Let’s face it, one of the worst parts of living in an urban area is that you probably live near at least one person who thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to leave a sofa out on their balcony. Or if they don’t have a sofa out there, their idea of great outdoor living is sitting in white plastic chairs smoking incessantly and talking loudly with their friends. Who wants that view? I certainly don’t. As I see it, you have two options: screen the eyesore out with a physical object or screen them out with plants. In this post I’m going to cover physical objects, and in a future post, I’ll discuss using plants.
Photo by Mr. Laskowski
I’m lucky to have really great neighbors at my current apartment, but I’ve lived at places where I’ve seen and heard really bizarre things on nearby balconies. If you’re living near the neighbors-from-hell, I feel your pain. Here are some tips and ideas to add privacy to your balcony or deck.
- Umbrella: If the neighbors you want to disappear live above you, or you want to screen out prying eyes coming from an upstairs window, umbrellas work really well. They give you a shady spot to relax, they block out an unsightly view above, and they don’t look like you’re trying to block out the neighbors. There are umbrellas that are smaller than the typical umbrella which work well on balconies. Also, there are “half” umbrellas that sit flush with a wall.
- Pergola: Related to the idea above, if you live in a condo and are permitted to put in a pergola, they also work well for screening out views you’d rather not have.
- Water Fountain: If the problem you face is not necessarily that a neighboring balcony is unsightly, but rather that your neighbors sit out on their balcony and talk into all hours of the night, adding a fountain on your balcony may help to neutralize their noise and replace it with something more soothing.
- Screen: Another option is to use a screen of some sort. Pier One Imports has a couple of good looking options: Indoor Outdoor Wall Panel, Capiz Shell Sun Catcher.
- Curtains: A pretty piece of fabric gently blowing in the breeze could be a beautiful option during the time of year you don’t get much rain. Use a curtain rod or string a taught wire between two posts an either hang a pre-made curtain or sew your own.
Did you like this post? Check out the follow-up post about using plants to block out your neighbors. Also, please subscribe to Life on the Balcony and never miss great tips and ideas for balcony gardeners.