Author Topic: camouflaging a bad view  (Read 12491 times)

totoro

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camouflaging a bad view
« on: July 01, 2013, 10:52:31 AM »
We live centrally and our place is nice but our neighbour on one side is an Asian restaurant.  We have no problem with this except we look onto a small part of the back of the restaurant on one side of our living room through two smaller windows that flank the fireplace.  There is a fence, but their roof is not pretty and there is a bright light on 24-7. 

This is really not that big of a problem, but I'm embarrassed to admit how much time I spent planning how to camouflage this view.  My plan involved potted bamboo growing up under the windows with irrigation on a timer and a high trellis with climbing vines on the fence.  All of this was quite expensive and time consuming to set up. 

Then yesterday I remembered that I'd seen window film at Home Depot in all sorts of patterns.  We bought a roll for 30 dollars (magnolia) and covered the bottom half of the windows.  Now that light that is on 24-7 gives the windows a stained glass-like effect at night and completely masks the view.

Just thought I'd pass this on in case someone has a similar issue.

Greg

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2013, 07:11:46 PM »
You might ask them about the light.  Explain it's shining your way, and they may put a shade on it, or adjust its aim.  Light shining your way doesn't help them, costs them money and only makes them a bad neighbor.  They might not realize it bugs you.

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2013, 08:03:14 PM »
Or offer to shade it.  I like your solution though.  I admit I did something similar to the original plan with boxwoods.  Cost a few hundie so not max mustachian but I like the greenery better and put some Christmas lights in them

ny.er

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2013, 08:20:23 PM »
Sounds like you crafted an excellent solution! I have spent years devising plans to camouflage ugly views out various windows of our home. Some solutions were pricey (planting 2 trees to block the view of an ugly driveway across the street), but others were super cheap! The side of our detached garage is very visible from our kitchen window, and when the sun shined on it, the bright white paint on the concrete surface was glaring enough to hurt my eyes and upset my aesthetic sensibility! We had a tiny pot of ivy left from a photo shoot, and planted it at the base of the garage wall about 12 years ago. It's been fun to watch it grow over,  and entirely cover the bright white surface. The ivy now needs annual trimming, to keep it from growing onto the roof, but we still love it! We've learned to love gardening (mostly flowers) from similar experiences - it is a lot of work, but the visual pay back huge!

totoro

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2013, 12:09:34 AM »
You might ask them about the light.  Explain it's shining your way, and they may put a shade on it, or adjust its aim.  Light shining your way doesn't help them, costs them money and only makes them a bad neighbor.  They might not realize it bugs you.

Good suggestion.  I had thought of presenting them with an aesthetically pleasing light fixture :)  This solution works though.  Turns the light into an advantage.

totoro

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 12:13:52 AM »
Sounds like you crafted an excellent solution! I have spent years devising plans to camouflage ugly views out various windows of our home. Some solutions were pricey (planting 2 trees to block the view of an ugly driveway across the street), but others were super cheap! The side of our detached garage is very visible from our kitchen window, and when the sun shined on it, the bright white paint on the concrete surface was glaring enough to hurt my eyes and upset my aesthetic sensibility! We had a tiny pot of ivy left from a photo shoot, and planted it at the base of the garage wall about 12 years ago. It's been fun to watch it grow over,  and entirely cover the bright white surface. The ivy now needs annual trimming, to keep it from growing onto the roof, but we still love it! We've learned to love gardening (mostly flowers) from similar experiences - it is a lot of work, but the visual pay back huge!

This solution worked here but we still have a plan for climbing vines (clematis, wisteria, kiwi, other stuff) around the perimeter of the back yard to raise the barrier between us and the neighbours.  It is pretty amazing to see what happens with plants over a few years.

totoro

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2013, 12:15:10 AM »
Or offer to shade it.  I like your solution though.  I admit I did something similar to the original plan with boxwoods.  Cost a few hundie so not max mustachian but I like the greenery better and put some Christmas lights in them

I love Christmas lights.  Sounds like a good solution for your spot.

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2013, 02:46:12 PM »
I've used a trellis and planted star jasmine (also known as confederate jasmine) to screen a boring view as well. Takes a bit of time to get it going, but now we have to cut it back or it will go up into the soffits and onto the roof! It's an evergreen (not sure if freezes would effect it) and the spring burst of tiny white flowers and scent is heavenly. I think it cost me something like $10 for 3 gallon plants and then about 5 years for them to get full coverage?

