Backyard and Front Yard Privacy

by Mary Ann
(McKinney Texas)

We bought a big house, quite plain on the outside and very close to neighbors, which i am not accustomed to. The people across the street watch us all the time, I believe on camera too. There is also a common area - it has a golf course lake behind the house.

The HOA is very strict in this area. I was looking for ideas that could possible be passed by the HOA for privacy in the front yard and some in the back yard.

When we bought, the back yard had a wood fence about 50' on each side - giving privacy to everybody on their patios and a little more. The guy next door insisted we were breaking the HOA rules, even though they were there when we bought the house. We had them taken down to get along with the neighbors.

I am very sorry for that mistake. The HOA said to get signatures of both neighbors and they would approve the fence to go back up. One side signed, the other side refuses. A real estate agent said(we are in MCKINNEY TX) the HOA had to let me put them back as they were grandfathered into the original house and on the blue prints. But if they say no, can you think of any ideas aside from my slow growing bushes to get myself some privacy?

Front yard may be harder - everything, even the type of trees, has to
be approved. We don't have a lot of money, but thought of adding a front porch. However, the west heat would still probably get to us sitting outside - any more ideas for front yard with height?

I will have to get photos of the house.

Thank you, Mary Ann


I don't know how large your property is and therefore how much spce you have for plantings.

Backyard Privacy

Arborvitae fastigiata should grow in your area. These are evergreen trees that get to be about 8' to 10' wide at mature size (which takes quite awhile). These could be placed on the one side where the neighbors' are refusing to let you re-install fencing. Can you spare the 8' to 10'?

You could also plant a pretty ornamental tree along the way in front of these evergreen trees for contrast.

As far as the front goes, I don't know your HOA rules or again, how large your front yard is. You might consider doing a mixed planting with ornamental trees and evergreen shrubs that get tall, such as Hollies.

Both the trees and the shrubs would provide privacy in the summer. In the winter, the trees would lose there leaves, but you would still have screening from the evergreen shrubs, particularly if they are a tall variety. You could also use the same Arborvitae as the back for all year screening, but I think the first suggestion would be more creative and pretty.

Comments for Backyard and Front Yard Privacy

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Nov 03, 2010
front yard privacy
by: natschultz

I have a similar problem with traffic along my street increasing at least 100% over the past few years. I do not live in an HOA, but a private Village in NY. Our code allows fences in the back, but they cannot go beyond the house line, and they must be planted in front. We can have side yard hedges, but actual "hedges" are forbidden along the street unless grandfathered in. We are required to have street trees. I had started planting a variety of evergreen shrubs, different ones staggered including Wichita Blue Junipers, Hinoki Cypresses and Rhododendrons, but alas, due to the odd angle of my property I cannot plant enough to provide privacy and allow enough space for the root zone of all the plants. I now plan to build a tiered raised bed with a privacy trellis at the back of it. The trellis will provide the real privacy, but the 3 tiers of evergreen shrubs will soften the look from the street. I am placing this just behind the street border garden with shrubs in it, so it is more like a yard structure than an obvious "wall" along the street. I will be painting it to match the house (green and burgundy), so it will not stand out in the yard. If I had a white house I would still probably paint it green to blend in with the landscape. I don't know if this helps, since your HOA dictates what kinds of trees to plant, even this solution may be forbidden :( I suggest you try installing something like this without permission and plant it really nice in front and see if people actually complain. Just make sure it is well off the actual street.

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