Hedge / Flower Bed Design

mudgodJuly 27, 2012


I have a SFH on a corner lot that I want to place a privacy hedge around (front yard). My local nursery recommended that I use Schip Laurels. How far off center should I plant these. I was told that they grow to 6' wide but that can take 5+ years so to plant them closer (3-4'). Any advice on that? Also from a growth rate perspective how big should I get them ($$$), i.e. how long do small ones take to grow

I'm planning on letting them grow to full height (6-8') on the front and where the two roads meet trim them to closer to 4'

The house is off center so I wanted to create

1) a flower bed on the larger (left) side to create a semblance of balance

2) flower beds where the hedge and walkway met (dash of color)

3) Lighting behind the hedge to light up the walkway

4) I have 2 trees (Maples I believe?) and was thinking of adding some more trees on the open/left side of the yard to provide balance.

I'm attaching a few pictures of the front and a very rough mspaint diagram of what I'm thinking.

I'd appreciate any and all advice (first time doing anything like this).

Also regarding the walkway , flagstaff, brick just random stone with grass in between (so that the yard doesn't look divided)?

Thanks a bunch :)

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Sorry one more question. I know I should plant it later on when it's cooler (have 90's/100's) but they're usually around a 100 a plant for 7 gallon and one of the local nurseries has a sale where I can get them for closer to half price. If I water them regularly how bad of an idea is it to plant now?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 11:03PM
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It looks to me like you have maples, probably red maples, in front of your house now. They are trees with dense shallow root systems that IME will be difficult to establish a good looking hedge under. Digging the holes for a series of 7 gallon plants will be quite difficult so close to your trees and may well damage the maples. Due to differences in shade and root competition across the property, the hedge will not grow evenly and some of your plants may not survive. While I like plants, in this case, you might want to consider a fence instead for privacy.

Another thing to check out before you go any further with this project is what type of setback your community requires for sight lines at the corner.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 8:21AM
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Your post does not state the purpose of your proposal. Why are you placing a privacy hedge around the front yard? How will the yard be used once it becomes private? Your picture doesn't show the overhead tree canopy itself, but my guess is that the shade might produce a Schip hedge that looks partially anemic. Most hedge plants are spaced in the 30" to 36" range; 36" would work find for Schips. Placing a hedge around the yard may produce a dark pall at the shaded portion and make it difficult or impossible to grow grass. What I'm getting at is, is this project thought through to its 10-year-down-the-road conclusion? Because a hedge is linear, it's pretty easy to rig up a temporary (3-month) watering solution that is semi or fully automatic. Walkways that are random, hard elements with grass in between might be pretty in pictures, but they will be a pain to maintain, mow around, walk on. If it's just for looks that's one thing, but as a utilitarian front walkway--if people were actually supposed to use it--it would be highly undesirable. It would be better to relegate such a path to the side or back yard for private use. Flower beds that are next to hedges (or trees) are plagued with continuously invading woody roots. It's best if these beds are devoted to perennials, which usually means LESS seasonal color than if it were annuals, if that makes a difference.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 11:53AM
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My concern is that I'm on a corner lot and have zero privacy (Hanging outside reading, sunbathing, I want to put in a hottub sometime in the future etc).
The house is set back enough that I went with the traditional fence until the front of the house my yard would be split with the majority being in the front, kinda defeating the point of having a yard.
The primary purpose is to have privacy on the side of the house (where the majority of the yard is). If there was a way to put a hedge there w/o it looking completely unbalanced I'd be happy to do so. Start off w/a hedge on the left and transition it somehow? Sorry if it sounds like I'm rambling, first time I'm doing anything remotely like this and having trouble visualizing a good solution

There is no guidelines for hedges though for fences it's 4 feet which is why not much point of a fence for privacy.
Good point about the walkway, will just got for a solid one (brick or flagstone). Also regarding perennials are you saying that because they'd get the chance to develop a good root system over time which annuals wouldn't resulting in losing the competition against the trees.
Also the right side of the house (from the entrance on is pretty shady) , grass grows reasonably well but it never really gets full sunlight
Thanks for all the advice :)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 8:27PM
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What I'm saying about color beds next to hedges is that the roots of the hedge plants (which will be just like tree roots) will constantly and rapidly invade the color bed. With needing to replace annuals one or two times a year, it's a pain to regularly fight with the invading roots. very tough perennials won't mind the roots so you can leave them alone for several years. (This suggests that one does not use a perennial which needs dividing and re-setting often. It needs to be something tough and undemanding.)

If you need privacy at the side yard, it is not necessary to make the whole front yard private, too. I wouldn't worry in the least about its looking "unbalanced" because of a hedge at only a portion of the yard. It's a common condition and does not read as "unbalanced. (When you say "side" I presume you mean at the left...?) Seeing that you have more issues to solve than just privacy, I'd expand my thinking to deal with some of those, too. For example, wouldn't it be nice to screen the side wall of house(s) at the left side? A hedge as you propose requires regular trimming maintenance. In order to scale that work back a little, you might consider a more informal untrimmed type of hedge at the left property line where you have room, then transition to a more formal type hedge in the vicinity of the house. One thing I don't care for in your proposed scheme is that the front of the house is cut off from the street view when it seems like you're trying to resolve an issue in another part of the yard. The front of the house looks like it would rather be featured than hidden. I'm not addressing the right half of the front as it looks like more information is needed and/or refinement of the scheme.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 1:18PM
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