Need(easy) ideas for privacy fence in my backyard

There’s an empty lot behind my house which will soon have a house built upon it. A two story house, no doubt, that will loom over my little backyard. Currently I have a six foot chain link fence that for the most part is covered with jasmine. There are uncovered sections where none has grown because of all the debris and weeds on the other side. I’ve put large planters in those spots for now until I think of something better but my big issue is creating a better, taller barrier if possible.

I’ve been looking into this and there are various things that can be done, but unfortunately not by me. I need to find something I could conceivably create / install myself. I don’t see any way I can extend the fence structure itself, but maybe I could attach something to the horizontal bar(?) I know you can put extensions on the end cap thingies but most of those are encased in jasmine so I’d probably have to destroy a lot of plants to get to them. (I’m not totally ruling it out but I’d rather not).

I’d be grateful for any ideas, as creative or traditional as you want to get. I’m not looking to have a professional job done at this time; just want to preserve the privacy of my teeny, tiny little sanctuary :frowning:

Depending on your location, local building codes, zoning laws and assorted covenants, you may be severely restricted in your rights to build taller structures. You’re going to have to investigate this first.

I like lilac bushes. They can easily reach four meters tall, smell nice and are damn near impossible to kill.

I’ve seen these plastic strips you can weave into the chain link which will give you some privacy up to the six-feet mark (available at Lowe’s/Home Depot?). Then shift around the tall potted plants to be in front of the eventual 2nd-story windows. Do you have an HOA? They might be snotty about the plastic strips, maybe not.

I scalloped my mom’s privacy fence. It improves the look tremendously.

Here’s the example I followed.

I made a template from 3/8 plywood. Got the curve correct. Then used it as guide to cut the fence.

Lowes had the pointy tops for the posts. They are less than $4 each. Screw in and look pretty nice.

It is an easy job. It took me a weekend to finish the job.

I only did the back fence. I didn’t see a need to do the sides because they aren’t that visible from inside the house.

This is your first step.

Any old thing you throw up there will probably not make it past the first good gust. Apart from lining your current fence anything that extends your fence upwards will need to have a little thought and effort put ito it.

Can you pry the tops off the fencepost pipes and drop a smaller, longer pipe down inside them? This might give you a height boost, at which point you have a lot of options. If the uprights are less than 8 feet apart, you could plausibly install 2x6s to the uprights with pipe grip ties, then string horizontal fence boards between then. If you want to go cheaper, look at ‘reed fence’ or bamboo slats - fairly nice-looking and easy to trim to size.

QFT. Don’t build a damn thing until you look at local building codes. I wouldn’t recommend doing this on the cheap, if you don’t know exactly where your property line is and your local building codes, you could be opening yourself to a world of legal troubles. My crazy aunt was involved in litigation for over five years because her neighbor built a tall fence that blocked her nice scenic mountain view, and she went ballistic over it. She recently won in court, despite the fact that her neighbor had complied with all local bylaws, primarily because she was willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight this “spite fence” in court.

Thanks all, for the suggestions and the words of caution. I’m sure you’re right; I am just really worked up over these people first coming in and decimating 2 giant live oaks and now getting ready to build god knows what. Guess I’m just sad to lose the only privacy I had (not to mention all the wildlife that lived in those trees). I was hoping someone had some bright idea that I haven’t considered but in the end, there’s not much one can do :frowning: <sob>

There are trees/shrubs that grow rapidly and are used for added privacy. I once planted a row of Lombardy Poplars, then I put a row of “nicer” trees behind them.

In a few years the poplars were 30 feet tall. A few years later I cut them down and my “nice” trees were 10 feet tall.

By the way, according to the City Code, " a rear fence may be no higher than 6 ft", so that’s the end of that, just as you all warned. However, it looks like a hedge may not exceed 10 ft, so may I can find some really tall growing plants.

You might try what a co-worker of mine did when codes wouldn’t allow him to build a fence with the dimensions he wanted. He just started stacking firewood. LOTS of firewood. His stack was four feet thick, forty feet long and ten feet high - but it’s not a fence.

Wonder how they distinguish between a “hedge” and plants/trees.

Up here around Chicago, the Green Giant Arborvitae (thuja - on the list above) grows really tall really fast. If you have a line of those - or even a few spaced ones - is that a hedge?

Not sure what grows well and quickly in your area, but I’d look into tall evergreens. Maybe kudzu? :wink:

While many people initially think of an impenetrable wall/hedge to screen, you can accomplish a lot of the same effect with an “implied” screen. What you want to do is break up the monolithic effect of the large structure, interrupt sight lines, and redirect the focus from your property to places other than the new building.

So it might be almost enough to plant a couple of large evergreens between your back patio and theirs - so you aren’t sitting out back looking right at each other.
Often spaced plantings are a more effective distraction than a straight line.
Or maybe a hedge around your patio, rather than at the back fence.
Or maybe a pergola over your patio.
Or plantings/hardscape located so that when you look out your windows you look at those attractive features, rather than at the other house.

Sure, you’d rather not have the new house, but if you use a combination of strategies, you might lessen the dissatisfaction of the new construction, and get a more attractive yard to boot!

Okay, so maybe God does know what they are getting ready to build.
But… so does your city engineering department.
Building permits are public documents. And they are usually listed on the city’s web site.

The permit on the website will have a general description of the size and number of stories being built.
The detailed architectural drawings are also available to the public, but you probably have to go to the city archives to see them.
The drawings will show precisely where the building is located on their lot.
It may be worth it to check this out… It might help you plan your fence or where to locate new trees/bushes.
You can see how much space you will have between you and the new neighbors, where their windows are, where their patio is, etc.(if it’s closer to one side of the house, and not the middle,then you’ll want to put new trees or whatever directly opposite it, etc.

You may find fences are privacy shelters are different in your code. If you leave the existing fence up, it’s to code and remains, ‘the fence’. Any privacy shelter you built inside that may have far fewer restrictions. Mostly because it NOT the fence.

That’s how it is here, you should check. Tell them you have a fence to code but are thinking of a privacy structure and see what they say.

Good Luck!

I agree plantings are your best bet.
A semi-solid privacy wall built close to your patio might help in the interim before the trees or bushes fill out.
Think of a room divider for your yard.

Bamboo grows tall and fast. Put some in planters along your fence (not a hedge, and also so it won’t take over your entire neighborhood). It should provide quick privacy.

I would follow the suggestion to find out what they are building. As an impacted neighbor, you may have rights. Many cities allow neighbors to weigh in on the location of 2 story homes close to their property lines, for example. It can’t hurt to check.

Around here, city inspectors would call that a ‘rat harborage’, and demand that it be removed promptly. Especially if the firewood just sat there without being moved. Would get you in a lot more trouble than a fence.

I’m traditional: I like this kind of structures. They’re really hard to see through unless you’ve pretty much got your eye up to the holes, and can be used to support climber plants.

Or possibly follow Trump’s example - his 50 foot flag pole was in violation of zoning regulations, so he built a 20-ft hill and put a 30-ft flag pole on top.