How to Deal with a Bad Backyard View

Bringing the outdoors in is a popular way of maximizing your backyard and improving your family’s health and sense of well-being. But what if the backyard is the last place you want to spend time because all you see is the neighbour’s water stained siding or a looming roof or a metal utility shed? And when you’re inside, you feel you have to keep the curtains closed to block out the eyesore. Increase the enjoyment of your backyard both from inside your home and out in the yard. Strategies for dealing with an ugly view include planting a living screen, drawing the eye to a fresh focal point, and building a fence.

Block out only what is necessary.

When thinking of solutions to block out a bad view, a natural instinct is to build a fence. While this is the whole point, a fence as tall as municipal bylaws will allow also shuts out good aspects of what you see from your yard. The view in the distance such as mountains, a wooded area, or even a historical landmark can bring added value to your backyard and garden. Block out only what you don’t want to see. This can be done with portable privacy screens or by planting trees of different heights, the taller ones for blocking and the shorter shrubs for visual interest and maintaining the scenic view.

Plant a living screen.

A living screen is like a fence but is made of trees that hide eyesores in a permanent, but more organic way than standard fencing. Whereas building a fence along the property line can make a small backyard appear even smaller, a living screen lets in “light.” When dealing with limited space, select trees that grow vertically as opposed to spreading outward. Bamboo is an excellent choice, but make sure you include a root barrier to prevent it from overtaking your landscaping. Plant mature trees rather than saplings; young trees take time to grow and fill out.

Install an outdoor fabric privacy screen.

Install an outdoor fabric privacy screen that will allow you to adjust the panels accordingly. This is an ideal solution when the bad view or eyesore is up close and personal to a bathroom or bedroom window. If the view when sitting on your deck or patio needs to be hidden from your eyeline, use a portable privacy screen.

Draw the eye to a fresh focal point.

When there’s not much you can do about an unkempt house or an unsightly neighbour’s yard, you can draw the eye away from the eyesore to a fresh focal point. There are a number of creative DIY projects to accomplish this. Advantageously place a trellis or lattice and plant climbing vines. Design your own gutter garden. Install a waterfall or fountain – the sound of falling water makes is soothing while the water feature draws the eye toward and down. Do you have children or grandchildren? Add a play structure: it will block out the ugly view and create a fun place to play or visit.

Build a fence.

Before building a fence check local bylaws for any height restrictions. These restrictions typically also stipulate the height of lattice panels added to an existing fence. Sold board fencing and panel fences don’t have to be “boring.” For eye-catching effect, plant flowering shrubs and plants that bloom in different seasons.