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I wasn't sure if this should have gone in Garden design but it is a problem that needs solving!

Last year my husband and I built a kitchen extension on the back of our house (semi detached). My neighbour decided that they would have one too and began building Nov last year its still going on! Where we always had quite a distance between patios, they've decide that they would extend their patio area right up close to ours and have placed their dining table right close to the boundry fence. The Lady of the manor next door has this awful loud voice and cackle the type that makes you cringe! I have thought of putting in a hedge but my border is raised and only about 18"s in depth and I fear that it would over power our small patio area. I have put pyracantha up the fence but it isn't mature or dence enough to block out her boombastic voice!

What would you suggest I could put in my garden other than outdoor speakers or a getto blasta! to mask her voice. I have considered moving house because of them but I would be so upset to leave my garden.


Rodgy - where do I start. I feel the same way right now only it's not the immediate neighbours that are the problem. Outdoor speakers with birdsong might be the easiest solution but I don't expect that's cheap unless you 'know a man' or you're handy yourselves. Water as in a water feature of some kind is the other 'physical'  barrier that I can think of. As Alan T says - the kind that sounds like a 'horse relieving itself' is what you need!

Have you got some pix you can put on to give us a sense of scale etc and would it be possible to move your seating area to the other end of your patio or is that not an option? I appreciate you may have French/patio doors etc. which may prevent that.


Rodgy that's horrible. I don't have any serious suggestions. One of my previous neighbours really hated the smell of our large curry plant to the extent that I moved it, she was a nice neighbour.


Oh dear!  And it's hard to say to your neighbour 'You sound awful' - not good for neighbourly relations.

I suggest that another sound in your garden might act as a distraction for your ear/brain to focus on - wind in bamboo, running water, or even as has been said, recorded birdsong.  Or can you take your laptop into the garden and tune into Radio Birdsong 

It's not an easy one this but if it was me i would make another seating area in another part of the garden and play music down at their end. Neighbours can waste your peace and quiet in many ways which is a shame for us that love our gardens and spending time relaxing in them.



...hang one of those jingly jangly thingys that get on your nerves in the slightest breeze.. you know the ones...  they'll soon get peed off themselves and move...


Perhaps you could say something along the lines of ....... "I'm not sure if you realise how your conversations carry on the breeze - we're finding out all sorts of things about you that perhaps you'd rather we didn't know - we do try not to listen but it is hard"  ..... that might make them keep the level down a bit 


I had the same problem, the woman would shout and swear at her kids they have all turned out the same, as a last resort I sold up and moved 4 years ago and have never been happier and I am making my new garden even better than my last one


I'm very lucky, both of my immediate neighbours are lovely, and there's not too much bother from the whole street, summer barbeques and parties but that's about it.  I'm inclined to go with stinky plants, and perhaps a drastic redesign if it bothers you so much, that's what I would do.  And I would probably be a little blunt with her, in a polite way, Dove's suggestion is excellent.  Oh and a water feature is also good, something with a pump that constantly bubbles and provides a peaceful distraction.  My old neighbours had a couple of small ponds with carp and the sound of running water all the time was lovely.

Hope you find a solution to the problem, keep us posted.


I completely sympathise with this issue Rodgy. I had a neighbour with that foghorn voice and god awful laugh who used to shout at her kids the whole time and the whole neighbourhood heard every conversation. Her voice just carried itself. I could hear her at the bottom of my garden and had to leave my windows shut on that side of the house if I wanted any rest-bite.

She really was the epitome of a Carry On character and my nerves were shot to pieces most of the time, I couldn't enjoy my garden either because they were always outside or all her windows and doors were open and you could hear her inside her own house!

I battled to find quiet times to do my gardening and contemplated headphones to drown out the noise and even reporting her to the council although other neighbours did that anyway. There was no sense of guilt either, you couldn't ask her nicely or she just shouted abuse.

But then she moved out and although I have other noisy (but nice) neighbours with kids who shout and scream at each other the whole time, barking dogs and a loud stereo, in the grand scheme of things, nothing can ever be as bad. 

I do feel for the new neighbours that have inherited the foghorn, she was driving me insane and noise is considered one of the five tortures, but I'm so glad she's gone.




Not an easy one this & I think a few of us have been there...

How well do / did you get on with these neighbours before? If things were reasonably amicable I would try my best to avoid making the whole thing escalate into an unpleasant battle. If they were bad - well, things could get a whole lot worse..

'Tactful' ways that might work include a 'noisy' (see Fairygirl above) water feature - if it makes the lady run to the loo every 20mins that might help. Annoying (yet somehow acceptable) noises such as irritating windchimes might encourage them to move away from the boundary. 

