Auckland Garden and Landscape Design – Privacy and Screening
Auckland landscape design professionals have long been experts at creating privacy for the garden and for many years have been lessening the impact of infill housing for Auckland homeowners with clever garden privacy and screening design solutions.
Clever garden privacy and screening ideas have evolved along with our city, which is great because the Auckland landscape is changing again and rather quickly - one multi-housing complex at a time. Drive through any central Auckland suburb and you cannot miss the new arrivals to our landscape - towering apartment blocks and multi-level, multi-dwelling complexes squeezed into the residential landscape where previously spacious lawns and gardens dwellings had given neighbours welcome breathing space from each other.
Talk to an Auckland garden designer and they will tell you that strict planning rules are in place to help visually integrate these essential new homes into the Auckland landscape, and that a considered landscape design is now an essential part of the resource consent process. With thoughtfully designed garden spaces to accommodate the required trees and screening vegetation and attractive, up-to-date landscape design solutions at the street interface, the look of many Auckland suburbs will improve. However, if there is a development going on next door you may be worried about keeping your garden privacy or your garden may already be overlooked – so how do you stop people looking in on you?
Landscape Design - Auckland Garden Privacy & Screening
Landscape design professionals use three main approaches when creating privacy or screening for the Auckland garden
1 : The Planted Canopy
In Auckland, landscape design planning rules often restrict side and back yard fence heights to around 1.8m, which gives you privacy at eyelevel but provides little help if you are overlooked by a multi-level dwelling. Planting, such as hedges can give you extra height on these boundaries and create a refreshing backdrop for your garden. Tall growing species like Ficus tuffi and Alnus jorulensis (evergreen alder) are ideal and can even be pleached (sometimes known as a ‘hedge on stilts’) enabling a layered planting below. If you have the space, strategically placed trees can also block or screen unwanted view-lines and may provide welcome shade as well. Just take care not to plant these too close to the boundary. Too close and they may cause damage to wall or fence structures. Encroaching into your neighbour's space with vegetation is another no-no. We have all heard stories of neighbour's ruthlessly pruning overhanging foliage but they are well within their rights to reclaim the air on the vertical plane above their boundary line. You are not actually allowed to impact this space so if there’s not much room on your side of the fence, consider column-shaped plants such as cypress instead. These low fuss, easy-care plants offer good height on a minimal footprint and require very little maintenance.
2: The Instant Built Screening Solution
A quick and effective design solution for the overlooked Auckland garden is to use a well-placed screen or structure in a key position, such as alongside your deck or patio. Simple structures such as timber trellis, decorative metal or composite screens and panels or bespoke timber feature walls can all give instant privacy or screening and raise the aesthetics of the garden at the same time. Drop down or pull-out canvas blinds, and sliding timber or metal shutters and screens are other great options and these offer the flexibility to be utilised only when needed. For overhead screening, the range of products and materials now available means privacy and screening can be achieved whatever the budget – from cost-effective awnings and umbrellas through to investment and statement items such as louvred roofs and timber, metal, and perspex clad pergolas.
3: The Combined Built and Planted Solution
A great design solution for any sized landscape is a mixture of both built and planted screening, where plants are used to soften or create a built screen or structure. Vine-clad pergolas and twining climbers through trellis are old garden design favourites however space friendly options such as stainless-steel wires and mesh panels also make great support structures for climbing plants and these are ready available from most hardware stores, meaning a hedge-like panel of green can be created in a really narrow space – something most Auckland gardens have in spades! If you have plenty of time on your hands or a landscape gardener at your disposal, wire structures with espalier trees or vines trained over the base structure can create a design statement as well as provide privacy.
Good landscape design responds to your individual needs and the challenges of your site, so if you find yourself ‘overlooked in Auckland’ enlist the help of a professional landscape design expert and use this an opportunity to create something truly special for your garden space.