Commentary by Randy Sorrell
Several times a year a F.H., or Frantic Homeowner, calls, texts or sends a frantic email pleading for intervention with a neighbor. The sometimes hilarious stories all have a similar theme. “I love my neighbor, but…”
But … they just put in an obnoxious play-set that stares at me when we entertain in our sunroom. But … their ambitious patio space is seven feet form mine and I can hear every whispered word. But … they just removed their overgrown shrubs and now I have a direct view into their kitchen.
“I need privacy. Can you accomplish that without being blatantly obvious that I’m trying to visually block my new view? Please help!” Those words predictably follow the frantic hello. Of course we can help.
This F.H. was my lovely wife thrilled that our great neighbors, who we adore, had strategically placed a hot tub directly in our view from our sunroom and patio. Landscape architect Eric Beard promptly sketched the rusted privacy panel/cedar posts/beam structure pictured. Ten days later it was installed with a retro green metal glider that has graduated to a shady respite on hot days.
Most F. H. calls don’t progress that swiftly, but I know a guy. We dig these rusted privacy panels and have employed them often as architectural elements, wind buffers and heavy entry gates. Shiny aluminum is available for a clean modern feel.
Generating privacy is a strong driver in today’s intimate market and there are many creative solutions that deviate from the traditional evergreen barrier. Imagine an abbreviated pergola with a custom lattice structure, drapes or a recessed shade. Or a rectangle steel gabion wall filled with cobble, horizontally placed wood privacy panels and the list continues.
“I love my neighbor, but…”