6 Privacy Screens Solutions To Keep Your Home Hidden From Your Neighbours
Australia’s real estate is a booming industry. And while properties tend to go bigger and higher while plot sizes decrease in size, there is also a huge tendency for your privacy to be compromised.
According to lawsociety.com.au, in NSW, “there is no legal right to public privacy so, if a neighbour can see into your backyard, they’re allowed to look at or listen to what’s going on. Besides asking your neighbour to stop, one thing you can do is to try to block their view by building a higher fence”.
Of the two options, the one that will put you in better control of your privacy is building a higher fence. However, there are council restrictions around boundary fencing height that might limit what you can do. On the other hand, the installation of a privacy screen is also a suitable alternative to block your neighbours. To help you decide what is the best privacy solution that can keep you away from the prying eyes of your neighbours, we’ve put together a list of natural materials that can be used as privacy screens.
1. Bamboo Rod Privacy Screen
For privacy screen solutions that don’t block the view, bamboo rod privacy screen is your best choice. It provides the privacy you need while allowing light to filter through and can easily be removed when needed. It can also be used to add more height to your existing fence and the concealed stainless steel binding at its core makes it a suitable option for coastal properties exposed to the elements.
Uses: property fence, pool fence, or privacy screen
2. Slatted Screens
A great alternative to bamboo rod screens, slatted bamboo timber screens will give a clean and contemporary look to your fencing. Elegant and eco-friendly, these screens can be used for a range of purposes including pool certification, privacy screens or to hide unsightly elements such as garbage bins and air conditioning units.
Uses: standalone screening, horizontal or vertical installation, fencing and pool certification
3. Bamboo Poles
Bamboo poles are available in a variety of diameters and lengths, making them a versatile privacy screen solution.
Uses: temporary or permanent screening for events, interior design, and landscaping
4. Outdoor Bamboo Blinds
Bamboo blinds are a very popular interior design feature but they can also be used outside as a versatile privacy screening solution. This is a functional and stylish solution that does not block the light or air flow and comes with the convenience of being adjustable at any time.
Uses: indoor and outdoor use, fits traditional and contemporary homes
Our trademarked product Natureed® has been used for decades by landscape designers such as Jamie Durie and Brendan Moar. Crafted from the finest quality water reeds, Natureed® contains up to 50% more reeds than similar products on the market. It is a natural water reed with a reddish hue, similar to merbau and bound with stainless steel. Extremely durable, it’s naturally resistant to water and termites. Fit for any use, whether indoors or outdoors and extremely lightweight, Natureed® can easily be attached to existing structures making it an ideal material to achieve pool certification quickly.
Uses: boundary fence, pool certification, shading or privacy screen
6. Decorative Screens
Add privacy right into your home without sacrificing design and aesthetics. If what you need is a beautiful addition to your property, you can take advantage of decorative screens that also work as shading solutions.
Whether you have found the right solution to your privacy needs or are still unsure what option would be best suited to your space, call us on 1300 665 703 or fill this form to discuss your project and our Design Consultants will help you pick the ideal solution to make your home feel more private.
Thinking Outside The Box – Privacy Screens
You once had a wonderfully private property. Until…
Trees were cut down
Your neighbours renovated or built a new home
A new development just popped up
You don’t really get along with your neighbours and would prefer to not see them…
Most people think that adding a privacy screen would increase the height of the existing fence for a quick fix but the problem is twofold…
The screen would need to be so large that it would require major construction to withstand wind.
Council regulations restrict heights and widths.
State legislation and local planning laws
You should always check with your local council before making changes to your property but the below rules are generally enforced throughout Australia
A front fence has restrictions in height as do boundary fences. As a guide, boundary fences usually have a restriction of 1.8m. In NSW for example, boundary fences are covered by the Dividing Fences Act of 1991. You can read more from NSW Government, Planning & Environment here
Privacy screens can often only be 2.5m in height from ground level and be set to a minimum of 900mm from your boundary fence. They must also be a maximum length of 5 metres wide and between 1.7m – 2.2m in height if attached to a balcony, deck, patio terrace or verandah.
A client came to us wanting screening to hide the building next door and also be pool boundary fence compliant for the new pool they built.
Site Challenges: The size of the building next door meant the privacy screen needed to be at least 3.2m in height. The site was extremely difficult to work with because of the difficult access and narrow space, plus obstructive piping meant there was not much room for footings.
Solution: Cottesloe bamboo timber screens were redesigned to meet pool compliance for boundary fencing yet keep the louvred aesthetic that client liked. New posts were erected to cater for 3.2m height and the modular screening was attached to the posts. Privacy was achieved from the large block of flats that looked into the property and pool compliance was achieved. The slatted design meant air flow could still circulate assisting with the wind load creating a lovely backdrop to the pool.
