Complete Guide to Garden Privacy – Review

I often get queries from visitors to the website about privacy in the garden so I was delighted to see that Alexandra Campbell has addressed this very subject in her new book, the ‘The Middle-Sized Garden Complete Guide to Garden Privacy’.

Alexandra is a journalist who runs a very successful award-winning website – ‘The Middle-Sized Garden‘ -containing blogs, videos and information about all things gardening. She has written for newspapers and magazines including Good Housekeeping, Harpers & Queen and The Daily Telegraph. Her website is a mine of information and with regards to privacy she will tell you that the three main questions that arise when considering privacy are how to increase privacy from above; how to improve privacy without blocking light and how to make a privacy screen.

She points out that in today’s crowded world privacy and light are precious – maybe you have a neighbour’s window looking down into your garden or an ugly extension, garage roof or similar. It may not be possible to make the whole garden completely private but there are ways of making a private space or ‘secret garden’ where you can relax and feel you are screened from the noise of everyday life.

There are chapters on the principles of garden privacy, fences and walls, hedges, trees, screens and climbing plants. The author deals with eyesores, noise and wind and front gardens are not forgotten.

The book is clearly laid out and easy to follow and the advice is practical, sensible and designed to encourage you to think about your space and what you can do within it, to help you choose the right type of screening, planting and materials to create your own private sanctuary.

Alexandra stresses that you can create a delightfully private ‘secret garden’ space even in the smallest garden and that screening for privacy does not need to be ugly or overbearing.

What I like about this book is that it takes you through logical steps from assessing your garden space and your boundaries to looking at the importance of making a difference between your ‘primary privacy space’ and ‘secondary primary space’. She then outlines the practical considerations such as ‘all year’ or ‘summer only’ use, bringing in issues you might easily overlook but could be important such as whether you want evergreen trees or hedging, if you want to be shielded from a window or street lamp and why it can be effective to combine two or three different ways of creating garden privacy.

Another plus with this book is the fact that the author leaves room for ‘your notes’ and areas where you can make your own rough diagrams. Her diagrams are practical and show you how to position a trees, hedge or screen so that you get the maximum privacy with the lowest possible screen. What you are allowed to do is also covered (UK Law) as there are limitations on fence height etc. Also included is a Privacy Planner with a list of issues for solutions which is most helpful.

There are also plenty of coloured plates illustrating fencing, screening plants and planting ideas, as well as suggestions for the best evergreen trees for privacy, different types of fencing and trellis and man-made screening.

Arbours and Gazebos are covered, again with practical advice for choosing the right type for your garden as well as garden parasols and their effectiveness in screening.

The Middle-Sized Garden Complete Guide to Garden Privacy‘ is one of the most practical books I have read this year and is certainly excellent value for money. It is a straightforward and comprehensive guide to privacy, screening and noise reduction, written in a fluent and interesting style, full of inspiration and ideas, bringing together all the questions you have ever asked yourself on making your garden into your own little sanctuary.

‘The Middle-Sized Garden Complete Guide to Garden Privacy‘ by Alexandra Campbell is available on Amazon in paperback (£16.99), and Kindle (£7.99). Alexandra’s garden blog can be found at: