What options between fence and city sidewalk?

silvercanadianJuly 13, 2011

We have a corner lot which. Front of house faces west with city street in front, neighbours on the north and east, then remaining side along city street faces south. The south side will have a fence from the back of the house to meet the south neighbour's rear fence. It will be 45' of fence. Between the fence (on our property line) and the city sidewalk, there will be about 9' of city property.

The common things to see in that area are plain grass or decorative rock. The biggest problems with plain grass is having to haul your mower outside of your yard to maintain it and people tend to let their dogs crap on it since you can't see them because of your fence. The problem with rock is little kids and animals tend to walk on it and scatter the rock all over the sidewalk and kick it onto the street.

The city does give us free trees and I will have them plant some along that side next year, likely 3 will be what they would put. So, whatever I put there needs to have the capability to house trees.

I was thinking maybe planting a bunch of junipers or some other low growing plant that animals wouldn't want to walk on and people wouldn't either. But then when winter comes and that area is covered in snow, anyone trampling through the snow there will be trampling my plants under the snow.

Anyone have any ideas?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a mass planting of peonies in an area somewhat similar to what you describe. They require very little care and disappear in the winter.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 7:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Those certainly look gorgeous in that neigbourhood with all the trees and with your arbor! Our house is modern styled and will have crushed rock and stone in other areas so not sure how a more traditional looking flower would look?

Do you find people walk on them at all? My fence will be a 6' privacy fence so it feels more like a wall to people, not as much like it's part of my yard like yours does.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My concern with the peonies is that they often become too top heavy when in flower, especially if it rains during the flowering period, and then for the rest of the summer they don't provide much other interest.

A common shrub used in these situations is Rosa rugosa, which is fairly inexpensive and quite low-maintenance. They flower quite reliably and would definitely deter anyone from cutting through. They also send up shoots through their roots to help establish a thick stand.

Another one I would recommend would be Rhus aromatica 'Gro-Low.'

- Audric

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 5:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the suggestions Audric. The Rhus aromatica seems to be a sumac? I'll have to investigate further but from what I understand the sumac is the cashew family to which my child has a deadly allergy. I can't say she would be allergic to the Rhus aromatica, but she is allergic to mangos and pistachios which are also in the Anacardiaceae, so I don't think we'd take the chance.

The Rosa Rugosa seems possible. I'm in zone 2b and it appears it is okay for that zone. I'll do some more googling on it tonight and see if anyone around here carries it.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 7:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not familiar with the potential allergic relation between cashews and sumac. It definitely doesn't hurt to err on the side of caution.

Zone 2b? Which province/territory are you in?

Some other options, then:

Cornus sericea - Red Twig Dogwood - nice winter bark colour (red, as the name suggests), although the shrub can be a little scraggly otherwise. It's nice to pair this with a shrub with a more compact form to provide some structure to the planting. You can also propagate this fairly easily from cuttings to bulk up the planting.

Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea' - Yellowtwig Dogwood - same as above, but yellow (again, as the name suggests)

Ribes alpinum - Alpine Current - hardy, tough, responds well to pruning, and all-around low maintenance. Used quite often for small hedges, but can be left untrimmed. Can travel if left to its own devices (low branches often set root if they come in contact with the ground).

- Audric

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 9:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ya, I'm not really sure about the allergic reaction either. All I know is that they are part of the same family and since she's allergic to 3 items, that we know of, in that family, we're erring on the side of caution. If her allergy wasn't deadly, we wouldn't worry about it.

I'm in Saskatchewan. I got the 2b from here, hopefully it's accurate.

We love dogwoods; great suggestion! We made a hedge border at our last place out of various dogwoods and ninebarks and loved it. The only issue we had is that the first couple of winters when they were still small, once the snow covered them, people trampled several of them. But, I'm thinking we could put up a small a short, temporary snow fence for the first couple winters until they are large enough to be noticeable. If we had somewhere else to pile the snow from shovelling the sidewalk, they wouldn't be as hidden by the snowbank!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 11:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

silvercanadian, you can also go to the Canadian government's hardiness zone map, which will let you zoom way in; it shows many more cities than the Veseys map, and also highways.

Click on the 2000 map here:

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 11:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks. I checked that map and it does indeed look like I am 2b.