The textured finish and teak oil finish of the slatted screen also works as a stylish background for the barbecue area that perfectly compliments the modern look of the space.
You’ve finished landscaping your garden and installing a barbecue pit in your yard. When you step back and look at your property, however, you can’t help feeling that it’s still missing the finishing touches to make your property private, stylish, and welcoming all at once.
How about putting up some stylish timber screens?
Timber is a classic screening material, and for good reason. Versatile timber screen designs can range from rustic to elegant to modern. Here’s everything you need to know about timber screens.
Popular Varieties of timber: one of the first steps to installing a timber screen is choosing the type of wood that best fits your tastes. You might initially be overwhelmed by all the varieties available. What’s the difference between a hardwood and a softwood? Should you choose merbau over jarrah, or vice versa? And what are your options if you want a timber screen that’s specifically coffee-coloured?
To help you, here’s a brief comparison between hardwoods and softwoods.
Generally more dense than softwoods, hardwoods are fire-resistant and understandably a bit more costly than softwoods. Here are some hardwood types often used for timber screens:
Merbau. Also known as kwila and ipil, this hardwood is often sourced from Southeast Asia, island nations in the Pacific, and northern Queensland. You’ll find this timber in warm red-brown tones. Don’t be surprised to find golden flecks in merbau, as these flecks are part of the timber’s charm!
Kempas. Thanks to dense and interlocked grain, kempas timber can be incredibly strong, as well as somewhat heavy. It also boasts of resistance to fungi and wood borers. As for colours, kempas commonly comes in orange-red or yellow-brown hues. This timber accepts stains and finishes well. Tanins are common so be careful when installing as they tend to stain.
Jarrah. Australian in origin, jarrah is prized for its durability and versatility. It often comes in rich brown to dark red colours, but it also accepts most finishes well. Moreover, it can also be highly polished for an elegant-looking timber screen.
Spotted Gum. This popular hardwood also grows in Australia! Spotted gum is hard enough to be used in numerous applications, from docks to polo sticks to screens in your backyard. Its colours range from light coffee brown to dark chocolate with a tinge of red.
Acacia. You might also know this timber as “blackwood.” Acacia timber is easy to work with and can be polished to a shine, making it suitable for indoor timber screens. The heartwood of the acacia tree is a rich, golden brown colour, with growth rings adding reddish streaks.
Teak. This Asian timber is highly prized for its natural oil content, which makes it water resistant. It also has a waxy or greasy texture as a result. Teak colours can range from yellowish white to golden brown.
Iroko. Sourced from Africa, iroko timber started out as an alternative to teak. It is now a popular timber screening option in its own right, however! Iroko comes in light brown, golden orange, and dark brown.
Despite their name, softwoods are just as suitable for timber screens as hardwoods. However, these timbers are generally lighter and cheaper compared to hardwoods.
Pine. Whether it’s sourced from California, New Zealand, or Australia, this cost-effective softwood can be treated to resist both pests and the elements. It is naturally yellowish or whitish in colour. However, it’ll also look lovely with a proper stain.
Douglas Fir. Also known as Oregon, Douglas fir can be harvested from either North America or New Zealand. You’ll often see Douglas fir timber in light maple tones, although some specimens can range in colour from yellow brown to pale reddish brown.
Red Cedar. It’s versatile, lightweight and durable. Red cedar timber ranges from pale brown to dark reddish brown, though its heartwood, in particular, can have a pink tone at first. As it ages, cedar begins to take on a beautiful grayish tone. It can give off a pleasing aroma if left unsealed for an indoor screen.
Bamboo might not technically be a timber since it is a type of grass but its natural characteristics coupled with modern engineering makes it a very sustainable alternative to timber. Bamboo produces 35% more oxygen than trees and is ready to harvest in as little as 5 years, as opposed to 80 years for Tasmanian oak for example. This flash growth means it can store up to 4 times more carbon dioxide than trees making it a material of choice for specifiers committed to achieving net zero goals. And last but not least, its complex root system binds the earth together, restoring soil health and fighting against soil erosion.
Bamboo not only provides a similar finish to timber, it is also much lighter than hardwoods and harder than softwoods, making it easier to install and extremely durable. Our engineered bamboo received the highest certifications from Global GreenTag guaranteeing sustainable manufacturing practices and non-toxicity.
Common Types of Timber Screens
Once you’ve decided on the type of wood you want for your timber screen, you’ll need to choose a design. Would you prefer horizontal slats, vertical slats, or playful lattice? Read more about your timber screen design options below.
Strips of timber laid horizontally can add modern flair to your property. This kind of timber screen can also make your garden look more spacious. They’ll also fit nicely into a feature wall or a unique contemporary facade.
