Ocean front cottage needing landscape ideas

dannytomJune 30, 2006

Hi All

I am posting more pictures of a lovely cottage on Massachusetts coast. We have just put on the deck and now are focusing on landscape.

We have wonderful neighbors but an ugly wall of their cottage.

What I need advice on is the wall. How can I reduce it's impact?

How about the front?

I am leaning toward rose hedge..red fairy.

I was thinking hydranga at first. Any thoughts?


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Danny, in terms of landscaping, I don't think there is much to be done with that narrow corridor. First of all, anything you put in will be partially on your land, partially on theirs; plus anything added will make lawn mowing a royal pain. Then of course, there is the issue of the slope and the lack of light.

I think some nice shades that let in whatever light that is there to come through would be the best option. I'm sure you would find something that is perfect for you at Smith and Noble...or least be inspired.


Here is a link that might be useful: Smith and Noble

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 9:39AM
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Thanks Patty for the helpful honest answer.
We know our neighbors pretty well do you think I could ask to wood slat the cement blocks, at my cost. Or is that being rude?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 11:29AM
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Danny, in my opinion an "offer" to make alterations to someone else's home would be impolite. Wood slats on cinder block may also create a moisture issue that I'm sure your neighbors would not welcome. In any case, I'm not sure that anything would improve your view from those windows terrifically. No matter what you do outside the house you can't change it that much.

Go back a step and think about when you are looking out those windows. I see a small bureau..is it a bedroom? Or a living room? In either case I don't suppose those are windows where you would sit and gaze given the view you have elsewhere. So, these windows serve what purpose...to let in light and air and that is probably all. In that case go with the attractive blinds.

Think about it this way; anything you plant would have to be tall and thin and grow quickly and there can't be too much variety...and then what will you be looking at? A wall of greenery a foot or so away from the windows, claustrophia-inducing and not much better, maybe worse?, than what you have now, plus you have the expensive and the maintenance and all that.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 11:55AM
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saypoint(6b CT)

If you're determined to block the view of the neighbor's foundation, a free standing trellis with large openings, not lattice, with vines growing on them might work.

P.Allen Smith did a privacy screen of a homemade trellis made of wood. He set the trellis "legs" into two large pots and poured a few inches of concrete into the bottom (put a stick through the drainage hole to keep it open). The pots were several feet apart, if I recall. When the concrete is dried, you fill with soil and plant vines in the pots. I think the instructions for making them were in his book Your Garden Home. They're actually portable (I guess you'd need two people, one for each pot, and you could put them away for the winter. A series of these, strategically placed, could be a solution.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 2:08PM
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Is this a year 'round home? And, how much of a 'wind tunnel' effect is there between the two houses during the winter months?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 3:22PM
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Thanks for the advice
This is a summer home and the bureau is in a 3 season porch that switches to a screened in porch.
I agree no matter how I phrase the wood slat suggestion to my neighbors, it is impolite.
If you look at the picture of the front of the house can you suggest plantings for the front of the house and maybe something to break up the cement wall.
Maybe it is an impossible task?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 6:43PM
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Have you invited your neighbors for over for a drink and seated them so they faced the foundation wall? Might inspire them to think about a bit a camouflage. In the real world this probably will not happen. The opaque type shades hung so they roll from bottom to top of windows might be the easiest solution. That way you could leave them open near the top which would reduce that 'closed in' feeling.

Front yard planting, summer cottage against the ocean. Hills of Snow hydrangea billowing on each side of steps would work. Or, Beach plums planted along the sides of deck fronted with a heavy planting of the red Fairy rose might be another choice.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 1:41PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

The trellis idea applied right to your house might also be an option. You could put lattice on your house, beside and above your window, and the vine would droop down and frame the window. Or, you could grow a narrow tree or one pruned to a fan shape right against your house if you think you'd prefer to see foliage up close than cinderblock. But really, I'd just live with it; not like you don't have enough else to look at. Maybe sometime if you have them over for tea they will notice how their wall looks from your side. Mind you, they might like it since it's so clean and tidy looking.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 1:50PM
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flowermum(South Z7)

Hi Danny,

Your home is absolutely beautiful. What a blessing to live in such a beautiful place!

Have you considered stained glass windows? I did a little research and the choices are virtually unlimited, as well as color selections. The price point varies greatly and I'm sure you would find something just right for you.

I feel stained glass would help to make an unsightly view into something absolutely magnificent.

I think hydrangeas would be stunning as nandina suggested. However, I envision blue hydrangeas.

Hope this was helpful
: )

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 2:15PM
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flowermum(South Z7)

I forgot to mention another suggestion:

How about some beautiful soft billowy sheers to mount over each window? They could be opaque enough to blurr the view of the cement wall, but still allow light in and even a breeze when you have the screens in.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 2:34PM
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Stay away from Smith and Noble. Stay far, far away.

I ordered 6 shades. I paid Smith and Noble to come measure. When the shades arrived, 5 of the 6 were about 1/4 to 1/2 inch too wide for the windows. I asked to return the shades to get my money back. Turns out their "satisfaction guarantee pledge" means that they won't give you your money back, no matter what.

They insist on coming back to re-measure, but a) I can't take time off from work again for this, and b) why would I want to run the risk of further screw ups and hassle?

Their customer service staff come across as Soviet-style bureaucrats. Evidently, Smith and Noble could care less about disappointing their customers and engendering ill will.

I guess my next steps are to file complaints with the BBB and my state's attorney general, as well as dispute the original charge with my credit card company. I'll probably send the shades back to the company's president for good measure.

Keep in mind that Smith and Noble's "partner sites" (i.e. sister companies) include Ballard Designs, Grandin Road, Garnet Hill, TravelSmith, Frontgate, and others. You can rest assured that I won't be giving any of them my business in the future either.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 2:54PM
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Stay away. Stay far, far away from believing anything posted by user "yoyodyne". This person registered on October 20, 2008 and proceeded to post the exact same copy-and-paste response about Smith and Noble on no fewer than six different discussion threads. Something's fishy. Sounds like a Smith and Noble competitor to me...

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 5:21PM
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