How To Love Your Neighbors


Dear Daniel,

My house in on a very busy street and near the road. I constantly have headlights flashing in my house. How can I solve this problem in an aesthetically pleasing way? Sincerely, Done with Being Flashed

Dear Flashed, Have you ever visited the Hamptons? Driving around the old part of South Hampton, you’ll see just the tops of beautiful old homes sticking out behind very tall, dense laurel hedges. In fact, the laurel hedges are so present, they make it feel as though the roads are hallways connecting a bunch of rooms. I once took a class in architecture school where each week we were given a different urban site to creatively infill. Parameters were generally very loose, with the exception of an absolute rule: that our concepts did not break the street wall. This meant that our building or park (whatever it was) should not fall beyond the face of any building or project in front: it had to fall in line with all of the adjacent buildings so as not to create a huge, gaping hole. What I’m getting at here, is that you can never go wrong with a well manicured hedge. It always looks sophisticated from the street, and, not matter how small the space between the hedge and your house, it always creates the possibility of an exterior room of making your yard feel like an exterior room. Depending on the exact look and the desired growth rate, there are a few options: English Laurel (if you want something that grows quickly), wax leaf privet (which takes much longer to grow), or the dwarf leaf laurel (which won't grow as tall as other options). Whichever variety you choose, your new hedge will not only provide you with the privacy that you need, but also a new beautiful outdoor room.

Sincerely, Daniel