Advice for a hot fishbowl backyard
Hi, I recently moved into a 60's ranch house in a very cool neighborhood of historic homes ranging from late 1800's to midcentury. I have been renovating both inside and out, and the backyard is challenging my skill set. I have a little skill with landscaping, have done great with previous homes but I've never had a yard like this. It is basically a rectangle surrounded on all three sides by other homes, and it is uphill in every direction from my house (I am also on a hill, the front of my house is beautiful and ambles down to a greenway across the road and then the river). There is zero privacy, especially on the north side, and in winter when the leaves fall I might as well not have a privacy fence at all. To top it off, the back has a W-SW exposure which means starting at about 1 pm it is sweltering out there.
I do ultimately plan to put a screen porch on the back where there is currently just a shadeless concrete pad. I need plenty of lawn as I have 3 dogs, but any ideas for making this a beautiful retreat with paths, plantings, PRIVACY and SHADE would be appreciated! I hate to just plant arborvitae or bamboo along the fence.