Your next-door neighbor has just bought a trampoline for their children and set it up right next to your backyard fence. You suddenly realize that your privacy is now at stake as your backyard sanctuary is no longer protected from the watching eyes of your neighbor’s children or for that matter, anyone else who uses the trampoline. Is this new backyard toy truly an invasion of your privacy, and can you do anything about it?
Your neighbor’s trampoline may be an invasion of your privacy if the trampoline allows the user to see directly into your backyard or your home when they’re jumping on it. Extending the height of your fence, or planting tall trees, or installing a living fence, are three of several options you may have to regain your privacy.
If you’ve ever been in this scenario or are currently experiencing it, you know that a trampoline placed too close to your backyard fence can be a nuisance. While suburban living comes with its sacrifices, your privacy shouldn’t necessarily be one of them. Read on to learn about practical solutions and compromises that you and your neighbor can make regarding trampolines and your privacy.
Everyone Deserves Their Privacy
Despite the proximity you and your neighbor are to one another, you are entitled to a level of privacy that makes you feel comfortable and safe in your home. You can achieve that privacy with protections like blinds, curtains, and fences that allow you to enjoy your home and backyard without the worry of a neighbor snooping on you and your personal life.
If you suddenly could not close the curtains to your bedroom, it would be a significant invasion of your privacy, wouldn’t it? While your backyard is not the same as looking into a bedroom or bathroom in your home, there is undoubtedly a level of privacy that you understandably want to preserve in any private space of your home.
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Laws Regarding Trampolines
If you live in the US or Canada, you likely have an HOA, or homeowner’s association that dictates rules and regulations in your neighborhood. While some see HOAs as restrictive and annoying, there is certainly good reason to have them in place, especially in situations regarding privacy violations. Check with your HOA to see if there are rules regarding your neighbor’s trampoline and its proximity to your fence.
Apart from HOA regulations, there are no other laws that govern the placement of trampolines in your neighbor’s backyards and how they can affect you. Conflicts between neighbors are usually govern at the local municipal or county levels by local by-laws. According to avvo.com, it is unlikely that a nuisance claim on grounds of inconvenience caused by noise or possible invasion of privacy from use of a trampoline would succeed.
In the UK, if your neighbors can see into your backyard because of the trampoline, there is due diligence to get the authorities involved. Garden laws regarding anything from hot tubs to tree branches constitute the involvement of a higher authority when they are not dealt with properly between neighbors. All that being said, it is still best to work out the problem with your neighbor, if possible, instead of involving authorities or taking legal action.
Reaching a Compromise
The expression “be neighborly” should always apply to how you treat your adjacent residents. It is better to keep things civil and as peaceful as possible in any situation regarding your neighbors. After all, your neighbors can make or break your experience living in your home and neighborhood, and hopefully, you have a considerate and friendly relationship with them.
Before going to your HOA or any authorities, try to have a calm discussion with your neighbor. Suggest a compromise regarding the location of your neighbor’s trampoline in relation to your fence. More often than not, a reasonable person will realize that they have created a hindrance to your privacy and agree to place the trampoline elsewhere.
Alternatively, if you and your neighbor are genuinely keen on reaching a workable compromise, you may both agree on a schedule or time of the day when your neighbor’s kids would be able to play on the trampoline without causing an inconvenience to you. During that time, you may occupy yourself with chores inside the house or choose to spend the time in an outdoor activity like walking or biking. That’s what I would call a win-win situation!
What if there is nowhere else to move the trampoline to prevent the tiny heads from bouncing up and down and looking over your fence, and limiting your neighbor’s use of the trampoline is out of the question? You don’t want to be the grouch next door that complains about kids playing outside, getting exercise, and having fun!
If this is the situation, it may be time to take matters into your own hands and create a shield of privacy.
How to Get Privacy From Overlooking Neighbors?
If your neighbors can see over the fence and into your backyard due to a trampoline and you’ve tried to reason with them to move it but haven’t had any luck, it’s time to solve the problem on your end. As frustrating as it may be, your best line of defense is to build a privacy screen or plant some high bushes that will allow you to have privacy from your neighbors no matter what.
In order to create a privacy screen, there are several creative and inexpensive ideas that you can use. The following are examples of effective ways to create privacy in your backyard:
● Extend the Height of the Fence
A cheap and easy way to create privacy is to simply extend the height of your fence. You can do this by attaching lattice panels to the top of your fence or nailing boards horizontally along the length of the fence. If you have a chain-link fence, you can attach bamboo reeds or slats to increase privacy.
You will likely not need to increase the height of your fence along the entire perimeter of your property. If you only need privacy in certain areas, consider only extending the fence in those specific areas to block the line of sight your neighbors will have into your backyard when using the trampoline. This will allow you to regain your privacy while minimizing the extra cost and the work required to accomplish this.
