There are many variables to consider in a landscape when all you want is privacy ... when all else fails, don't get mad, get even... and use the landscape design to get even!!!
When you read through Lawrence's Blog post on Insane Neighbours , you begin to really question the intent or the attempt of people to be civil towards each other in a big city such as Toronto. I have seen many instances where disputes have arisen because a willing party is looking for the confrontation.
Being neighbourly and friendly towards those that share the same street name as you, requires a certain behaviour of social balance and the ability to say "hi" as you get in or out of your car. But what do you do when a neighbour does not want to adhere to making life on your street ... pleasant? Most often a fence gets erected to shut out the annoyances... Sheds get placed strategically and shrubs get planted.
When I first started design school to learn about Landscape Architecture, I never would have imagined that so much residential design would play such emphasis on privacy issues. I quickly came to realize that residential landscape design was all about the PRIVACY and enjoyment of your own private garden.
A good landscape design takes this into heavy consideration when planning a backyard layout. Much thought and ideas are given to views from within your home as well as views that neighbouring home owners may have of you as you sit and sip on a cold drink during a warm summer day. Annoyances such as noises can be masked by bubbling water features...big or small.
Where you sit most in your yard determines what views you wish to see or what views you wish to not have others see from. That can be fixed by playing with angles and with a big tree or two... Shrubs and fences carefully designed and placed can have a great effect at keeping out ground level annoyances.
If it is all planned right, you can have a wonderful and private garden to yourself...and your neighbours would never suspect a thing as to how you were able to block them out because the changes put in place were very subtle.