Solutions for the Fish-Bowl Effect?

lac_la_belle_stSeptember 17, 2010

Fence & Hedge (formal or informal)

We moved into a home last year with no back yard, it is a corner lot on a moderately traveled city street; I�d love to hear your suggestions for creating a zone of privacy without completely turning our back on the neighborhood or obscuring the front of the house.

Our plans include installing a picket fence along the perimeter of the lot, it is limited to 4 ft in the front and side yards and must be 50% opaque or less, in the back we may erect a 6 ft 100% opaque fence. The pickets will be cut to mirror the rake of the roof on the gable ends, the stain will be opaque, probably to coordinate with the burlap green paint on the house siding paint.

The fence/hedge must keep in our two dogs, a 60 lb. Weimaraner and a 30 lb. Sheba Inu mix, both accomplished escape artists. We would have installed the fence once we moved in if the city hadn't required a temporary easement for repaving our street, replacing underground utilities and replacing our sidewalks. The pups have been limited to a 40' x 8' dog run behind the house.

House closing pic:

[URL=http://img843.imageshack.us/i/0509houseinspection29.jpg/][IMG]http://img843.imageshack.us/img843/9594/0509houseinspection29.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

Here are photos taken this spring:

[URL=http://img810.imageshack.us/i/726views070.jpg/][IMG]http://img810.imageshack.us/img810/7945/726views070.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

Front yard from driveway, facing east

[URL=http://img228.imageshack.us/i/726views071.jpg/][IMG]http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/9168/726views071.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

Uploaded with [URL=http://imageshack.us]ImageShack.us[/URL]

Panoramic photos from:

Front door facing south, panning east to west

[URL=http://img695.imageshack.us/i/726southporchpano.jpg/][IMG]http://img695.imageshack.us/img695/173/726southporchpano.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

Corner of front yard facing northwest

[URL=http://img691.imageshack.us/i/726southeastlotcornerpa.jpg/][IMG]http://img691.imageshack.us/img691/8944/726southeastlotcornerpa.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

Southeast house corner

[URL=http://img256.imageshack.us/i/726southeasthousecorner.jpg/][IMG]http://img256.imageshack.us/img256/3484/726southeasthousecorner.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

Uploaded with [URL=http://imageshack.us]ImageShack.us[/URL]

Here is a plat of survey with dimensions:

[URL=http://img202.imageshack.us/i/726yardlargewebview.jpg/][IMG]http://img202.imageshack.us/img202/391/726yardlargewebview.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

We need more privacy in the west yard. The west side yard is next to a church/school parking lot so we�d like a dining patio there that would continue behind the house; as it would be under a large ash tree, a concrete or brick patio is inadvisable, I�m leaning toward something larger than pea gravel that won�t be tracked into the house but yet isn�t awkward to walk on.

As the neighborhood is very friendly with may dog walkers, we'd like to put a more open patio in the east yard, perhaps with a pergola.

My wife is partial to privets but I am concerned about maintenance requirements and the fact that they are both boring and ubiquitous. I�d like something evergreen or dense to obscure ugly houses and traffic.

Any ideas or suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated!

Ted

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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Workable links for the OP's photos:

House closing pic:
http://img843.imageshack.us/i/0509houseinspection29.jpg/

Here are photos taken this spring:
http://img810.imageshack.us/i/726views070.jpg/

Front yard from driveway, facing east
http://img228.imageshack.us/i/726views071.jpg/

Panoramic photos from:
Front door facing south, panning east to west
http://img695.imageshack.us/i/726southporchpano.jpg/

Corner of front yard facing northwest
http://img691.imageshack.us/i/726southeastlotcornerpa.jpg/

Southeast house corner
http://img256.imageshack.us/i/726southeasthousecorner.jpg/

Here is a plat of survey with dimensions:
http://img202.imageshack.us/i/726yardlargewebview.jpg/

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 3:40PM
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lac_la_belle_st

missing the obvious

whoops,

thanks, Ted

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 5:05PM
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reyesuela(z7a)

1. Replace the foundation planting with pretty much the exact same thing. The shrubs on the right looking in great shape. Those on the left might have justified replacement, but the design and scale were fine. Unless you are a dedicated gardener, taking them out was a mistake.

2. Forget fencing in front of the house. Fencing can extend from the front right corner of the house to the street and along the lot line to the back, and it can extend from the left corner of the house parallel with the house facade. Anything more is too much and unfriendly.

Honestly, I'd take both the fences just from the corner of the houses parallel with the front straight across and only fence the sides behind the facade of the house for the minimum of weirdness.

Then, because you're only allowed 50% opacity, I'd definitely plant an evergreen screen, and I'd even take it all the way around the curve of the point on the right--just one big line of arborvitae, skyrocket juniper, or similar.

But you indicated that's the side you want more openness on, so I'd keep it opaque for the length of the fence and the alternate it with mid-height juniper (4' or so). That way, there'd be enough height so the pergola wouldn't look weird.

Personally, with the architecture of the house and the neighborhood, I'd keep the whole front totally open, but you could, possibly do a low hedge across the front. I don't like the idea, though. (I've recommended it on older, more formal houses because I've seen it look amazing, but not on that architecture.) Any sitting areas, etc., should be kept away from the front of the house, too.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 2:14AM
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lehua49

lb st,

You would have to obtain a permit and keep the sight distance of the two streets in tact but I would build a nice stucco wall 6 feet high with a 2" thick tile cap. A black wrought-iron gate(could be automatic with garage opener) for the driveway. This would lessen the street noise and be a backdrop for some very nice landscaping inside the yard. The sight distance area could be done very nicely with low plantings. Use pilasters or wall gaps with wood trim to break up the long length of the wall and let pedestrians get a glimpse of the nice landscaping inside or poking out(mystery). A paver tile driveway would add interest as well improve the appearance and decrease maintenance problems. JMHO Aloha

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 10:32AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

I am not a pro, and I know very little about dogs. I'm assuming you need a lot of fenced space for the dogs.

How would it be to begin the fence at the pillar on the front porch? Run it straight out to the street (parallel to the driveway) and then around the corner. That would give you quite a bit of fenced yard, yet leave the area by the house open so the house wouldn't look quite so unwelcoming to passers-by.

If the change from fence-and-hedge on the right to unfenced-lawn by the driveway is too stark, you could extend the picket fence (but not the hedge) to the driveway (or perhaps almost to the driveway). Make that fence lower than the fence on the right. The two parts of the yard would be unified by the fence.

Another consideration in not fencing along the driveway is space needed for people getting out of cars, car doors open wide, and piles of winter snow. You could give the west side of the driveway the same treatment as the east side (fence along the sidewalk, but probably with a hedge for privacy, and no fence along the driveway). However, the lack of a continuous fence there would make it a no-dog area, which might not fit in with your plans.

I think a really tall hedge would look too unfriendly. But I like reyesuela's idea of having occasional taller shrubs in the hedge; perhaps even a very small tree or two. Makes it seem less like a Wall and more like landscape maybe.

Re. the west patio, do you know if your dogs would be likely to view a patch of gravel as an invitation to dig? You can bypass that possibility as well as the instability of loose rock by building a deck a single step above the ground.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 1:29PM
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