What to put here

stu2900July 27, 2013

We just had a weeping cherry tree removed from this planter, it had just become so overgrown it was blocking the steps on the sidewalk. The problem is, now I don't know what to put here. We're on this deck all the time. It was suggested to me not to put a tree or shrub here, but maybe a fountain of some type. There is power in that planter ,but I don't know if I like the idea, What I always liked about the weeping cherry tree was the sense of privacy it gave to the deck. I'd really love to hear some suggestions.

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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Because the other house is lower, you only need shrubs about 3-4 ft. tall for privacy. If it were me, I'd plant a mixed tableau of plants in a theme -- say a collection of white flowering plants, or a grey foliage garden. A small, ultra simple water feature would be nice tucked into the shrubs.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 5:15PM
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The lower building is a pole barn. I forgot to say the diameter of the planter is approx. 11'.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 6:22PM
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The planter lends it's self to showy display type planting. I would be inclined to put in a Bloodgood Japanese Maple, it has dark red leaves. Then have low growing spreading Junipers near the edges of the planter, possibly spilling over the edges, along with some flowering perennials, medium to short in height. You don't have to center the Maple in the planter, push it off towards the yard side so you don't run into the same problem you had with the cherry.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:03AM
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Is the pole barn rented out? If not, where is the need for a "sense of privacy" coming from?

We've had discussions here in the past on very real or perceived needs for privacy and enclosure and the desire to not feel "exposed" in our outdoor spaces. A very good one has long since dropped off page 67 and I couldn't retrieve it with several Googling attempts.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:34PM
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Frankly, the circular retaining wall plus the location/relationship with the house is saying to me that a small tree is an ideal solution. I also like the idea of a tree centered in that space -- as one would center a plant in a flower pot -- so that it looks intentional and highly organized. Many people have an uncovered deck next to the house, but your's has a roof over it. Don't you think that the roof adds immensely to the sense of shelter that you get in that space as opposed to how an open deck would be? I think it's a positive quality and a small tree in the adjacent space is nothing but adding on to that shelter. A tree is a ceiling and roof ... but "made" by nature so consequently of a different character. But it is the perfect character for transitioning from architecture to the natural world. I would put a small tree back.

It frustrates me a bit that there was no opportunity to provide advice as you were growing the cherry tree and maintaining it (or NOT maintaining it.) I'm going to guess that you might have been able to reshape the tree to something that would have worked, or that if you had cultivated it with a distinct purpose in mind, you could have created that beautiful natural shelter as an addition to your pavilion type deck. (I've never seen the tree so maybe there wasn't any hope at all!)

When someone says a tree gave them privacy, it brings up a lot of questions about this occurred. It is well known on this forum how low hanging tree limbs and branches rub me the wrong way. I generally see it as if people are trying to use them as screening ... like as in a wall. Rare would be the occasion where using branches in this way is the best way to provide such screening. If one wants screening in the 0-8' above ground level, shrubs generally do a much better job. However, if one really means that a tree gave them a SENSE of privacy without actually blocking any view, I can concur that there is a tremendous sense of privacy and a feeling of protection that is given by an overhead tree canopy. It seems rarely recognized that by placing something in shade while other things in the vicinity are in the sun, there is a great deal of concealment that occurs. Sometimes, an onlooking cannot even see what is in shade though it is right in front of their eyes with no barrier whatsoever between.

A multiple trunk tree -- such that the trunks form a "cage" -- imparts an even greater sense of privacy in that the trunks "filter-screen" the view without the need for additional foliage below the main canopy. It's what I would use here. It seems that the canopy could either be a dome or a turret shape.

This post was edited by Yardvaark on Sun, Jul 28, 13 at 13:55

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 1:42PM
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Maybe privacy wasn't the right word to use. When the cherry tree was there it just made everything seem more cozy. It also gave some shade for the lower deck. We also have to take into consideration the branches of the red maple tree are pretty close to the planter, so anything too tall will be growing into it.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 5:04PM
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May I ask what zone you live in?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 1:31AM
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It sounds like the tree was fulfilling your wishes and you enjoyed it, but it got too big. So search for a similar tree in dwarf form, or a tree that can be managed with easy pruning.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 10:55AM
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Sorry, zone 5. Central Illinois.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 4:46PM
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