The window film is really cool and much faster, tho!
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totoro

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2013, 04:11:09 PM »
I've used a trellis and planted star jasmine (also known as confederate jasmine) to screen a boring view as well. Takes a bit of time to get it going, but now we have to cut it back or it will go up into the soffits and onto the roof! It's an evergreen (not sure if freezes would effect it) and the spring burst of tiny white flowers and scent is heavenly. I think it cost me something like $10 for 3 gallon plants and then about 5 years for them to get full coverage?

The window film is really cool and much faster, tho!

I love vining plants.  The problem with this location was the need for irrigation as it these would need to be in pots and then would need to be on a watering system. 

I have something that looks like star jasmine but is not evergreen - evergreen is really good - and we already have honeysuckle.  There are so many websites on using vines for quick cover - some of them seem invasive.  I'm thinking of a wire trellis around the perimeter above the current fence-line.  Better than a hedge in some ways because it takes less space and I want to have raised beds in front. 

adesertsky

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2013, 12:09:25 PM »
I also have a view problem. 

My neighbors (1) have a giant ugly motor home parked in their driveway where all you can see is the moldy roof when looking out our guest room window and (2) they stuff total crap in between the slats of the fence and stack/lean all kinds of junk up against it that i have view of (it is one of those shadowbox styles).  They are really nice people but they have an obvious problem with keeping and collecting total junk (deflated footballs, old fake poinsettias, jars of odd liquid, a "Santa Stop Here" sign they prominently display at the head of the driveway year round even though it looks like it caught fire at one point, pieces of rusty metal parts, old windows, and on and on and on).

The junk can mostly only be seen in my backyard along maybe a 20 or 25 ' section of fence.  I've plated plants that get big on some parts, but other parts I can't because there is already a large tree there that things can't grow under.  I was wondering about stapling some kind of screen to the fence on my side but I think it would look strange in only a section of the fence (and might look tacky just overall).

I don't know what to do :(
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totoro

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2013, 12:48:09 PM »
I also have a view problem. 

My neighbors (1) have a giant ugly motor home parked in their driveway where all you can see is the moldy roof when looking out our guest room window and (2) they stuff total crap in between the slats of the fence and stack/lean all kinds of junk up against it that i have view of (it is one of those shadowbox styles).  They are really nice people but they have an obvious problem with keeping and collecting total junk (deflated footballs, old fake poinsettias, jars of odd liquid, a "Santa Stop Here" sign they prominently display at the head of the driveway year round even though it looks like it caught fire at one point, pieces of rusty metal parts, old windows, and on and on and on).

The junk can mostly only be seen in my backyard along maybe a 20 or 25 ' section of fence.  I've plated plants that get big on some parts, but other parts I can't because there is already a large tree there that things can't grow under.  I was wondering about stapling some kind of screen to the fence on my side but I think it would look strange in only a section of the fence (and might look tacky just overall).

I don't know what to do :(

Would bamboo fencing work?  They sell it in 25 ft rolls 6 ft high and you can staple it to existing fencing.  http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Bamboo-Reed-Fence-High/dp/B002FORUNO/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1373395527&sr=8-4&keywords=bamboo+fence+rolls

The view from the guest room might benefit from a window film as that is going to be tough to cover otherwise.

Alternatively, can you find a vine that is planted far enough from the tree base that it would grow and can you train it on a trellis across the top of the fence below the tree area and past it?

Another solution might be something in pots that grows up a trellis but you'd need to water it frequently.

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2013, 01:04:07 PM »
I also have a view problem. 

My neighbors (1) have a giant ugly motor home parked in their driveway where all you can see is the moldy roof when looking out our guest room window and (2) they stuff total crap in between the slats of the fence and stack/lean all kinds of junk up against it that i have view of (it is one of those shadowbox styles).  They are really nice people but they have an obvious problem with keeping and collecting total junk (deflated footballs, old fake poinsettias, jars of odd liquid, a "Santa Stop Here" sign they prominently display at the head of the driveway year round even though it looks like it caught fire at one point, pieces of rusty metal parts, old windows, and on and on and on).

The junk can mostly only be seen in my backyard along maybe a 20 or 25 ' section of fence.  I've plated plants that get big on some parts, but other parts I can't because there is already a large tree there that things can't grow under.  I was wondering about stapling some kind of screen to the fence on my side but I think it would look strange in only a section of the fence (and might look tacky just overall).

I don't know what to do :(

Every neighborhood/subdivision/area has one of these.  I've got one next to me, too.  They're nice but superduper redneck.  They'll start drinking on weekends and get boisterous.  And they're junky.  We're out in the country and the terrain is such that my floor is higher than their roof... so it's really hard to block (and even harder to block from my second story window).
Our long term plan is to just stop mowing over there and let nature grow.  Mowing in my case means "with a tractor and a bush hog".  We are basically in the woods, so saplings will eventually grow tall enough to provide some screening.
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Frankies Girl

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2013, 01:04:47 PM »
I also have a view problem. 

