Decorative Fencing, Neighbor Issues

weeitsjulee(7)June 20, 2011

The owners of the small lot next door to us have decided to demolish their abandoned-for-10-years home, and bring in a 50x52' single wide. This is all fine and dandy, however... because of the size of the lot, the trailer had to be FACING MY PROPERTY in order to fit on the lot.

The privacy that I have come to enjoy for the past three years is gone. (I haven't had neighbors the entire time I've lived in my home and it has been great!) The owner's daughter is moving in with her 4 young boys. I lay out in my bathing suit sometimes, and let the dog out in my nightgown. I do not like the idea of having to cover up every time I go outside... The picture below is the view of my back yard.

My husband and I have decided that we are going to build an 8ft fence in the back to get our privacy back. Inside that fence we will be planting Leyland Cypress trees and other evergreens to eventually cover the view that the fence will not block out. (They will be able to stare out the top of their windows at my back deck where I spend a LOT of time.)

My issue is what to do with the front of our home? I'm not worried about privacy there, because I do not spend any time in the front of the house. I would, however, like to clearly establish a natural "fence" that would not allow her children to play in my yard. I don't want an actual wooden fence in the front because I don't want to feel like I'm living in a compound!

The biggest issue is that I have a very "thin" amount of space to grow something in. As you can see in the picture, my property line extends up the hill past my hosta bed (to the right, the stake with the orange flag), and about a foot and a half onto the upper part of the property. I basically need a hedge that I can grow in that foot-and-a-half worth of space!

I'd prefer it to be fast growing, and it MUST be evergreen. I live in Zone 7, in the central part of northern NC. Usually acidic soil, but I haven't tested it in that spot. Any help or advice would be GREATLY appreciated!!! THANKS!!!

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Plant privet along a curve line as fence in the front of the house.
add gazebo,cedar,conifer,maple in the back of the house.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 9:31AM
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Why are you limited to a wooden fence there? There are plenty of other fence options that wouldn't make it feel compound-like. Anything from picket to split rail would go up quickly, give the barrier and still allow you to see through.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 10:10AM
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My only comment - you poor may just want to put up a For Sale Sign.
I was use to privacy in my last home - I moved to a "tradional neighborhood" where the homes are VERY close. I hate it....I cant' get use to the lack of privacy. I can't get over feeling like I am living in a fishbowl.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 10:18AM
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The orientation of the trailer is unfortunate. I imagine there will be a car (or several) involved eventually and a driveway to accommodate it. Being a practical sort, what I was forced to look at would determine my options. Sacrifice the hosta bed for more space and better hedging choices. The back of your house could use the hosta bed.

Can only think of Nellie Stevens Holly - specially if you can buy bigger specimens to start out with. Good for zones 6-9; a pretty fast grower with mixed reports on deer browse.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 11:52AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

When you look at the stated size of a tree or shrub, that is usually the size at 10 years. Divide the 10-year height by 10, and you have the amount it grows per year. It will continue to grow at that same rate after the tenth year.

Young Leylands grow at 3-4' per year; the growth rate will eventually slow with age. The oldest Leylands are over a hundred feet tall and still growing.

If the hedge is to your south, ten years from now much of your yard will be in shade every winter (ask me how I know this). If the hedge is to your north, much of your neighbors' yard will be in shade during the winter; they will not be pleased with you.

If you desperately need something that grows that fast, consider planting a mixed hedge of quick- and slower-growing evergreens. Plant the quick-growing ones only in the area where the need to block views is most critical. When the slower ones reach the desired height, remove the quick-growing giants.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 5:02PM
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@ Design share: Thank you for the idea of the privet hedge- I like that, its fast growing, thick and looks pretty! THANKS! I will be looking into planting that in the fall. I still haven't decided what I'll do in the back, but as long as that fence is up, I'll be happy and can take my time making it look "natural."

@ Tanowicki: I can't do a fence in the front according to our county's laws. I'm just going to stick with plantings to avoid any issues.

@Jeannie01: Thank you for your sympathy! We moved out here to be away from neighborhoods... but then there are always other issues, like this one! :) I don't want to move... we sit on 30 acres with a short 30 minute commute into the city to work. In these past three years I've finally got my small vineyard planted, apple trees, blueberries, and a 1500sq ft garden. And we have a pond. We basically "stole" this property from the seller and its unheard of in our area to get what we got, for what we paid! I can't imagine having to start over with my fruit trees and everything somewhere else! We just plan to purchase the property when the neighbors forclose!!!! :) Plus I'm taking the stance, of "I was here first, I'm not gonna move, and you can't make me change the way I do things!!!"

@Duluthinblumz: fortunately the driveway is on the opposite side of the property, and the trailer hides the cars when they're parked. They haven't actually moved in yet, but hopefully they will only have one car!!! I have done some research on Nellie Stevens holly and was worried about the deer... We have quite a few in the area, and with money being tight, I'd be pretty upset if the deer took down all of my hard work!!! Thank you though!!!

