'Overlooking' from neighbouring houses is an item that will be very apparent when viewing potential building sites.
If outdoor entertaining or recreational spaces are an important part of your design criteria, then overlooking from neighbouring balconies, windows or outdoor areas may be a problem for you.
Likewise overlooking your neighbours family room or BBQ area may not be the best outlook or feeling from your entertaining areas.
There are several strategies that can be put in place, depending upon the level of importance you place upon your privacy.
For example the layout of your home can be designed so as to create private outdoor spaces screening views from neighbouring properties.
Windows can be designed and located to remove or reduce overlooking.
Screens can be installed directly beside the area or at the boundary line.
Landscaping with trees and shrubs at strategic locations can provide solutions in the longer term.
With all of the above, a problem can occur where screening placed on northern sides, to protect your privacy, may also have the potential to reduce light and winter sun penetration to those areas of your home where they are required the most.
Screening, whilst solving localised problems, can also block distant views to the mountains, ocean etc which may have been a part of the original appeal of the site.
Won't concern you ? In Victoria if you have a window, balcony or the like overlooking a neighbours habitable room window or private open space within 9 meters, you are required to install a screen a minimum of 1.7 meters high or install opaque glass (to 1.7m) to windows to prevent overlooking.
Check with your Local Council to determine your State or Territories current legislation together with their interpretation of those regulations. Although it may seem odd that there can be differing interpretations of the regulations by Councils, this does happen and altering their views can be a long process.
Council requirements >>