My neighbors (1) have a giant ugly motor home parked in their driveway where all you can see is the moldy roof when looking out our guest room window and (2) they stuff total crap in between the slats of the fence and stack/lean all kinds of junk up against it that i have view of (it is one of those shadowbox styles).  They are really nice people but they have an obvious problem with keeping and collecting total junk (deflated footballs, old fake poinsettias, jars of odd liquid, a "Santa Stop Here" sign they prominently display at the head of the driveway year round even though it looks like it caught fire at one point, pieces of rusty metal parts, old windows, and on and on and on).

The junk can mostly only be seen in my backyard along maybe a 20 or 25 ' section of fence.  I've plated plants that get big on some parts, but other parts I can't because there is already a large tree there that things can't grow under.  I was wondering about stapling some kind of screen to the fence on my side but I think it would look strange in only a section of the fence (and might look tacky just overall).

I don't know what to do :(

That sounds so awful. I think that would really be upsetting to have to see every time you step out in your yard.

I'm not big on confrontation, but you say they are nice people, so have you tried asking them if they could maybe clean up the yard a bit? Just tell them nicely that it's not very nice to look at and that you're worried that it might be an attraction to wildlife like skunks and snakes. This would work better if you've got smaller kids that you'd let play in your back yard - a small white lie about seeing a snake coming from one of their piles, and that you're worried about your kids being able to go play in their own back yard. If you're game, you could even offer to help them clear out some of the junk. The worst they could say is no, but maybe they'll think about it later and get embarrassed enough to do something about it. (but if you think they'd get violent about it, forget it!)

My dad was this type of neighbor, and I feel so bad for the folks that lived next to him - his yard was a mess of overgrown/dead trees and weeds, and he had at least 12 mowers in various states of assembly with trash and junk scattered throughout, and an old popup camper with a broken top/axle that had a tree growing up through it... and yes snakes. He had mice all through the house, and they attracted snakes and one of the neighbors that has a 5 year old couldn't let her play in their back yard since he had killed so many coming over for a "visit."

A fast growing, shrub like red tipped photinia might work. They can go under trees even if you can scrabble out a hole large enough to drop a root ball in. Those suckers are fast, evergreen and get huge and they can be pretty: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1740/
But they also can get stunted growth from bugs and subject to fungus.

Crepe Myrtles (there's tree and shrub varieties) are also fast growers and would be good at camoflaging an ugly view. They will drop spent flowers and pods, tho so can be messy.

I'm not sure where you're located so these might not work for your zone. You should go to a local nursery (one that has actual gardeners that know what they're talking about) and see if they have any suggestions.


You don't say how high your fence is, but where I live, 6-8 foot fences are standard, and I've seen even taller. If you don't have a really high fence, might want to look into that as well since at least then if might hide the junk better. Like these:

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.mossyoakfences.com/images/original/products/wood_privacy_fence_1.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.mossyoakfences.com/fence_products.php&h=1553&w=2070&sz=2857&tbnid=j2B3pRskfQGf4M:&tbnh=92&tbnw=122&zoom=1&usg=__mwhX9tXRwUHXGH4EQvfjGqcQDTE=&docid=JuIsqol7j6INkM&sa=X&ei=M1vcUYjdN4W89gTeq4HgDA&ved=0CGkQ9QEwBQ&dur=2815#imgdii=j2B3pRskfQGf4M%3A%3BVtwofKgNsZlmNM%3Bj2B3pRskfQGf4M%3A

If you wanted to put in a privacy fence, you could tell them that you're going to do this and that you'd need them to shift their stuff off the current fencing and to please not stack stuff on it it once it's in there...

again, tho, you have my sympathies. It is so difficult to deal with hoarders and their junk and trash.


« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 03:59:02 PM by Frankies Girl »
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adesertsky

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2013, 03:48:48 PM »
Wow!  Thanks for sympathizing, friends :) 

The bamboo could work but I think it'll look funny.  I live in Illinois and have a natural prairie garden around the tree and along the fence in my backyard.  I'll have to look into window film.  My husband has been resorting to leaving the curtains closed... on the one hand it is okay because we are never in there but on the other hand, it is creating a dark cavern feeling at the end of my hallway :)

My next step will definitely be to locate a climbing/viney plant that I can grow up the fence or up onto pretty trellises.  It sucks that half the year it won't be covered (winter) but I guess I don't hang out outside in winter!

