Help fine tune my ideas about privatizing my yard.

zagyzebraJune 2, 2013

This is the SITUATION:

We'd like to achieve privacy between these two stack-ups and our far lot. Currently we have an avocado tree (maybe 80 years old) that used to have a ginormous overhanging branch that blocked the view pretty well. Then one day, that huge branch (like half the tree) just snapped off.

So it is our idea to plant a few more avocado trees (we love the fruit) closer to the little wall between the two properties. We understand they will grow well in that spot: few hours of morning sun, then partial or complete shade for the rest of the day. We know our neighbors will hate the leaf droppings, but hey, we want our privacy and our avocados, too. I also heard loquat trees grow well in partial shade, so we may plant one avocado and one loquat tree. Or even one loquat tree under the two avocado trees.

To privatize the part below the branches, we'd run some posts from the ground with wire between them to support vines. We were thinking of cape honeysuckle, mountain lilac, or, we really like the idea of pineapple guava -- or any combo thereof. We don't really like the idea of maintaining them, but when it comes to privacy planting, there doesn't seem to be an easier way.

For a while I was thinking of clumping bamboo along the whole wall (which is what one neighbor recommended). But I've also been told that it may not grow in thick enough to privatize very well. That, plus the fact that there is no turning back with established bamboo root systems, is of concern. Bamboo is a modern-looking plant, and we have a quaint old home on a large lot.

Many have suggested ficus trees, but their root systems are problematic and, well, to me they're kind of boring.

We are located high up in Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles, where we get a lot of coastal fog and are protected from serious heat by altitude and the towering forever green canyon walls of foliage. We really don't want to be slaves to watering, and prefer drought resistant plants once established. We find that most everything we plant up there is drought resistant eventually.

I would be interested in hearing all of your opinions and thoughts.

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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Thank You For Not Planting Ficus. ;-)

I think you'll be most satisfied with the cape honeysuckle, Tecoma capensis. It must be maintained; long branches that fall to the ground will root, but it is easily controlled. With 3-4 trims annually it will look reasonably well-groomed. It fits your need for low water use -- ONCE ESTABLISHED. It must be watered to get going, say the first year or two. This will be much faster than avocado trees or loquat trees.

Bamboo in the right place is a thing of beauty, but this is not the right place -- good call.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 11:55PM
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yardvaark

Edit: As I mentioned before the edit, the trees don't really produce privacy (once limbed up) ... I forgot about the part where you were propose to create a trellis by running (heavy) wires between posts and growing a vine on it. That's a workable idea IF the plants chosen are tolerant of heavy shade. Though I can't speak to the plants you've mentioned as possible contenders, I've used the same scheme with Clerodendron thomsoniae and it worked pretty well. However, the bloom was substantially cut compared to what the plant is otherwise capable of with more light. Another factor that you should consider is that your proposed plan (adding "ceiling" and "wall" created of plants) is that your yard will be dark, which will seem gloomy. Instead of combining these elements at the same location, you might consider growing the vine where you don't need high elevation screening and growing a screening tree/shrub where you wish to screen the neighboring buildings. Avocado and Loquat would probably not be the best choice for screening unless you were prepared to stringently control them with regular pruning. It seems like narrower plants would be better.

This post was edited by Yardvaark on Mon, Jun 3, 13 at 8:29

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 12:29AM
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zagyzebra

What about planting one or two podocarpus or pittosporum silver screens to block the two two-story monster structures and just letting them grow up like trees? We'll be sinking posts and running horizontal wires for vines for lower coverage. So we'll only need to block the upper story views.

Which do you think would be better: podocarpus or pittosporum? Or maybe one podocarpus in front of the house on the left in the picture, and one pittosporum in front of the house on the right? Can we just let them grow up like trees? Without trimming? I hope they won't block the light our avocado tree gets, and this is the reason we were originally thinking of planting a companion avocado tree. But privacy is more important to us than fruit. We can always buy avocados at the farmers market.

This is our fourth lot, and up in Laurel Canyon. It's a shady lot with partial sun, and the microclimate is a perfect blend of coastal marine and inland heat -- rarely too hot or too cold. If it gets more shady, that's okay with us. It's only one part of our yard, and the one farthest removed from the house. Eventually we would like to put in about a 300 sq ft home office/guest room for visitors, so we need to privatize the area now.

Also, what size plant would you start with? We want to get a head start on this, asap. And in the ground before November.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 4:36PM
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zagyzebra

What about planting one or two podocarpus or pittosporum silver screens to block the two two-story monster structures and just letting them grow up like trees? We'll be sinking posts and running horizontal wires for vines for lower coverage. So we'll only need to block the upper story views.

Which do you think would be better: podocarpus or pittosporum? Or maybe one podocarpus in front of the house on the left in the picture, and one pittosporum in front of the house on the right? Can we just let them grow up like trees? Without trimming? I hope they won't block the light our avocado tree gets, and this is the reason we were originally thinking of planting a companion avocado tree. But privacy is more important to us than fruit. We can always buy avocados at the farmers market.

This is our fourth lot, and up in Laurel Canyon. It's a shady lot with partial sun, and the microclimate is a perfect blend of coastal marine and inland heat -- rarely too hot or too cold. If it gets more shady, that's okay with us. It's only one part of our yard, and the one farthest removed from the house. Eventually we would like to put in about a 300 sq ft home office/guest room for visitors, so we need to privatize the area now.

Also, what size plant would you start with? We want to get a head start on this, asap. And in the ground before November.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 4:37PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

Which do you think would be better: podocarpus or pittosporum - Pittosporum will grow three times faster than podocarpus.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:28PM
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