January 18, 2019

Easy Ways to Make Your Garden More Private

Personal gardens can serve as incredibly soothing sanctuaries where one can unwind and enjoy the fresh air. However, if you live in a more populated area, charging your inner batteries might be interrupted by noisy neighbors and the prying eyes of passers-by. It’s not just the awkwardness of feeling someone might be watching you as you sunbathe, but also about obtaining peace and quiet. Don’t stress out just yet: there are numerous effective ways to make your garden more private.

Install a Portable Partition or a Privacy Screen


Portable partitions or privacy screens can help you bring the most out of your backyard space and contribute to the ambient, both aesthetically and in means of space functionality. There are a few things you need to consider before choosing the best solution for your gardens, such as available budget, the amount of space, the sunlight, and the specific purpose of different parts of space. There are many successful DIY projects you can explore or try to copy. From wallet-friendly bamboo screens and wattle turned into a natural fence to the creative use of the materials you don’t need anymore – the possibilities seem endless. Consider unusual materials such as plexiglass, which blocks the curious views but allows the penetration of light.

Turn To Nature for a Perfect Solution


If you’re looking for a greener way to protect your privacy, planting privacy trees is a perfect choice. Not only is it soothing to relax your eyes on beautiful trees and plants, but the green shield keeps you safe from the unpleasant winds and reduces your house heating costs, while at the same time isolating the street sounds and the chatter coming from the houses next door. According to the Tree Center, the best choices include thuja green giant, Leyland cypress, Italian cypress, and emerald green thuja. Modern breeding techniques ensure fast growth: some species can grow a stunning 10 feet per year until they reach their full height. Surprisingly enough, privacy trees are more affordable than most types of fences.

Build a Solid Stone Wall


If you have money on your hands and are looking for a more permanent privacy solution for your property, consider building a stone wall. Stone doesn’t have to feel cold and or hostile. As a matter of fact, there are various types of stone available on the market today that can give a vintage and rustic feel or on the contrary – smooth and elegant. You can use anything from concrete blocks and stone-veneer panels to fieldstone. Whatever your choice may be, it can potentially transform your outdoor space. Depending on the size and style of your garden, you can even start a bigger landscape project and make small oases or seating areas within the garden from the same stone material so they match the wall.

Try Lattice for Semi-privacy


If you don’t feel like cutting your backyard off from the rest of the world (be it due to feeling a bit too claustrophobic or simply because you’re striving for a more open concept), the lattice is the perfect compromise. Grow small vines (black-eyed Susan, morning glory and cardinal vine look lovely), or climbing roses to integrate the panels into space better. Generally, lattice panels are not hard to find, they will surely fit into your budget so you can arrange your funds easily to pick lovely plants and enrich the space. If you’re not a big fan of plants, you can leave the wooden panels uncovered or play with texture and color, depending on the look you’re aiming for.

Especially today, in the fast-paced world we live in, we need to spend more time outdoors, in touch with both ourselves and nature. The garden definitely makes a perfect scenery for that: take these tips in mind and you’ll realize privacy is not such a hard-to-reach luxury.

My DIY Jewish wedding

I got married this past summer. The wedding ceremony was beautiful, heartfelt and touching. The reception featured delicious food, great music, dancing and celebrating. The day reflected our personal style and tastes perfectly. 

And, miraculously, it didn’t put us in debt. 

If you’ve ever planned a wedding, you know just how hard this can be. American weddings are a $60 billion-a-year industry, according to the market-research firm IBISWorld. And Rabbi Susan Goldberg signs the ketubah created by the groom’s brother.

Food: We turned to our friends who own an incredible Mediterranean restaurant in Atwater Village called Dune. They laid out an enormous spread of falafel, hummus, pita, grilled veggies and mouthwatering focaccia sandwiches made with pickled beets, feta cheese and hard-boiled eggs, and our guests helped themselves. Another friend prepared giant salads, and a friend who manages a gourmet-food import company laid out a spread of artisan cheeses, charcuterie, olives and fruit to snack on before the ceremony. We also pre-mixed a couple of signature cocktails, which we served out of glass dispensers, next to buckets of ice-cold India pale ale and bottles of wine.

Guests enjoy dinner and music after the backyard wedding ceremony.

Cakes: A close friend of ours is a wonderful cook and loves to bake. She created some sample cakes for us and they were all so delicious; we couldn’t choose one. So she made three: pistachio with rosewater buttercream, lemon with lavender icing, and red velvet. She topped them with fresh flowers, and after we smashed the first slice in each other’s faces, my new wife and I served up platefuls to our delighted guests.

Flowers: Rather than hiring a florist, Amanda and some friends visited the Los Angeles Flower Market when it opened at 6 a.m. on the day before the wedding. They returned with buckets filled with red, orange and yellow ranunculus blossoms, purple globe amaranth pompons, green chrysanthemums, golden yellow brush-shaped celosia and silver-green eucalyptus leaves. They fashioned them into stunning table centerpieces, boutonnieres and flower crowns using floral wire and tape.

Flower centerpieces were made by friends of the bride and groom.

Miscellaneous: Luckily for us, the garden already looked beautiful, so we didn’t have to do much to it. We rented tables and chairs and a giant piece of artificial turf for a dance floor. We bought fabric from the Fashion District and cut it into table runners. We gathered some childhood photos and displayed them using string and miniature clothespins. We set up a Moleskine notebook for people to write messages to us. For wedding favors, we didn’t want to give people kitschy souvenirs that would just take up space in their homes. So we baked a big batch of vegan banana bread granola and scooped it into small white muslin pouches, each hand-stamped using an ink stamp of two daffodils, one leaning against the other.

Because I work at a radio station, I was able to get a good deal on a photographer and a DJ, and I borrowed an iPad stand from the office and set up a photo booth. We projected a looping supercut of film dance scenes onto our friends’ movie screen as a backdrop. Our host also had a smoke machine and a glittering gold disco ball, which added to the dance party ambience. We did hire someone to help with washing dishes, refilling the drink containers, and other chores so we could focus on having fun.

The bride and groom share their first dance — to Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend.”

If this seems like a long list of details, that’s pretty much what planning a wedding is: a never-ending checklist. In the end, we threw a memorable party, and our guests had a great time. That’s all you can hope for in a wedding, and we demonstrated that it can be done well on a tight budget.

We are lucky to have friends and family who are talented at things such as baking, floral arrangement and graphic design, and who own a restaurant and could cater our wedding. But if you think about it, you probably also have friends whose skills you can tap to make your wedding more personal and, yes, more affordable. They’ll feel honored to be included in your special day, and their gift to you will be that much more meaningful.