- Aug 21, 2015
I like the grape arbor idea.I have built many aviaries/runs in sticky zoning situations. The wire "roof" is an excellent idea, as it will keep out most predators, and allow autumn leaves and snow to fall through without bringing down the wire. During extreme snow, you will still have to go out and knock the snow through so it doesn't build up and become heavy. A plastic rake with the tines covered by a strip of duct tape is a good tool that is lightweight and won't keep catching on the wire.
I would avoid "aviary netting" such as top-rite because raccoons and squirrels will chew straight through it. And it will not take any snow load at all. To save expense, I have used a 2' wide row of 2"x2" welded wire mesh at the top edge of the fence because the connection to the top of the fence must be secure and tidy. I infill the center with 2" chickenwire, it's much cheaper and easier to work with if it turns out your area isn't as precisely square as you thought. If you have large spans, string some trucker's rope across to create support "beams" so the chickenwire doesn't sag. If the spans are very long, you may have to support the ropes with occasional, strategic posts, poles or even bamboo poles. Your umbrella idea should work well, seasonally. A picnic table in the run can give them a place to get out of the sun/rain, too. As for screening, hedges take a long time to fully grow into a viable screen but are worth the wait. Meanwhile, get some cheap exterior siding to screen the run until the hedge grows in. My 40'x50' aviary/run is going on 20 years with this kind of roof. It is right on the property lines on 2 sides, and the neighbors barely know it is there.
[edit/addition] Hedges are slow, but vines are the thugs of the plant world. Maybe a couple strategically planted grape vines, outside the run, would grow up and over, effectively screening the run from his view above. You might even put up a pretty little arbor on that side to support them.