Solutions for the Fish-Bowl Effect? Redux

lac_la_belle_stSeptember 17, 2010

Fence & Hedge (formal or informal) Oconomowoc, WI

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:

Here are photos taken this spring:

Front yard from driveway, facing east

Panoramic photos from:

Front door facing south, panning east to west

Corner of front yard facing northwest


Southeast house corner

Here is a plat of survey with dimensions:

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 isnt 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!


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this post has been up a long time with no responses so i would suggest you post this on the landscape design forum. the regulars on that board would be your best bet for advice to solve your property issues.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 3:29PM
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The suggestion to go to the landscape design forum is a good one. The folks there may or may not be tactful in their suggestions, but you will probably learn quite a bit. Start by doing a search for dog and dogs and earlier threads may pop up as I know landscaping for dogs has been discussed in the past.

Here a few thoughts that occurred to me after looking at your photos and reading your post.
- Whatever you plant will need time to get established before the dogs can have access, so you may want to put up a wire fence between the dogs and the hedge. You might even want to keep the wire fence as a hedge alone won't keep a determined dog in.
- I'm not sure if you want to have plants inside your picket fence or not. Some dogs like to run along a fence as people and other animals travel along the sidewalk, and if your dogs do that, you won't be able to plant along the inside of the fence. If you want plants along the fence you will need to move the fence in and plant on the outside.
- Where you want your dining patio is on the side with the garage? If so, I think that you will have a quite difficult time establishing plants growing along that property line as there are already well-established trees, so I would go for the option of the opaque tall fence to protect your privacy on that side with the parking lot. I'm not sure if you own only the lower level or if you own some of the upper level, but if the fence is on the lower level, you won't get as much shelter from the parking lot.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 11:10PM
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