A tall hedge for this narrow, semi-shady spot? (Photos)

jlc102482(6)December 29, 2010

I am trying to figure out what type of conifers would be best to plant as a barrier between my property and the house next door. Here is a photo of the area:

Another view:

FYI, our property line extends beyond the white fence, as the house next door was built right on the line. (We wouldn't plant anything right against the house, of course).

Needless to say, the house next door isn't exactly pleasant to look at. Also, its occupants don't have curtains in any of their windows which gives us views we would rather not have. Accordingly, my goal is a tall visual barrier that will hopefully also block some sound. Here are my hopes:

- a conifer so the barrier will be effective year-round

- something that gets at least two stories high

- something that will do okay with some shade

- columnar shape is probably a must if it's going to fit

- relatively fast growing, if at all possible ;)

The gravel path in the photo can be removed to accommodate plantings if need be.

I was thinking a thuja hedge, but this area is not in full sun. Would thuja be a good choice, or would something else work better? Any ideas or thoughts on this or other types of tall visual barriers would be excellent! :)

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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

If you stood with your back against that side of the neighbor's house, which direction would you be facing?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 3:58PM
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Thuja does well in full sun, partial sun - and given adequate water, etc., are extremely fast growers. They grow wide at the base also, so be prepared to have them take most of the space in due course. Easy to shear and shape, though. Depending on variety(of thuja or whatever you decide on), you'd probably want to plant them dead down the center of the space - allowing for at least a 5-7 foot base spread at maturity.

Despite all hopes, hedges don't block sound. But it would give you a feeling of separation from your neighbor.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 4:38PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

An unusual thought from me. Due to the narrowness of the space and the potential for the shade to make conifers thinly branched does anyone think a fence covered in a flowering vine would be better?

I know nothing about vines besides they need to be kept off trees you like so I don't know which one.

Seems it would

maximize the usability of the space sine it takes up the least room.

Give the quickest privacy

be almost sure to grow as needed where the spot looks just a little shady for reliably thick conifers

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 11:21AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

The OP wanted something "at least two stories high," so I don't think a fence and vine would work.

We don't know yet how much shade there is. The OP said simply "some shade," which sounds like conditions may not be too difficult for conifers.

Because of the width of the blue building, I assume there's at least 18-20' between the houses. Even allowing a couple of feet of clearance next to the neighbors' house, I think there's plenty of room for a hedge without taking up the entire side yard.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 1:17PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Is it just me who isn't certain which house is the OP's?

You could plant a hedge, or you could plant a variety of columnar conifers. Cephalotaxus is one that looks good up close, which is how you will be seeing it. Grows in sun or shade. Comes in gold and green varieties. Not really fast growing, but I think the choice is basically fast and ugly or slow and nice. The reason for this is that fast growers don't stop when they get to the height you want; they keep going, and may get leggy at the bottom. Do you plan to prune at the 2 storey height or let it keep growing?

If you want a full barrier, a hedge is best. But for sound, you'll have to put something solid that will sort of absorb noise. A network of branches does not do that.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 9:59PM
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Seems it's the house on the right that is the offending neighbor.

I'm also guessing the little picket fence is a concession to these neighbors to walk along side their house (for that much needed fix up/paint up on the siding and windows perhaps?)

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 10:09AM
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jlc, this is a little OT but I didn't know how else to contact you without creating more of a problem :-) I just wanted to apologize for whatever part I may have played in the deterioration of this same thread on the Trees forum. Apparently some folks can't tolerate disagreement easily! The guy baited me and I responded and I shouldn't have. Sorry.

If you can wade through the cr*p and dig out the useful suggestions, there are some good ideas on both of these threads - and remarkably similar at that :-) Good luck with your project and report back when you decide.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 11:05AM
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Sorry for the late response! The brown house is the neighbor's house. My house isn't visible in the photo, but my blue barn is. The city has been issuing citation after citation to the owners of the neighbor's house since at least 2007, but the process is so slow that I think a hedge is my best bet at hiding the eyesore.

If you stood with your back to the part of the neighbor's house pictured in the photo, I believe you'd be facing southeast. This spot gets morning shade due to the height of the neighbor's house, but it also gets fairly intense afternoon sun in the summer.

We did put up a 5 foot fence, about a foot to the right of the white picket border in the photo. I didn't post a photo of that because everything is covered in snow and it's hard to see anything. I would LOVE to put up a big piece of lattice on it and grow some clematis but I fear it may be rather obvious that I'm trying to hide "the ugly house". Well, a little more obvious than landscaping with a hedge, anyway. ;)

If it helps, here's a photo that shows where my house is in relation to the neighbor's. That might give a better idea of the layout of things.

It looks like thuja is getting a lot of votes - I think I will start there. I wish it were spring already so I could start planting.

PS - No worries, gardengal84! :)

    Bookmark   January 4, 2011 at 9:21AM
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