landsacping ideas for increasing privacy of bedroom window

heftylefty58(ZONE 9)August 29, 2011

Hi, I'm in northern CA (zone 9), and I'm seeking landscaping ideas to increase privacy for my bedroom window. I'm not the best with words, so I'm hoping the below pics will help me better convey my situation.

My bedroom window is encircled in red:

Here's the view from within my bedroom (ie, facing north). As you can see, oncoming traffic points directly into my window:

A similar vantage point from outside my window:

During the evenings, the headlights from oncoming traffic really light up my room (despite my blinds/curtains being shut). I'm hoping some of you might be able to provide some landscaping ideas that will substantially reduce, or even eliminate, the bright headlights.

Previously, I had a big plant in front of the bedroom window, but ended up digging it out last winter b/c the roots were causing the pipes for my sprinkler valves to get contorted. (Because the water line to my house was so close, I didn't want to risk further damage.)

Initially, I was thinking about putting some sort of fast growing hedges or trees along this area:

An alternate view of the same area:

Notice the water main, as well as the light pole, is in that area. Not sure if this reduces my options to pretty much nothing?

Any ideas/feedback greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your time.

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karinl(BC Z8)

I don't think this needs to be too complicated; but you will probably be most successful if you utilize your lawn area instead of trying to plant either at the house or at the street.

I would suggest a small island bed with a grouping of shrubs in it, likely best to make them all fairly dense conifers, but for variety you might incorporate a Japanese maple or something. Perhaps in your zone there is even an evergreen tree type of plant that puts the mass up higher where it looks like you most need it.

The advantage of putting in a few plants rather than just one is that you can select plants with different growth rates, and when the fastest/biggest gets too big, you take it out but aren't left fully exposed. Then you plant a new little thing in the gap while the others take a shift. If you layer the plantings a bit, then the blocking and staggering of removal times works even better.

I would visit a local nursery and study plant tags to look for plants that meet your needs that you like, but I think the key is to plant in the lawn area. If this is where your water main runs, all the more reason to plant several plants and keep them all smaller than one honking big tree.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 1:03AM
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a whatever vine on a whatever trellis

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 1:58AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

A smaller sized dense evergreen flowering tree planted closer to the street would do it, such as Nerium oleander, Rhus lancia, Tristania laurina, Raphiolepis 'Majestic Beauty', Eriobotrya deflexa, or Callistemon viminalis might be worth looking into. Any of these are sufficiently dense growth but relatively small trees in the 12to 15 foot height range that would block oncoming headlight glare.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 2:28AM
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I'm with karin, whatever you do I think it should be part of the whole garden rather than a stand alone piece. For instance to get the effect yardviser is going for the overall effect would be more pleasing if the trellis was part of something that was set at an angle rather than straight across. You may also want to think about balance as it could get a bit lopsided if you are not careful. Another thought is that you will have to look at this 'screen' whatever you choose so you would be better off with something that has a back and a front.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 9:44AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

An advantage of putting the whatever-it-will-be farther from the window is that the bedroom will be brighter during the day.

Also, right next to the house you currently have that Japanese maple (?).

And since this is the north side of the house, if you decide to put something right next to the house, you'd be limited to plants that are happy with a considerable amount of shade.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 10:20AM
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rosiew(8 GA)

I really like yardviser's idea of a trellis out near the street. Hopefully bahia can suggest plants that will give you good screening.

With screening you'll be able to have windows open when you wish.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 11:08AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

If that front planting bed was simply extended three feet into the lawn with the same sort of curve, one of the small trees I've suggested could easily be placed just two feet back from the street light pole. This would block the headlight glare while preserving sunlight up against the house. A weeping form such as the evergreen Bottlebrush/Callistemon viminalis or C. citrinus would give the best blockage over time, as the hanging foliage can be trimmed at whatever height you want to do, and won't ever be lost over time as more upright structured branches might.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 12:12PM
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heftylefty58(ZONE 9)

Wow--such fantastic feedback; I really appreciate all of the ideas! At this point, I guess I'm LEAST likely to put anything close to my bedroom window for a couple reasons:
1) the shade concerns that missingtheobvious pointed out, and
2) the risk of future damage to my water pipes

