Backyard Idea's & Privacy

jandrus82March 3, 2013

I need some landscaping opinion's on how I'm landscaping my backyard.

I live just southwest of Grand Rapids, MI (zone 5B). New construction house as of 2 years ago. Soil is getting decent. Adding P & K when I can. PH is high at 7.8. From my uploaded design you can tell North - South.

I'm trying to create a privacy hedge to the back of my lot to block out the neighbors deck. The Serviceberry is already planted (as of 9/2012). Love it.

Also trying to gain a little privacy / shade / sound barrier west of my lot. I'm the second house in on the subdivision (first house is a young cpl that hasn't done much (any) landscaping) and I want a "somewhat" dappled privacy from the road to my (future)deck/patio. The Royal Burgundy Cherry tree on the West part of my lot is also planted (as of 9/2012). I like it but I am wondering if I should of went with something else. I almost bought either a Armstrong Maple / Eastern Redbud instead but I went with the Cherry because of the awesome foliage. The nursery I bought these tree's at suggested a Autumn Blaze Maple or European Hornbeam but I think these both will get to big (my lot is only 10,000 sq ft) and "over power" the back yard per say.

As you can see most of my concern is with the Cherry Tree. I'm adding a Columnar Blue Spruce just off the NW foundation to help with the privacy. But I'll take any opinion's on everything that comes my way.

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The is the view from a window on the east side of my house looking west.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 2:30PM
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If you want privacy, it seems that tall, narrow shrubs placed near the lot line would do a better job than trees placed elsewhere, which will not block the view below their canopy. Leaving tree canopies with low hanging branches will not be a good work-around as then, the trees themselves would be overwhelming obstacles. Privacy fencing, if you can do it, seems like it might be useful here, since space is limited. The larger plants, especially arborvitae and blue spruce near buildings seem much too close. Keep in mind that "mature" size is generally the size at 10 yrs. age. But the plant does not quit growing then. I don't see anything in your plan that I would call "effective screening." I would not worry so much about trees "overpowering" the back yard if you can accept shade. If you trim their canopies high, they do not create an oppressive feel. But their placement and overall effect does need to be thought out thoroughly before they are acquired. If you want further advice, I'd provide a 180* photospread that pans your yard from the center of the deck. (But first mark the lot line by setting visible objects at its corners or its ends that can be seen.)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 9:15AM
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There is a 180* photospread that you asked for Yardvaark.

Privacy fencing is out and so is tall narrow shrubs & trees near the lot line. My wife grew up with Colorado Blue Spruce lined up soldier style around her house and she hates anything that will be similar. I'm looking for something a little more airy.

Maybe, since I'm somewhat new to landscaping, I chose the wrong wording when I said privacy hedge. I'm looking to block out the clear view from my neighbors deck to my (future) deck, also looking to block out the clear view from the road into my backyard.

I don't mind my neighbors / people driving by seeing a some of of my deck / backyard. I just don't want them to be able to see what I'm cooking for dinner lol.

As for the Columnar Blue Spruce (Picea pungens 'Fastigiata') that I'm looking to buy... could I plant it closer to the Serviceberry since they both taper at difference ends? I love the look of these tree's and evergreens do seem to be best for screening. As for the Thuja its only supposed to get 2-3 ft wide. Even if it doubles in size would it be cause any problems.

The computer landscape design that's in the first post is to size. Each square in the grid equal one square foot.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond and offer advice.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:36AM
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Wow GardenWeb really resizes the uploaded pics.

Here's a link to the 180* picture in my photobucket.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:41AM
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The panorama is technically useful if one knows the property. As the sole source of graphic information it is usually too distorted to convey accurate understanding. It's probably okay for what we're talking about today, but if more photos are needed later, I'd add normal focal length, slightly overlapping photos. We cannot tell where the "clear view from the road" coming into your backyard is. But you did a good job of marking the lot line. :-)

For plants to do much in the way of screening they need to get some size to them. A more effective, and generally better looking arrangement is three same plants laid out in triangular fashion. A landscape where everything is a "one-of-a-kind" looks weak by comparison. (Amateurish vs. professional looking.) Try to visualize the triangular arrangement with different plant types on the site. I think the Spruce would do a better job screening the neighbor to the north while the Serviceberry would do a fine job of filter-screening the neighbors to east or west. If you plant in these configurations, consider moving the Cherry into the zone I've circled with a dashed line.

I would not plant anything near enough to the Spruce to cast shade on it that lasts for any length of time. Too much shade will destroy the plants surface finish.

"...Thuja its only supposed to get 2-3 ft wide." That, my friend, sounds like "famous last words." But you might be able to keep it that way with religiously rigorous shearing.

You're welcome.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 6:24PM
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