● Plant Trees Along the Fence Line
Planting a row of tall trees along your fence line is a great way to increase privacy because they will block the view into your backyard. There are a few things to keep in mind when picking your trees. First, consider the height of your onlooking neighbors, especially when they’re bouncing on the trampoline. Second, consider how fast the tree will grow. If you have the budget, you might want to buy trees that are already tall and mature.
A common choice for a privacy tree fence is the Arborvitae. Arborvitae are evergreen, so they will provide privacy year-round. They can grow up to 30 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide, which makes them perfect for creating a living privacy fence.
Another popular tree for privacy is the Leyland Cypress. The Leyland Cypress can grow 2 to 3 feet per year, so it will provide privacy in no time. They can grow up to 70 feet tall and 20 feet wide, providing tall and wide coverage.
Both of these trees are relatively low maintenance and can tolerate a wide range of soils, which makes them perfect options to increase your backyard privacy if your neighbors can see over the fence, especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of time caring for their trees.
● Grow a Living Fence
If extending the height of your existing privacy fence is not possible, or you want a more aesthetically pleasing option, you may consider growing a living fence.
This type of fence is usually made up of one or more modular frames complete with soil and an irrigation system and your choice of evergreen and colorful plants. A living fence can either be attached to your existing fence to add vertical height or can be installed on a dedicated frame a foot or two away from your fence.
Not only will this provide you with privacy from onlooking neighbors, but it will also add some greenery and color to your fence. The downside is that these might be a little costly to have professionally made, but if you’re handy, here’s a short video below showing you step-by-step how to build one, but note you have to make some adjustments to fit your setting.
● Install a Green Facade
A green facade is similar to a green wall, but here vines or climbers, planted in the ground or in containers, grow up a structure that is attached to the fence to provide a trellis. This is a cheaper way to add privacy to your existing fence and block your neighbor’s line of sight even when they’re bouncing on their trampoline, by allowing the green facade to grow tall.
● Build a Pergola and Plant Climbing Greenery
This is a bit more work than the other options, but it will provide you with a beautiful and private backyard retreat. A pergola is a freestanding structure made of wood or metal posts with an open lattice roof. You can build one yourself or hire a professional.
Once you have your pergola built, you can plant climbing vines or creepers at the base. These will grow up and over the pergola, providing you with privacy while still allowing some light to filter through.
Building a pergola is a great way to create an intimate outdoor space in your backyard. You can use it as a dining area, a place to relax, or even a home office, while avoiding onlooking eyes even when your neighbor’s kids are bouncing on the trampoline.
● Hang Outdoor Curtains to Create Ambiance and Privacy
If you have an existing deck, gazebo, pergola, or another type of outdoor structure in your backyard, one cost-effective way to add privacy is to hang outdoor curtains. This is a great way to turn your backyard into a private oasis where you can relax away from prying eyes.
You can also use curtains to add style and ambiance to your backyard. By picking the right fabric and color, you can create a beautiful and inviting space.
● Hang a Shade Sail
Another great way to add privacy to your backyard is to hang a shade sail. Shade sails are large sheets of fabric that are attached to vertical posts, the side of your house, or any structure to provide shade and privacy. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, so you can find one that will complement your backyard perfectly.
Shade sails are particularly useful to block your neighbors’ view of your private space when they’re jumping on their trampoline because they can be installed at any height and at variable angles to suit your needs.
● Put up a Patio or Cantilever Umbrella
If you want the privacy and shade of a shade sail, but don’t want the permanent fixture in your backyard, you can put up a patio or cantilever umbrella. A patio umbrella is like a standard umbrella with a large, ribbed canopy that can come up to 10-12 feet in diameter and has a center pole mounted on a weighted base.
A cantilever umbrella, on the other hand, has a long arm that reaches out from a heavy-duty pole to hold the canopy off to one side. This allows you to adjust the angle of the canopy and shade a big surface while keeping the pole out of the way.These are great for providing privacy and shade when you need them and can be easily closed when you no longer need them.
Your neighbor’s trampoline can definitely be a major invasion of privacy, especially when placed directly next to your fence. By allowing direct visual access into your backyard, your neighbors may unknowingly be infringing on what little privacy you have in a suburban neighborhood.
If it is possible to come to a compromise with your neighbor, which is always the best solution, as you want to keep your relationship amicable and pleasant. If you or your neighbor have unrealistic expectations and requests, it is possible that you may never reach a compromise, and instead have to come up with your own solution.
Extending the height of your fence, planting tall trees, or installing a living fence or green facade can help to provide privacy for your backyard, no matter what your neighbor does. If you are willing and able, building a pergola or hanging curtains or a Sun Sail can provide the privacy you need. Creating your own solution will also improve the visual appeal of your backyard while creating a sanctuary like oasis that may make you enjoy your backyard even more than you did before.