Screening suggestions

cookncarpenterJuly 23, 2013

The single story ranch house next door was recently torn down, and is being replaced by a much larger home built to the maximum setback limits. The good news is this is on our North side, and does not affect our view or exposure to the South (ocean side). Also, our side driveway to our detached garage gives us a bit of a buffer zone from the new overwhelming structure. The new neighbors said they plan to build a block wall which will be approximately where the blue construction fence is now. Their lot sits about two feet above ours, and there is an existing retaining wall along the property line. I would like to screen the wall to soften the feel along our driveway. There is currently Indian Hawthorne, and Rosemary along the wall, but I would like something taller. There is one small Arbutus back about 3/4 of the way to the garage. How about adding more of those? I also was thinking about Austrailian Willows? Or maybe Icee Blue Podocarpus? Any thoughts or other suggestions?

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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

If the wall is going to be stucco'ed a dark brown color the Podocarpus blue ice will look stunning against it.
This podocarpus isn't as dense as the regular gracillimus but it still has good, albeit slow growing screening capabilities.

I love the Australian willow Agonis reflex. "jervis bay after dark". It looks great against a lighter toned fence or wall and is especially beautiful when paired with other aussies such as Anigozanthos, phormiums, cordylines, succulents and some of the shrubby leucadendrons, leucospermums and grevilleas.

attached is a photo showing Agonis , miscanthus , leucadendron jester, yucca color guard and anigozanthos combo.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 5:05PM
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Thanks! The slow growth of the Podocarpus has me a bit concerned, I'm semi-retired, an empty nester, and home a lot and don't want to wait for the long term screening affect ;). Here is our existing front landscape in context.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 6:33PM
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Here is the skinny trunked, 9ft. tall Arbutus. Can I work with it? Would rather not take it out if I didn't have to...

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 6:40PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

definitely, the arbutus is workable .
About 5 years ago I planted 4 in a row to create a screen between two ocean side homes and they have performed very satisfactory.

It is one of my favorite trees for California. They make a beautiful screen.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 6:58PM
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Do you remember about how far apart those Arbutus are planted?
They look like the multi trunk type, perhaps I would need the single trunk type for a more slender, upright, and not so sprawling look?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 11:02PM
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modern_miss(10A (15 Sunset) SF Bay Area CA)

Arbutus are great - they can grow very tall eventually - 3 stories is the largest i've seen. You might also want to check out Myrica Californica (super fast growing native - it grows like a weed in my yard - i keep it untrimmed in my yard but you can make a hedge out of it). My neighbors have a Myrica hedge that's about 2 stories tall and it's angular/flat because they trim it. How about European Hornbeam, columnar - will grow straight and tall and you can make a hedge out of them by bunching them together. There are other Hornbeam varieties that aren't so column-like...And finally, this is a totally crazy idea, not sure where in California you are but how about a redwood hedge? Nothing grows faster but it would require maintenance (topping trees, cutting or otherwise containing roots) - but my neighbor installed one and so far so would eventually (probably quickly) block your neighbor's view out of their 2nd story windows...there's a you tube video describing how to create and maintain one.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 10:50AM
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Thanks modern for the additional ideas. The fast growing aspect of the Myrica is tempting, I will look into them. The Hornbeam however, is not suitable for my beach location according to the Sunset guide. I really don't want to block the neighbors view of the ocean above our house, which I'm sure is a main reason for them building so tall! I would like to stay neighborly, and just screen or soften the new wall, which if 6ft. on their property, will appear 8ft. tall from our side. I will wait until all the wall/fence is complete before making a final decision, so quick growing is a plus...

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 2:09PM
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I suggest the tallest Nandina you can buy. In my experience they are fast growers even though sites call them "slow growing"

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 3:28PM
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That Nandina looks interesting too, but maybe a bit bushy? I guess I should nave added that my planting strip is a little less than three feet wide, so I need to keep whatever I end up with from bulging too far into our driveway for clearance from our cars...

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 3:48PM
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