I would maybe consider asking them, but the man (who is in charge of all the stuff keeping) speaks very limited English (besides a very jovial "helloooooo!" and  pointing to the the sky and saying "very nice!").  The wife speaks more but for some reason I feel really badly.  I have never seen a snake in Illinois- i don't know if they would even know that word :(  I'm also totally non-confrontational.  I mean, I even called the city inspector to go out and make sure that the camper was legal.  I'll definitely take a look at the shrubs you mentioned, that would be stellar if I can get something to work- I haven't had luck with non-native plants.  I'll have to take some pictures when I get home.

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adesertsky

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2013, 08:22:02 PM »
I'm warming up to the bamboo idea but I wouldn't want to run it down the whole fence (my lot is 100+ feet long) so I'll try other options first.  I've attached the view from my guest room and pictures of stuff stuffed in the fence and under the camper.  Today under the camper was a ladder, a milk crate and a bucket.  You may also notice that they actually chopped down a tree in order to park the camper and allow for the bump out to be opened. 
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totoro

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2013, 08:37:53 PM »
That helps.  Definitely recommend the window film for the bottom half of the windows.  That is what we did and it looks great.  Thirty dollars at Home Depot and it did two windows for us.

The bamboo fencing might work well.  It is a temporary solution as it doesn't last forever (three years?), but it would give you relief while you plant vines or a hedge?

Frankies Girl

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2013, 09:34:15 AM »
Oh, yes, the window film for the guest room - totally agree. Wow.

I'd also replace that fence if it was me with something much taller, and more solid, but I totally could see just planting shrubs or other foliage and just block that mess. What an odd fence! It doesn't provide any privacy, and cats and small dogs could get right through it, so it's really only there as a property divider... weird use of fencing!

If that junk that is stuck into the fence started coming into my yard (and technically the fence is shared property, so they're junking your fence share as well). I'd start pulling some of the older stuff out and putting it back into their yard (off the fence). You could even bring it around and set it on their porch and let them know "this fell through the fence into my yard." Maybe do it enough, they'll stop putting things on the damn fence? :D

« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 09:40:49 AM by Frankies Girl »
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adesertsky

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2013, 11:26:22 AM »
woah!  I didn't know window film looked like that!  that is cool.  I'll have to hunt around for awesome styles.

I'd love to replace the fence but don't want to spend on it.  The lady of the house once told me they have an ARM and might not be able to pay their mortgage after it readjusts in a couple years.  So I have hope they will leave.  I like the idea about telling them when stuff falls through (it does)... I will try to be more obvious about that... I've just been stuffing it back through.  Maybe I could slowly throw some of the trashy items away without them noticing.  I could blame an opossum if they ask.
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pbkmaine

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2013, 03:44:29 PM »
Rustoleum Frosted Glass Spray. $3.82 on Amazon. Free shipping with Prime.

totoro

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2013, 04:13:48 PM »
Rustoleum Frosted Glass Spray. $3.82 on Amazon. Free shipping with Prime.

That is an option but it will make it look like a bathroom window and more difficult to remove.  In a bedroom I'd stay away from frosted and head toward the stained glass effect.

adesertsky

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2013, 07:38:58 PM »
Yeah, I agree.  The frosted glass spray is awesome for some things and that is what I was thinking window film was.  I didn't realize there were all kinds of designs.  I'd also like to be able to remove it one day when the camper isn't there anymore (I pray that day comes).
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NumberJohnny5

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2013, 08:29:37 PM »
I've attached the view from my guest room and pictures of stuff stuffed in the fence and under the camper.  Today under the camper was a ladder, a milk crate and a bucket.  You may also notice that they actually chopped down a tree in order to park the camper and allow for the bump out to be opened.

Maybe my redneck roots are showing a bit...but I don't see a problem in the pics posted? I wouldn't enjoy things stuffed into the fence, but that didn't look overly excessive.

Lots of people get upset when someone "changes their view". If you want to ensure that the view outside your window never changes, then you need to buy that view (i.e., buy all the land that's within view). Otherwise, someone might *gasp* build some houses, or park a boat, or some other nonsense like that :)

But, kudos for trying to solve the problem from your end. That's what I'd do; don't like what I can see through the fence...build a better fence. Don't like what I can see from the window, pull the blinds down (the faux stained glass is an awesome idea).

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Re: camouflaging a bad view
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2013, 06:55:38 AM »
I have a bedroom window that overlooks the neighbor's driveway. I bought 2 paper shades from Lowes for $5.98 for both of them. Cut them to fit the windows It took about 5 minutes and a box cutter.

The nice thing is they let in lots of light and it has a nice Japanese esthetic, (think tea house with sliding paper doors/windows.)