In case this helps, here's a pic showing a red line where I think the water main runs, as well as a red area where my sprinkler pipes got previously mangled up by the roots of a large plant previously located there.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 4:32PM
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Wow! it's a while since I've seen anything quite as phallic as that. What with push up bra's and all this forum is becoming rather risque.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 6:08PM
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Yup, that TOTALLY screws up any plan for a tree close to the curb side...or anywhere within the sight line of your bedroom window. What about a good old fashioned awning?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 6:13PM
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LOL ink. I have been trying to tell you all that landscaping can be quite racy. ;) especially since we are discussing privacy for the bedroom -

Hefty - follow Bahia's advice.

And just one further comment - It is truly interesting that a person would forget to mention a water main under the entirety of the potential planting area until this point in the discussion.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 7:26PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Drtygrl, the OP did mention the water main in the OP, right at the end - and it was one of the reasons for the solution I suggested. Bahia may not have seen it though... so I was going to ask whether the water main would be a contraindication for the weeping tree. However, I think the weeping tree is genius anyway because the canopy can be trained to be a fair distance from the trunk.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 12:49PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Previously, I had a big plant in front of the bedroom window, but ended up digging it out last winter b/c the roots were causing the pipes for my sprinkler valves to get contorted. (Because the water line to my house was so close, I didn't want to risk further damage.)

What about the tree that looks like it's about 9 inches from the wall, probably bumping or rubbing the roof? If a plant caused a problem, a big tree 18 inches farther away will probably present the same issue.

I liked the trellis idea. One with a "v" shape, with the point pointing at the road could block all vehicle and most pedestrian view. Agree with how the suggestion pic showed a white one, to match the house trims and fence. It would also make the bench much more private.

A few large potted plants might be something you could use for the immediate future until you decide or while waiting for something to grow.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 3:50PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Setbacks for tree planting away from underground utility lines can be as little as 3 ft off the line for street trees,although more distance is always better if you have the room. A root barrier installed on one side of any new tree parallel to the water mainline should provide adequate insurance against damage. A freestanding fence/trellis at this location could work if well integrated into an overall redesigned landscape setting, but by itself as proposed here would be about as subtle as disgu@ising a pimple on the forehead as a bandaid in my opinion.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 5:11PM
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"a whatever vine on a whatever trellis" means it's only a scheme (as are all the sketch suggestions I've posted.) It's not a finished, detailed plan & specs. It's just the offer of an idea that a homeowner might not have thought. If it interests them at all, they can look into possible vines and figure out the exact size and kind of trellis they might like. Maybe they want to make it out of 3 bamboo poles, twine and a package of morning glory seeds for $10. Maybe they would want Doric stone columns imported from Italy for a couple thousand dollars. I don't know, but I'm sure they can figure it out. Even though I'm showing it at a backdrop to their already existing streetside bed, I'm sure they can figure out where exactly they want it. Based on the picture, it looks like they know something about plants. An advantage to using a vine on a trellis is that with a little cleverness on their part (put some kind of temporary panel on the back of it) they could have it installed and the light blocked this Saturday.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 11:50PM
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Thanks Karin- I guess I didn't read it carefully enough

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 7:10AM
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Yardviser, you depictions are fine.

I liked the one you did of my space in my older thread about my new tropical landscape design challenge - the pics are what they are.

From your profile you're a recent member, so search on the topic of photo mock ups. You'll see that comments about photoshopping etc. are routinely posted.

A lot of people don't like to post their stuff here for various reasons, but for those that do it is appreciated, as it makes it easier to see what the point is without lots of deathly and potentially mis-leading prose.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 8:53AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

This could be a perfect situation for a "dentist garden" as described in another thread. Perhaps 8 ft. from the window, build a wood fence section with spaced slats to the height of 2/3 of the window, paint it white, and grow some jasmine on it. Inside the fence, grow the most delicate and colorful shade plants you can find, whatever will make a nice view for you inside the fence.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 10:36PM
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