My previously link didn't work, so here is the Vesey's map again for anyone that wants (although that Government map is more in depth) Vesey's zones

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 10:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
karinl(BC Z8)

Yah, holy cr#p, zone 2b - I'm not even going to try to talk specific plants! I too was thinking that deciduous shrubs would be your best option, and then you could put perennials under them.

But conceptually, we have easements like this in my whole neighbourhood. I think a key question is, what does the city actually do with this property? And on that basis, what are your options?

Our house is fairly far forward so our yard without the easement is tiny, plus there are all the disadvantages you mentioned of maintaining the space outside a fence (and our neighbourhood offers worse debris than dog poop). Plus no one has done anything with the easement in 100 years, so all the compromises POs have made could be seen as wasted! So, we built our fence extending out over the easement (kind of a hexagonal arrangement that my husband came up with).

We did this, and now garden there, with the understanding that the city could come by any day and bulldoze its way through the whole thing to, say, widen the road. In the interim, and that's been 20 years, we get a larger private yard. The fence has paid for itself in the value we get from it, and the city is welcome to come by and take it out any time :-)

Another option I've seen is that people have their proper fence separating off their property, and then another, sometimes smaller, fence boxing off the easement from their yard and the sidewalk, with a little gate that they use to go in and maintain it.

In other words, so it's city property. If it's yours to maintain, do what you have to do to make this manageable and to make the space a pleasure for you. When the city needs it, they'll come for it no matter what you do.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 1:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is different than an easement. It's not our property at all. It's called the city boulevard and is on pretty much everyone's lot in the entire city (I won't say every lot for sure as there are always some exceptions!). So, you can't fence there as it's not your property. If your fence wasn't on your property line, it would be easy to see based on other fences in the area and one call from a neighbour to complain means a letter from the city telling you to move it. This happened to a guy a few blocks away a couple years ago.

You can landscape it as you wish, according to the city, just no permanent structures like fences or buildings. Heck, you can put concrete on it if you wish though, as everyone's front driveway and walkway obviously is on the front city boulevard of their lot, or if you had a walkway coming up from the side into your backyard. One guy near us has a detached garage and has concreted the entire city boulevard beside his garage (about 7') and parks his utility trailer on it. Sometimes underground lines are run here, or this is where you'd find a fire hydrant, super mailbox (group mailboxes) or bus stop.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 5:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The fence is yours. They are doing damage to your property, You can charge them with vandalism. They must keep there dog under control on there property, It is not allowed on yours. Same for your dog. You are responsible to maintain the 2 foot. It belongs to you. Zoning were I live. You must put your fence 6 inch's in on your property line. Unless you have your neighbors permission to put it on the property line.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 6:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

donaldsmith, was your response intended for another thread?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 4:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bernd ny zone5

Silvercanadian, Your situation is not much different to any property. City or town owns land X number of ft from the center of the road. The area between road and my property is covered with grass which I mow. In case someone's dog, inspite of leash law and requirement to bag dog poop and carry it home, poops on that lawn, I throw that on the road where people walk for their future consideration.

Rosa rugosa, salt spray rose, is very hardy, you will have to prune it occasionally to keep it in shape. Peonies you can support with bamboo and strings or steel hoops during blooming. After bloom I cut spent flowers and the first upper leaves off, that keeps them neat until frost, when you need to remove all for winter.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 7:23PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Overwhelmed by new homes
I bought a new home just over a year ago in Northwest...
New construction landscaping
I am looking for any suggestions for low maintenance...
Help! My new front yard is UGLY! Any ideas appreciated!
Do I keep the stone flower bed edge? I was told it...
Landscaping ideas - Need help with suggestions of plants please
We would like to seek help in filling our concrete...
Sponsored Products
nuLOOM Hand-knotted Moroccan Trellis Natural Shag Wool Runner (2'8 x 10')
Kingsgate Cottage Bird House - White with Pine Shingle Roof
Signature Hardware
Trellises: Dura-Trel Winchester 8-ft. Vinyl Wall Trellis - Mocha
$115.28 | Hayneedle
Artisan Polished Copper Patio Torch with Medieval Wall Bracket - Polished Copper
Signature Hardware
Upper Bounce 12 ft. Trampoline Enclosure Net - Sleeves on Top - UBNET-12-2-ATS
$52.99 | Hayneedle
nuLOOM Handmade Fence Wool Rug (8' x 10')
Nickel Lattice Tall Square Ceramic Vases Set of 2
Searsport 1-lt Outdoor Post Mount
LBC Lighting
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™