Need help creating privacy. Opinions very welcome.

beldarconeheadMay 6, 2011

Hi Team, So my question is, How would you create a sense of enclosure and privacy in this small yard without boxing it in?

Here's my situation: The back of my neighbors home and drive way meet the side of my front yard. I would like to create a cozy space with a cottage garden feel while separating their driveway and blocking some of the view of their large home without boxing my small yard in. We use this side of the lawn for summer picnics and occasionally the kids set up the sprinkler there. The photo is old and currently the majority of the space is lawn with surrounding planting beds. We have also relocated the small tree on the left to the back yard. The existing planting bed running along this edge is about 2 feet deep but could be extended to as much as 4. How would a 4 foot high fence with arbor look here? I'd love to hear any suggestions.

Thanks! Kelly

Here is a link that might be useful: PHOTO

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Those are the neighbors cars

The area on this side of the hose is now grass

Straight on

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 5:39PM
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Something similar to one side of this but without the open arbor, starting behind the shrub next to the house:

You could vary the width of the panels, or step the height down from the house to the front, to avoid an overly repetitive look, and then wrap the shorter curved side around at a right angle on the front, with the rose bush spilling over it. This would avoid a cut-off look at the end. For me, the postcaps with the spheres on top take it out of the realm of the ordinary and make it more fantasy-like.

I wouldn't use white, though, maybe use your house color, a natural wood tone to match your door, or something to match your stone retaining wall, which I love, by the way. This wouldn't help privacy any, but something (creeping phlox?) would look great spilling over the top of the stone wall.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 10:54AM
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Thank you AncientDragonfly. This kind of suggestion is the very reason I posted my question here. I never would have thought of this particular solution myself. I will certainly entertain it. cheers!

PS I actually have some newer creeping phlox growing along the wall but it is growing slowly. I also had trailing rosemary in a couple spots but it died this winter. :(

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 11:23AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yes, you'd have to do something like that fencing in order to get some relief without having a tall hedge (codes do not allow tall fences) looming over you, like the neighbor's house does. Anything tall enough to completely screen the unwanted view will also loom.

The 'Skylark' ('Victoria') ceanothus at the corner of your house is doing a good job of blocking their drive at that point, but will grow wider over time - more of these or other shrubs of similar size and density would eliminate the cars from view but would also take up more space.

If you are going for "cottage" a sheared traditional hedge would be thematically correct. You might want to look at books and web pages on cottage gardening, if you are not familiar with these already. Common themes include decorative fencing and clipped shrubs framing and enclosing casual plantings of flowers. Beds of vegetables and fruit-producing plants are also frequent.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:28PM
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Thank you bboy. I did a search and see what you mean about the hedge being thematically correct. It can be quite lovely. That said I am trying to find a way to get some height without creating a wall. I can't visualize how I could attain that with a hedge. Thoughts?

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 2:59PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

A tall narrow shrub closer to the house to screen the second story of your neighbor might utilize something like Azara microphylla, in combination with a 5 foot height trellis and vine with something dense growing like Clematis armandii, or a hedged bamboo species such as Pseudosasa japonica. The Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' will eventually give you a nice summer canopy of foliage that will screen the neighbor's house, but you might want to use another tree closer to the house such as Cercidiphyllum japonicum or Maytenus boaria to create a taller weeping form at this edge. If you were to use trees to form a "wall" of summer foliage along this edge of the property, a shrub border set below it with shrubs growing to about 5 froot height of Nandina domestica or Mahonia aquifolium or Fatsia japonica would go a long ways to screening the views of the neighbor's cars.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 7:54PM
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Thanks bahia for all the plant suggestions! I am not familiar with most of these plants so I'll check them out.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 3:03PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

I'd tear out that green thing that is up against the corner of your house. Can't quite tell what it is, but it's growing out over towards the window to avoid competing with the other green shrub at the corner of your house. Don't need two things there, so if you can salvage it, move the shrub, or just edit it out. That will give you some breathing space. Then you can create a shrub border to block the view, or a low scalloped fence mixed with tall plants, whatever. But first clear out that corner so you have a clean slate. Seems like those plants are too close to the house anyway.
Maybe look at some landscaping books to find some idea photos for what looks good as a fence border or a shrub border. There are lots of options, but it takes some finagling. I have a lot of landscaping books with pictures, photos, plants and instructions, so I'm sure you can find what you need. But anyway, my two cents is to just clear out that corner, those plants don't seem to fit there anyway, its a placement issue.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 7:32PM
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