After that - try a bit of gentle escalation - when you know they're there - start having a loudish conversation yourself so they know how much the voices carry. Then perhaps a lawn mower when they're outside. In graduation terms you could then go strimmer, chain saw and leaf blower.

What about an oscillating sprinkler that 'accidentally' sends a few drops over the fence???

If they don't move away after all that, your only option might be to move your sitting area.

Problem is - once you're tuned in to listening for her voice / laugh you'll cringe every time you hear it & magnify the volume in your head. Try and keep a sense of perspective - war with your neighbours is a real recipe for unhappiness.

Best of luck.

John Harding

The problem with growing 'stinky plants' is you need to check the prevailing wind direction in your garden. If it comes from your noisy neighbour's direction towards you then it's likely to be you that is going indoors on a nice sunny day. I would advise against starting an unpleasant war with the neighbour as it is usually the inconsiderate ones who win.

One way of subtly bringing their attention to the problem is for you to be having a discussion loudly enough to be overheard over the fence all about what your noisy neighbour has recently been saying & using as much personal information gained from their own chatter as possible. This is most likely to bring a complaint about 'listening in on other peoples conversations' to which you could profusely apologise for but add that their discussions were so loud & clear that it wasn't possible to ignore it. Maybe if they toned the volume down a bit the sound wouldn't carry.


Perhaps Rodgy has inherited Wintersong's ex neighbour! But I feel for you Rodgy, had one of those when we had a chalet on a campsite, you could hear her all over the campsite. Fortunately we sold it, now someone else can have the pleasure!


A brick wall should do the trick (needs to be a minimum of one brick length thick), then just grow ivy up the side of it to soften one the sound and two the straight lines of the brick wall. Have a chat with a local builder - see what they suggest. If you have the chat outside right next to the fence - they might take offence and move. Why not have a sonic cat deterrent or two (at slightly different frequencies) that happen to be pointing at the fence .....


I've just re-read this thread...maybe you should just move.  Your garden is much-loved I'm sure, but making a new one is very exciting.  Pick a nice quiet area and have a nice life.  Others on here are right, falling out with your neighbours is very stressful, if you can afford to move then do it.  If not, then go with Andy's suggestion, make another seating area at the other end of the garden.  The brick wall and ivy also sounds good.  At the end of the day, only you can decide what your priorities are.  Good luck.



A problem yes.  I tend to agree with Andy.   Can you move your sitting area further away?  They aren't always going to be on their,patio when you are out there though. Sometimes, just accepting a situation makes it less severe.  I understand totally your issue, your right to bit of peace etc. but often being in your mind makes it worse.  Your pyracantha will grow and muffle,sounds, but don't move.  You said you would be upset,to leave your garden.  

Currently I have a neighbour working on renovating his house.  He is noisy and a nuisance at times...I've told him he's a "noisy sod" at times and how much longer will it take ?  We are friendly and I tell him with a smile on my face but he knows I'm not really happy. But things settle down rodgy dodge.  Don't rival your neighbour's noise but take a radio with you on a level you can enjoy.  Life is,often about mind,over,matter. Just try to enjoy what you have there.


A water feature with running water is good at drowning out noise but may have to be quite powerful to drown out a loud voice.


Maybe rather than the Gob getting on your nerves you could find a bit of mirth in it ? Admittedly it will be hard.

Our friends let us use their mountain village house in Greece each year and the neighbours are anything but quiet, I think they are all deaf. Don't bother going outside to have a chat just yell from inside their houses to a few doors down. Initially it made me jump and then wound me up, especially when I was still in bed. If we dare make a noise we are the talk of the village. I was in bother because my suitcase was on wheels and I made a noise arriving at 6am.

Now we understand more Greek and can get the gist of what is being shouted ( rather than thinking someone was being murdered) we mimic them and continue the conversation between ourselves. Usually daft nonsense. We even guess who is plodding past as I think most have flat feet as well. When a debate?? !! occurs we bet who will have the last word. Because so many share the same christian names we have knicknames for the people we know. Maybe coming up with different names for her next door each time she starts up might be fun, imagine you are calling her it.

Are we childish or what?

Well it is a small, uneventful village but we love it. The people are mostly lovely but just on the loud side. 

I wish you luck.


The wind chime's a great idea. If they say something to you about it you caould always say 'well we didn't really want to hear about Aunt Jean's varicose veins and Uncle Fred's latest operation but it was a bit hard not to' !!

Is she like Margo from The Good LIfe? You can always call her that in private 

Seriously, I'd hate to think you'd have to rearrange your garden just because of someone else's inconsiderate behaviour.


I rather like Margo - I know OH does