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Need a privacy solution for awful neighboring views! Please Help

last year

Hello everyone,

I've been in a bit of a pickle here for a while and I could use some GOOD ideas for a tricky situation.

I've been in my current house for a few years, it was a bit of a fixer upper but I've been slowly updating and upgrading everything and focusing heavily on landscaping. This is a house in the Phoenix Metro Area, and when I bought it the backyard was just dirt and rock. I spent a while landscaping and planting and it looked great, bushes and shrubs line the walls, flowers, its great, the only problem is the neighboring business mall next door has a big wash in between our neighborhood and their business, this wash is lined with trees that can unfortunately die or fall over. Well my nightmare came true and some nice wonderful trees that block A LOT of this business was felled, when it was once nicely covered up, now I can see a business next door with their AC units, pipes, gutters, and ugly mechanical stuff in the distance. I've been upset ever since. I busted my butt turning a boring old yard into a lovely one and now my back wall view is crap. But I won't be defeated, I'm seeking a solution!

The good news is, it's just this one backwall that has a bad view, but it mars the experience of being outside, you want to look all around and see a pleasant sight, not an ugly building eyesore in the distance. So naturally I've been looking at what I can do to hide this thing. The whole span of the wall that I want to add privacy to is about 30 feet total, and I measured that it would take around 4 feet of vertical height ABOVE the current wall, to hide all the views. So if my current wall is 6 feet tall, I need this privacy solution to be roughly 10 feet tall (or more) to hide this eyesore for good. So I need some creative ideas.

I know the first option: Buy big trees or huge shrubs the size I want. Well, this is Phoenix in zone 8B, its a bit limited, we can't grow emerald arborvitae and lush green stuff that easily like lucky folks in the midwest or backeast, we stick with Oleanders, acacias, palo verdes, vines, tecomas, yellow bells etc. Which are nice, but a little pricey. If I was to buy enough really tall shrubs or trees for this I'd be looking at several thousand dollars with me and my son doing the digging! I am seeking cost friendlier options right now anyways. I won't rule it out, but seeking alternate options.

2nd option: Add a fence extension solution. This is my favorite idea so far, but I have concerns. This HOA is older, they frankly don't care about a lot and their documents are ancient. I've seen MANY houses in the neighborhood that aren't following rules, there are plenty of things that are not enforced, so there's that. However, I did read the HOA laws and it says a few things of note "You cannot raise, lower or alter your fencing without permission and permission of adjoining neighbor" and it also says "wood lattice items is acceptable only if living material is growing on it" and of course "Any altering of landscape, modifications, etc, etc, must be sent for approval" which is nuts because I have neighbors and people down the street who do whatever they want and have been for years. The sweet little old lady next door is not submitting approval to put little daisies in the ground on her front lawn and waiting 60 days to be told yes or no, it doesnt happen, ever. Anyways, I just don't want a potential pain in the butt from them because of "construction" or "unapproved building" or whatever, even though I'm just trying to hide a PORTION of a wall, not raise the whole darn thing. So I'd like a solution that sticks to the rulebook.

So If I can't RAISE my fence, could I put a privacy screen IN FRONT of the fence? Since I wouldn't be building onto or inside the current wall, but putting a standalone object, like a wood slatted privacy wall with feet, in front of it, would that be sufficient?? Anyone with experience in this scenario?

I would assume that if it isn't mortared on, cemented in, and straight up constructed on the wall, but a decorative item is adjacent to it, it would be fine, and I wouldn't be ridiculous and paint these privacy walls hot pink, I'd keep them a natural color and let vines grow up them. Is this a good solution?

One other solution I saw was to install tall raised beds along this wall, fill them in with dirt and soil and plant the tallest shrubs I can find in these, so that if I raised a bed say 3+ feet off the ground, I could find shrubs that are 6-7 feet tall and achieve the vertical privacy I want without having to worry about any HOA rules, and without having to wait many years for plants to grow that tall at ground level. Instant privacy from moderately tall shrubs all lined up in raised bed, and when I say moderately tall I mean affordable, a tall shrub over 10-12 feet these days is ~300 bucks, but a 6 footer is 80 bucks, that math is much better, but would the wood and fill dirt for a raised bed be just as expensive as planting huge plants??

I just need some ideas and some help here, I would love to brainstorm with you all and see your thoughts, especially if you've ever lived next to a bad view and what you did to hide it without fussing too much!

Thank you

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