A timber screen made of tall vertical slats is a stylish way to secure pool certification, as little swimmers will find them impossible to climb! You can also combine vertical and horizontal slats for a one-of-a-kind parquet screen.
Lattice or Trellis
Lattice timber screens are both classy and easy to install. In some cases, they just need to be framed up or fixed to existing posts. These timber screens are also perfect for older properties, thanks to their timeless charm. You can grow vines on them if you install them outdoors, too.
Timber Screen Finishing Options
Even the loveliest timber screen will neither last nor look its best without a proper finish! You can use any of these five finishing options on your screen as the final step.
Installing a timber screen made of rich teak, kempas, or merbau? Let the natural colours and grains of your timber screen shine through with an oil finish. Oils penetrate into the timber, sealing and protecting it without changing its look too much. It can also enhance the material’s natural colour.
Want to play with the colour of your timber screen? Go for a stain, which will be more pigmented than a decking oil. The pigment in stains can grant protection against UV rays, keeping your timber screen from greying easily. Just remember to add a coat of varnish on top.
Varnishes are your best bet for clear or natural finishes. More often than not, they create a hard and shiny surface when they dry. Outdoor screens will benefit from the waterproofing effect of long oil varnish, while indoor screens are a perfect match for medium or short oil formulas.
Paint won’t just give your timber screen a vibrant colour, but it can provide a great deal of sun protection, too! Both water-based and oil-based paints will look great on timber, as long as it’s first coated with primer.
A classic timber finish that has been used for centuries, wax is easy to apply and leaves a rich, natural look. It can waterproof your timber screen and keep it from greying, too. Interestingly, you can apply wax over any other finish, let it dry, and buff with a soft cloth for extra shine.
How to Maintain Timber Screens
Once you’ve oiled or stained your screen, it will age and usually grey off unless you maintain it. Here are some tips you’ll want to keep in mind.
Refinish Timber Screens Regularly. Dirt, grime, and moss are just some of the gunk that can accumulate on the surface of your timber screen over time. The timber may also gradually turn grey. To revive an aged timber screen, first, give it a good pressure cleaning with a 25-degree tip. Then, add a fresh layer of finish.
Repair Damage Quickly. Does your timber screen now feature a crack or a broken section? You’ll want to fix that as soon as you can to keep the damage from worsening. Feel free to ask for professional help to ensure that the job is done right.
Trim Nearby Plants. Bushes and branches easily retain moisture, which can eventually pose a problem for your timber screen. They might also block the view of the screen itself. Aside from that, an unkempt garden itself can be a stressful sight.
Prevent Termite Infestations. Inspect your screen for termite droppings and mud tubes, which can be early signs of a termite problem. It also helps if the timber screen is regularly subjected to sunlight. There are also certain plants, like catnip or velvet grass, which are being studied for their termite-repellent properties.
3 Advantages of Timber Screens
You’ll be amazed at the number of creative ways you can use timber screens. Position it in your front yard, use it to round a pool, install it on a balcony, or let it hang over a porch for some interesting shading. You can also divide spaces using timber screens while maintaining an open feeling and letting sunlight through.
A slatted timber screen with closely spaced pieces can serve as a classy privacy screen. You can also choose to make the slats overlap for complete seclusion. A lattice timber screen with lush climbing vines will do the trick just as well.
The right timber screens can enhance the look of your property. Think of timeless facades paired with contemporary slatted screens. No wonder countless architects and engineers have brought timber screens into their designs.
3 Stunning Bamboo Timber Screen Ideas to Inspire You
Bamboo timber screens can be used for a wide range of applications, from fencing and screening to shading and cladding. Here we look at how you can use slatted bamboo timber screens to secure your pool certification, get some privacy or subtly separate rooms.
Pool Fencing (Suitable for Pool Certification)
With their stylish timber slat look, slatted engineered bamboo screens are perfect for contemporary designs. Available in raw, teak or black and in five different widths and batten profiles, they allow you to completely transform an old paling fence while getting your pool certified.
Hide your neighbours or surrounding unsightly views without blocking light or air flow with slatted bamboo timber screens. Our SeaChange Series® is available in five different batten designs named after Australia’s iconic beaches (Cottesloe, Torquay, Noosa, Sapphire and Sorrento) and all our screens have received the highest certifications from Global GreenTag: a GreenRate Level A and a Platinum Health Rating, guaranteeing sustainable manufacturing practices and non-toxicity.
Sliding Doors and Room Partitions
If you want versatility, bamboo timber screens can be used as sliding room partitions allowing you to alternate between open plan living and distinct rooms. For this project, the owner wanted to separate the gym from the outdoor living space and have the flexibility to hide the space when not in use. The screens needed to be suitable for external use which our Torquay slatted screens achieved perfectly.
For more inspiration, browse our Portfolio here or visit our showrooms in Sydney and Brisbane.