Low hedges that act like a fence?

wench1053September 22, 2010

For my first posting here at the garden web, I have a challenge for y'all!

We just bought our first house, and our landscaping budget is limited. We are on a pond, however, with about a 20' property line, and have two small children whose toys and bodies need to be kept out of the pond.

I was thinking, instead of a fence, of planting some kind of low hedge or even just bushy, tree-ish things to set a border for the kids as well as (hopefully) prevent most stray balls and toys from going down the slope and into the pond.

I am a total non-gardener and don't want to have to do much weeding and very little maintenance, other than watering, of course, feeding from time to time if necessary, and trimming a couple of times a year.

I am also petrified of and allergic to bees and would prefer not to have anything that flowers.

We live 20 minutes inland from Myrtle Beach, and our soil is very sandy and clay-ish. The weather VERY rarely gets below freezing but can be 90 and humid for weeks on end.

We have a fantastic view of the pond from our living room windows and our patio that I don't want to obscure.

This will be the first step in our slow landscaping plans that involve mostly trees, hardscaping, and patios.

So what do you think I should plant?


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It maybe work planting conifer and juniper densely.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 5:20PM
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sleepy33(5b KS)

How old are the children that we're talking about? IMHO, if part of what you are wanting to do is keep 'bodies' out of the pond, that says to me you want a physical barrier, at least in part, for the children's safety, and to me that means you need a fence. Shrubs aren't going to keep kids out of anything, unless they have thorns, and even then... My suggestion would be to do a fence first, then plant something in front of it. Pricewise, shrubs can be expensive, and you might actually spend less on fencing. You can do some nice things with a wire mesh fence that won't obstruct your view much, and they are easy to DIY.

If the kids are a bit older and you're really not as concerned with the safety aspect, you may want to describe the amount of sun that the area gets to help with plant suggestion; ie is the area shaded by trees or the house, or is it full sun all day.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 9:07PM
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saypoint(6b CT)

Your children's safety trumps your view or aesthetic considerations, IMO. I have three little dogs to contain, and installed a very cost-effective welded wire fence purchased at the local hardware supply. I used the metal fence posts that you drive in for most of the perimeter, with 4x4 treated posts at corners and gates. The entire thing was installed tucked into existing shrub borders, where it is virtually invisible. As the shrubs fill in around it, and additional shrubs and vines are planted, it will be completely obscured. Gates are homemade from clear pine and left to weather. When they start to rot out, I'll replace them with custom gates if it looks like we'll be staying here for a while.

The fence starts at the garage, runs between the flower border and hedge to the far end, around the whole yard and meets the house at the other end. Three gates make access easy for mowers, carts, and people. These pics are two years old.

Bonus points if you spot one of the inmates.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 9:33AM
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Which do you love best: the view or the bodies?

20 feet of shoreline can be guarded by "pool fence": posts, panels, one gate that locks. It's clean and doesn't obstruct the view, and it's designed to keep kids and water apart.

The stuff is cheap, inobtrusive and can be a DIY installation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pool fence panel

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 12:02PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

An advantage of lazygardens's "pool fence" is that kids can't climb it; there are no horizontals to support their toes. I remember climbing chainlink when I was a kid (okay -- not very far; I was a fairly tame kid). And we climbed the backyard fence, though we were told not to, because it was woven of horizontal boards.

I don't know if saypoint's welded wire fence would support kids' toes; it would depend on the amount of space between the verticals and on the size of the kids' shoes. And if the hedge covers the fence, kids would have difficulty finding the wire to climb it. [Gorgeous garden and flagstone and gate, saypoint! Poor forlorn inmate....]

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 12:48PM
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Yes, it would support a child.

Children can't climb chicken wire, though, that's taut. The wire is too narrow and hurts too much.

I was a more adventurous child. :-)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 1:30AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

OT a bit here... saypoint - that's one of the nicest gardens/garden layouts I've seen in a while! Have you finished your courses yet/are in the business?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 9:42AM
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