@Missingtheobvious: Thanks for the info- the property line problem is on the south, however the Leylands are far away enough that we're not concerned with shading in the winter. Ours winters aren't too brutal here in NC anyway. And I know this sounds a bit harsh, but I don't CARE if my neighbors don't like it- I HATE their entire house! Haha! :)

Thank you EVERYONE for the VERY valuable input! Hopefully in the next 5 years things will look nice, natural, and I will have my privacy BACK! And since I've been using this forum for the past 3 years, I'm sure I will be on in the next 5. Hopefully I'll remember to post before & after pictures to show how helpful you've been! THANKS!!!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 5:27PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

No front fences ... not even a short picket ... wood or metal (wrought iron or cast aluminum)? Seems strange that a fence isn't allowed, but mobile homes are.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 12:43PM
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I have Rose of Sharon to block my side yard from the road. They are many "canes' growing in a 2.5 x 12 bed, and are thick enough that you can't see through them.

They grow relatively fast and would be over 12 feet high if I didn't trim them, and are absolutely COVERED with beautiful lavender/pink flowers from July to frost.

The only bad things I can mention is they re-seed prolifically, although the seedlings are very easy to pull or hoe out, and the flowers draw a lot of bumble bees. Despite being just a few feet from my 2nd floor deck, the bumble bees don't bother me or my dog.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 1:31PM
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I feel for you. But please, research Leyland Cypress & privet, as both have problems. Leyland Cypress gets huge!! Privet is invasive, it is a pest. I wish I could get rid of it.

I like Fragrant Tea Olive, Osmanthus fragrans,
evergreen, & the flowers smell great.

A mixture of plants would do well for privacy; kind of a fool your eye sort of thing. Instead of a grouping of the same plant, saying hey, look at me!! Notice how your eyes will follow a straight line of green, like a hedge of privet for example, and then, they ignore random plants along the roadways.

Just my 2 cents.

Good Luck, Joyce

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 3:05PM
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I'm assuming you have checked your local zoning ordinances regarding setbacks, etc. I would definitely try to halt the way they have the home positioned. Send some photos to the zoning board, surely they will be sympathetic.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 9:19PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Here you can't go above 6' with a fence but you can put a trellis on top, if they let you go up 8' there (but allow no fencing at all in the front - an odd combination) maybe they will also let you have at trellis on top as well.

Mixed hedges are better because they are more interesting and you don't have all your eggs in one basket, should one type of shrub or tree used not work out later.

And nothing announces - and draws attention to - an unwanted view better than a row of one kind of plant.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 11:35PM
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Fori is not pleased

Have you talked to the new residents about it? They probably aren't all that happy about their house facing your garage and would probably be happy to plan something with you.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 12:20AM
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If the home were turned around the other way than you would have the cars on that side of the house. Doesn't sound like a plus to me. Is it legal to put in a mobile home there & what are the clearances, maybe they just put it in without checking with county. 4 kids uh, hope your pool is fenced in! But I would be nice to them as they are your neighbors, if they are legal in putting house there. You never know you may fall sometime & they will be only ones to hear you & get you help. If 1 of boys if old enough, might be a great weed puller or good at mowing your lawn. Sometimes it works out well for both parties. yes, you can get laid up. I fell off the ladder after trimming up my apple tree & broke ankle & right arm & wrist. I could have used a kid to help me out. My dad (about 85 at time & I wouldn't let him mow-heart problems) had to start my mower & it was very painful mowing & leaning on mower. Long 12 weeks in spring of that year.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 2:41AM
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alameda/zone 8

I had a similiar problem except the new neighbor put in a huge shop - bright lights, ruined my private patio, though there was a horse pasture inbetween. I had a fence built that was high enough to cover the problem - left a gap under the fence to make it higher. Works perfectly. I hardly notice the shop now. You could do 4 x 4 posts with cattle panel for the fence and plant climbing plants like star jasmine that is evergreen. Different types of perennial grasses are effective too. Though they are common, arborvitae hedges can be effective. Eleagnus shrubs are fast growing and cover well. You could plant fast growing trees like silver maple near slower growing oaks. Pines also grow fast. I considered many options for the eyesore shop....a tall fence provided immediate gratification. With 4 will need a fence front and back to set boundries. Any chance you could buy the lot from these people? I bought the 2 lots across the road from my house that were thick with trees - they were priced high, but best money I ever spent [along with the tall fence!] Good luck, that sort of thing can ruin your time outdoors -

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 5:14AM
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Fori is not pleased

Surely this is better than an abandoned house!

It's funny to think of the "new" neighbors as new neighbors--they had their little lot first after all. They were probably surprised when someone built a house so close to them!

But a tasteful fence won't make you feel penned in. You certainly need it!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 3:18PM
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