Need help with privacy screening!

erinf83(6)February 13, 2013

Hi all, I'm new to gardening and moved into this home at the end of the summer last year. I basically worked on moving in and clean up in the yard and didn't pay much attention to the surroundings. This year I really want to sink my teeth into the gardens. The first area I want to tend to is the small garden in the back. Currently it has a small weeping japanese maple, some ferns I threw in at the end of the season (obviously these can be transplanted) and what I believe is some kind of lilac tree. There is a road in the back so I am looking for something evergreen that will grow tall but not too tall as I am hoping to keep, at minimum, the japanese maple and I don't want whatever I plant to take away from it. At first I was thinking of a Leyland cypress but then found out how huge they get, then I was thinking of a rhododendron but they are slow growing and I want the privacy now I am stuck! Please help!

The photo I have included is the view from our dinette.

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Here is another photo....this is on the deck where the patio set is located...and a better angle of the garden but both views need to tended too, especially the first photo since it is "year-round" view!!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:02AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Repeat the tall twiggy thing next to the shed -- add one or two more along the fence, by the bench and the pots, if there is enough room.

Do you have any photos from spring or summer?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:14AM
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Thanks for the help....I've cross posted in the shrub section and I think I am leaning towards conifers (specifically emerald green arborvitae) since I do have a large mature evergreen in the yard already and the conifers will add some unity

I'm attaching some additional photos of the whole yard and my whole plan (just a quick, not to scale sketch).

Any input is appreciated. For groundcover I am mostly wanting ferns and hostas. I don't have any opinion on shrubs or any additonal trees though.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:07AM
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From the far right side of the yard (large shed not yet erect).

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:09AM
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Little garden where privacy screen takes priority.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:11AM
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Far back left corner of the yard. complete opposite of first photo.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:13AM
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For the record, the trees/shrubs with the X's are things I would like to remove or transplant....nothing has been done yet though.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:14AM
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I'm not scrutinizing your plan but if the issue is privacy, then having the flagstone pathway go all the way to the far back corner seems like a counterproductive solution. It seems that the corner would be useful for the greatest depth of planting (from front to back of bed.) Since you have space, it would be good not to pinch your beds to tightly (make them too shallow, front to back.) It sounds like you might be installing some sizable plants.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 5:59AM
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The reason for the path is that there is a gate in the back corner. Both the grade school and high school are back there so my 3 sons will be traveling through there quite often!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 7:30AM
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It's a nice neighborhood way to access school and understandable why you must have the corner entrance. Other than in the corner then, with the walk traveling so close to the fence along its route, it seems like its pinching the beds more than necessary. (Would a to-scale plan say differently?) If it's true, I'd explore a way to get the walk somewhat farther from the fence.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:51AM
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I think a to-scale plan would definitely portray it a little better. I went out and made a foot drawing in the snow of how I want the beds. The photos, however, did not turn out so well. I did measure the depth though and at its smallest depth it is about 8 feet and at its greatest, 10 feet. That is for both beds running along both fences and both are about 70 feet long. This also includes the 4-5 foot walkway as per my original sketch. I can definitely pull them out further and have the walkway hug the center garden more and eliminate the very small garden around the oak tree if you think it would be I said, I am new and in the rough stages of planning!!

I will work on a to-scale sketch of my original plan and if you think the 8-10 feet depth isn't enough I will make another one of the way everything is now (I might go ahead and do that anyway!)

Looking at the sketch I made I see the walkway looks twice as big as the fence gardens but really its the other way around!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:23PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

If the walkway is for children on their way to school, make it as close as possible to a straight line from the door to the gate. If you don't, they will.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 1:20PM
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I think an 8' minimum bed depth is fine. In certain circumstances, it could be cut to less. More is fine, too. Once you have a to-scale drawing, I'd explore the idea of having a main walk go around the corner on the near (toward house) side of Oak and have a secondary walk come off of it going to the corner entrance. I'm only saying this as it seems a little "grand" and expensive if it's only purpose is to be a path for children going to school. It you just want grandeur and don't need to save $, then by all means, have blow-out yard with no holds barred!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 6:40PM
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glad to hear 8ft is enough. The large walkway I imagine will be used for more than just the kids walking to school. I'd like to think that with all the effort and money put into this yard that I'll be making daily walks through there!! I choose flagstone because my husband is handy and I really like the look. I also consider mulch but imagine that would be a muddy mess and I've done rock at my other house and rock + kids + grass/garden = disaster...and completely dead lawn! I will likely shape the beds this summer and get some shrubs and trees in there to start and leave the "walkway" grass until I get a feel for it.

I've redone a to-scale drawing that is nearly 100% accurate. Each square represents 1 foot.

The gardens in the bottom left are going to my food gardens and I put measuements along the gardens by the fence stating 8 feet and 10 feet but you can't really see it all that well. The pathway is also measured at 5 feet which I think is a good width for 2 people to walk side by side...opinions on that? The garden in the bottom right will like be skyrocket junipers or some other tall narrow conifer to block my kitchen view of my neighbour's bedroom window. and the small garden in the top right is the area in which this post was originally started. I've extended the bed out by a bit so I can fit some tall, narrow conifers as well as some other plants, and hopefully the Japanese maple that is there now (I'll bring it forward of course - any idea on how tall this might get though?).

I'm still not sure what I want for trees/shrubs along the back fence. I would like some privacy from the rear neighbours but its doesn't need to be privacy from a dense evergreen. A few suggestions for that area would be great. The garden along the left fence, I don't really need any privacy but maybe I want to repeat some of the same trees/shrubs/conifers along there as will for unity...suggestions for that would also be fantastic. Also...I have the large evergreen in the middle of the center garder...should add more shrubs to that area as well? If so how many? I have a few hostas in there right now and I think there was some ornamental grass from the previous owners...I also plants a butterfly bush in the fall time but that can be move as I only plants in there because I wanted to get it in the ground and I had dug up a shrub there a few weeks before.

I appreciate all the help! Keep the great advice coming!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:58PM
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