Oct 12, 2011


Sometimes things get worse instead of better, despite our best intentions. Several of the bushes we planted back in May to hide the neighbor’s hideous PVC pipe garden structure are dying from root rot. Our part of NJ has been the victim of ridiculous amounts of rain since August. First a seemingly endless series of drenching thunderstorms (where we’d get an inch plus of rain each time), then Hurricane Irene where we got 12 inches, then Tropical Storm Lee where we got another 5, and most recently a weird low that brought daily precipitation in one form or another almost every day for over 3 weeks. Needless to say, our backyard is a soggy swamp that has barely had a chance to dry out.

So several of our bushes are dying from root rot and there’s nothing we can do but replace them in the spring. We’ll have to add a whole extra year to the hide-the-hideous-structure timeline. Worse, our neighbors have added more ugly crap to the back of their property (out of view from their house, but in full view of ours). Now we have to live with a new badly painted storage shed, an ugly and poorly built wood shed, crap from their garage strewn about, two plastic storage tubs placed right against the see-through fence, a giant compost heap, their hot tub, and the hideous garden structure we hate so much. And they are still opposed to a privacy fence.

[Click here to see our view before]

They are very nice people, but their yard “improvements” are making us crazy. We don’t want to make enemies... but then again they don’t live on our street and we wouldn’t see them much if we had a higher fence up.

Do we go to town hall and replace the fence anyway? Do we buy bigger bushes to replace the ones that died? We have the whole winter to figure this out, but we’re very unhappy about it.


  1. My goodness! Do they have any room to, like, HANG OUT in the backyard or is it all storage sheds/bins and weird PVC skeletons? I vote for a nice tall opaque fence. That sort of clutter is just not good for anyone!

  2. Fences make the best neighbors, just sayin! LOL Go for it! :) Fence em out! GW

  3. I vote for a big tall privacy fence! No one should have to look at their neighbor's trash or their hot tub time! Ick.

  4. But a lush green wall of shrubs (when they finally start to grow) will look ever so much better than a fence. And grow taller...

  5. Just be patient. You had the right idea with the bushes. Like you said, buy bigger ones in the spring to make up for the lost year. They will cost you more $$$ but it's still cheaper than fencing!

  6. Well, I will put in a vote for BOTH. A nice wood privacy fence CAN look pretty while hiding a multitude of "sins." You can attach lattice and grow various vines, you can hang things off of it, and you can plant bushes and flowers. If you use a board on board method there is no gaps for peeking.

  7. Question - if you get a fence, would it be the fancy rounded top cedar to match what your neighbor already has in the photo? Or would you get the basic cheap stockade fence from a box store? Mismatched fences might look funny so if you go for the privacy fence, you might want to invest in good matching fence pieces!

  8. Wow! I really appreciate all your responses and support.

    We definitely can't afford to match our next door neighbor's cedar fence with the rounded top. It's WAY out of our budget at around $300-$400 PER PANEL. However on the other side of our yard, our neighbor has regular stockade fence, so while it wouldn't look great, it wouldn't look terrible either. And I would definitely line the fence with lots of plants and bushes - I love the idea of vines on a lattice too!

    But even regular fencing is expensive and our backyard goes back a fairly long way so it's a lot of fencing to buy. And again our neighbor will be mad because the privacy fence will block sunlight to their garden (in the hideous PVC pipe structure). As a fellow gardener, I do understand that. And I still really love the idea of a 10 ft tall wall of green bushes instead of a fence... but I don't know if I can wait that long!

    We can't do anything either way until spring. It's a lot to think about. Right now I'm mad enough to put up a 6 ft wooden privacy fence and then hide that with a row of 10 ft high bushes!

  9. I vote for the 6' fence with the 10' bushes!

    I feel your pain though because we have to deal with the horrible mismatched wood and chain link fences along our back yard above the retaining wall... been almost 4 yrs and we still havent decided how to "fix" it.