container, you can create a container from almost anything. Creative gardeners have used everything from old boots, to picture frames, to a simple modern box complete with wheels to create their containers. 

See more creative examples here. 


Vertical Garden

A vertical garden, also called a vertical wall garden, are increasingly popular in urban areas where space is limited. 

Rather than being planted in the ground, a vertical garden runs up a wall or is upheld by a free standing panel. As a result, these gardens do not take up floor space. 

A vertical garden is useful if you lack the ground space necessary for containers on your balcony or in your small backyard. Your vertical garden can be as small as a picture frame, or large enough to cover an entire wall of your property. 

Another benefit of a vertical garden is that it doubles as a barrier to block out your neighbours view of your property while remaining green and inviting. 

Vegetable Garden

Your garden does not need to just be for show – it can have function as well as form. 

The best way to achieve this is through a vegetable garden. This not only allows you to have delicious home grown fruits and vegetables, but adds colour to your garden as well.

Creating a vertical vegetable garden is your best bet for growing fresh vegetables with limited space. Not only that, but a vertical vegetable garden can act as as a barrier to block out neighbours as well. 

This vertical vegetable garden can be supported by shelves, or vines hung up by mesh support. Enjoying fresh fruit and vegetables is as easy as plucking them off your green wall. 

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