There’s nothing terrible with adequately lighting your front yard, mainly for security purposes. It’s not wrong to want to ensure the safety of your property! However, while it makes you feel safe, experiencing the overspill of your neighbour’s lighting is not a pleasant experience you’ll want to revisit every night.

Light shining through your window or over your backyard can be irritating and frustrating. It’s even more annoying if it’s directed to your living room, right on your TV screen! So, how can you handle this, and what are the steps you can take?

Light Trespass: What is it, and is it illegal?

Light trespass occurs when light shines on areas where it should not be and is not intended to be. Other terms for light trespass are light pollution, light harassment and light nuisance. Now, you might be wondering, is light trespass illegal?

Typically, light pollution is handled by the city or neighbourhood officials, using the neighbourhood regulations and enacted ordinances.

How to address light trespass?

Any issues you have with your neighbours can be a sensitive topic, especially if you are planning on staying near each other for a long time. While light trespass can be addressed legally, most professionals advise that it will be better to try and solve the issue amicably by yourselves first before turning to the legal route.

Make sure that you study your neighbourhood’s ordinances and by-laws before constructing anything within your property. You may need to get a permit if you plan to put up massive structures. This way, you’ll not be a bother to others. However, what if it’s the other way around? How can you stop light from coming inside your home?

Here are some ways to address it!

Add a privacy fence or side awning

A privacy fence is a tall fence that can be constructed from any materials. You can find a privacy screen made from wood, metal or mesh-type material. It can be fully opaque or with some light passing through.

wood fence

Consider having a retractable privacy fence or side awning since they’re versatile and relatively cheap. You can install them exactly where you need them and inconspicuously retract them when it’s not required.

A side awning or a privacy fence is suitable for covering a part of your deck or outdoor sitting area. It’s also perfect for keeping the light from affecting your garden. You’ll be able to fold it away during the day, so your plants can get their daily dose of sunshine!

Cover your fence with a privacy screen

If you already have a tall fence, but light can still pass through, cover it with a privacy screen. Usually, kits would include everything you need to attach the screen. Although, it’s still best to double-check so you can prepare for the installation process.
Not sure about getting a screen? Try using plants! You can use either climbing vines like tomatoes or artificial foliage like artificial ivy. It’s less conspicuous and more visually appealing!

Incorporate shades in your garden

Some plants are sensitive to light, which may affect how they flower. So, it’s best to put a shade on those plants to protect them from your neighbour’s overspill lighting. Just make sure to get a mobile type since your plants still need sunlight during the day.

One option that you can use is a patio umbrella. It works well if you use it against strong light that’s concentrated in a specific area. It can be a stand-alone feature in your garden, or you can add a sitting place to make it more functional.

Use blackout curtains

If light passing through your yard is not an issue, you may opt for using blackout curtains as a remedy. These curtains are the cheat key if you want to have an absolutely dark room to enjoy sleep and watch movies!

Blackout curtains are opaque and double-lined. It has insulated pockets and a darker colour which helps block out light. These curtains can also help balance your room’s temperature and lessen noise.

hand closing the blinds

Talk with your neighbour

While this appears to be the simplest, it may be the hardest. However, this can yield the best results. Your neighbours may also not be aware that their lights are slipping within your walls. If you don’t have any issues with them and are on friendly terms, you can try to talk it out politely.

Approach them as if you need their help. It might create a difference in how they respond. If you cannot approach them face-to-face, try writing a letter. You may be able to organise your thoughts better and explain things clearly.

Now that you know what light trespass is and how to address it, it’s time to take action. Talk if possible, but if not, there are other alternatives that you can try as suggested above. Just make sure that on your end, your outdoor lighting will not be a bother to your neighbours and if you’re looking to add some, check out our website, Simple Lighting! We have various outdoor lighting solutions to help you effectively and efficiently illuminate your backyard and front porch!


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