Privacy screen and rain barrels

chaparral(Zone 9)November 27, 2012


This post has a bit of a twist that might differentiate it a bit from most of the typical privacy screen posts.

We have a need for a privacy screen for a space that is about 21' long x 4' wide. It will hide a 2 story house that looms over us on one side. We would like the screen to grow to about 25' tall.

Interspersed in this I want to place a pair of 200 gallon rainwater tanks, each about 3' in diameter.

Option 1: Despite reservations about bamboo, we think this is probably our best option because of its growth rate. It is in a fairly well contained area, with concrete on 3 sides. We will of course put in a rizome barrier.

Altogether we are thinking of putting in 5 plants.

Will we also have to put in a rizome barrier to protect the rain barrels?

Option 2: Something like Italian Cypress. However we do get some strong winds (Santa Anas, etc.) here near Pasadena, CA and I'm a bit concerned about their longevity, and relatively slow (relative to bamboo) growth rate. But perhaps they would work better with our rain barrels, and not create such a mess.

Layout would be something like this:



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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Nice sketch, but it doesn't describe much about the context from a design perspective. Can you post a photo showing the house you want to screen out and the relationship of your house to the fence?

Before you plant any bamboo, visit the Los Angeles Arboretum and walk around where the bamboos are growing to get a sense as to whether this is what you really want. Bamboo is beautiful, and it also produces a prodigious amount of litter. In spite of that, it would be my personal choice over the cypress trees, for speed and the beauty. On the other hand, it might knock over your retaining wall.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 1:23AM
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chaparral(Zone 9)

We visited a local nursery (Lincoln Nursery in Altadena) and they had a beautiful privacy screen example using Arizona Cypress, which has a lovely blue-green color, is a fast grower, and evidently grows great around here. We're thinking of using 5 of those, spaced about 4' apart, and then relocating a single larger tank at one end of the trees. In retrospect I think it would be nuts to try and put the tanks amongst the trees (or bamboo for that matter). Waiting to get pricing on 20 gallon trees, about 9' tall which would be a great start.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 2:52AM
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Is there a narrow cultivar of Arizona cypress that you are looking at? Most of them I have seen near 25' tall are over 12' in diameter. Looks like you only have 3' between the planter and the house.....

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 5:37PM
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chaparral(Zone 9)

I visited "Tree of Life" CA native nursery in San Juan Capistrano, and found a couple that would be better options than the Arizona; either Tecate or San Pedro Martir. Both grow fairly quickly to 15' and then top out around 20', and seem to be a bit narrower than the Arizona.


The San Pedro is a blue-gray which would look great with our house, and is very fragrant.

Downside is that I can only find these in ~3' specimens to purchase; but with TLC I read they can grow 3' / year.

We situated a 760 gallon above ground cistern to the right of where the privacy screen will go.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 5:54PM
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