Backyard Privacy - need some creative help

kathyt812(6)July 10, 2008

My husband and I recently purchase our home and now we are in desperate need of some backyard privacy. The picture was taken from my patio looking into my neighbors yard and house. The two bushes that are stand are rose of sharon and I would like to at least keep the largest one (on the left). I thought about planting some tall ornamental grass along with a mixture of other things but really I am at a loss. I don't know where to begin or what to put in the ground. I would be so grateful for some suggestions.

Here is a link that might be useful:

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saypoint(6b CT)

No link

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 9:17PM
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I'm sorry. I guess I don't know how to put a picture on this forum.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 9:30PM
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I think it's easiest to put photos on and then they can be uploaded into your post. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 9:36PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

If you are in desperate need in the short term (that is, for this season) you should consider building something; a fence or a lattice screen for example. You might find an annual vine that will put some coverage on it in this season, but a structure is the only route to immediate gratification.

Your other short term option is to buy a big plant, but this is the most risky time of year to plant something, especially something big. You would have to really water carefully.

To post a photo, open an account on photobucket and copy the HTML line into the body of your post here. If you can't do that, tell us a bit more about how much space is involved.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 10:32PM
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Here is a link to a picture of my backyard. Thanks for the help maureeninmd!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 3:21AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

If it were my yard, I'd plant a mixed shrub border of large shrubs that might include Viburnums, Buddleia alternifolia, Physocarpus 'Diablo', Magnolia stellata, etc. and a couple of large evergreens (Skip Laurel??) that would be hardy in your zone. For best results, smaller shrubs should be planted in front of the large ones. With careful choice, you could have considerable privacy in 3 years, and by 5 years, almost total. BTW, kill the grass and keep it well mulched for best growth.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 5:44AM
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saypoint(6b CT)

To get some ideas, try your library for gardening and design books, or magazines with pictures of shrub borders, and see if you can pin down what look you like, how much time you want to spend on planning and design, and how much time you want to spend on maintenance and waiting for the plants to reach a size that will screen out the neighbors. Most grasses won't get tall enough, I think, to block the windows of the house next door.

A hedge of all one kind of plant is easy to plan and plant, and depending on whether it needs trimming or can be left natural, maintenance will vary. If you need privacy in summer only, you can use a deciduous shrub, and one that flowers will give you a bonus in spring or summer. A mixed planting is more interesting to look at, but requires more planning and thought, as well as more space. It will look best if there is a mix of large and small shrubs layered with the smaller in the front, and a mix of textures, meaning large leaves and small. Mixing evergreen and deciduous shrubs will add interest, as will including a few plants that are interesting in winter. Colorful berries, evergreen foliage, colorful bark, etc.

It depends on how involved you want to get in designing a planting. If you take your time and put some thought into it, you could end up with something that is beautiful to look at while it gives you privacy.

Tour a local nursery with a notebook and ask questions. Take notes about plants that will do well in your location, which appears to be at least partly shaded for part of the day. You might want to observe the site for how long it's sunny and how long it's shaded so you choose appropriately. 6 hours or more is considered full sun.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 8:48AM
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If you want quick growing, (some think out of control growth) and have the room for it, I would plant eleagnus. Many folks hate it but it has a wonderful fragrance (imho), you can plant small plants and get great quick growth that can grow and arch up to 8 feet tall.

The long spindly stems of new growth are fabulous in big flower arrangements (find a local florist/floral designer and make friends with them...offer them all your cuttings!.

I think it is prettiest when left un-scalped and in its more natural mounding form. And I'm talking BIG mounds. Though it can be severely pruned into square shapes, but that takes continuous maintenance.

If you buy the smaller sizes, you can plant more of them, staggered front to back, and have a complete privacy hedge.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 11:05AM
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petzold6596(8b southern NM)

Eleagnus, russian olive, is invasive. They are messy, the thorns are long, and they create a real problem when cutting grass under them.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 12:56PM
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There are different varieties of eleagnus. The one in the link below is what I found that was called Russian Olive.
It is NOT what I was talking about.

In our area (Alabama) we normally see eleaganus x ebbingei, a LARGE shrub that you would not mow under.

Here is a link that might be useful: Russian olive

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 7:39AM
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