plants to cover neighbors chain and link fence

kss1956June 6, 2012

Because it is not my fence, I cannot use a vine. I do not want a bush, i.e. boxwood, that I will have to trim and shape every year-I don't have a good eye. This is an area of my yard that I don't want to draw attention to. Something that grows tall would be desirable, but not necessary, for privace purposes. The only plant I can think of would be possibly a holly.

Any ideas are greatly appreciated.



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Thuja 'Green Giant'

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 6:12PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the only 3 to 4 foot plant you can think of is hollyhock??

just to be clear.. you want a list of 3 to 4 foot plants.. right???

and do google ... not green giants.. but thuja de groots spire.. for a couple of thin but tall evergreen conifers ...

and dont rule out annuals like a 12 foot sunflower.. lol ..

daylily will put blooms that high.. canna would be a good one.. but dug up every fall ...

jeez.. there are so many things.. i am blanking.. will report back tomorrow ..


    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 6:38PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

How long is it?

I would get some plastic lattice pieces and use them to grow some clematis on. It does not have to be a running fence. You could do sections and leave a couple inches in between each section of lattice.


Metal Garden Trellis. I have seen them in discount stores for 9 - 20. Depending on how fancy you want them to look.

Here is a link that might be useful: garden trellis

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 7:01PM
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Just plant some bushes that can stay casual, not severely pruned. I know some people say burning bush is invasive, but here in NJ, they don't give me a problem. I bought the dwarf variety for the same reason, to cover my neighbor's chain link fence. I bought very small ones, maybe 1 1/2 ' tall. Here it is 4 years later and the fence is completely covered. I also have some Rose of Sharon on a small portion of the fence. It looks great.
Here are some pics. The forsythia is on my neighbor's side.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 7:33PM
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scorpgirl your hydrangea is beautiful! And what is that hosta to the right of the bench, a Frances Williams? Is that some kind of water feature which the plywood is covering? Nice garden you've got there! And nice to see the transition in the photos.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 11:25PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

scorp, if that isn't the GREATEST before and after, i don't know what is. You hot ticket you!

kss, in spite of scorp's success w/ red wing euonymus, i THINK it is not sold in MA because it's on the invasives list.but you'd have to verify that. Thuja Emerald or Smargd (same thing)grows fast and doesn't really need pruning and is the cheapest investment for year round block. Ornamental grasses are also a great route; they come in varied heights and you can leave them up for the winter and cut them down in early June (then you'd have about 4-6 wks of them growing back til they cover the fence again.)

Just a comment- most fences get placed 6" plus on the land of the abutter , in which case you should be able to plant a vine. Densest/fastest coverage would be an autumn flowering clematis ("the plant that ate Chicago")or a trumpet you not want to ask them if a vine is o.k.?

You haven't mentioned sun exposure. Hollies can work in the shade but are much more expensive than thuja smargd.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 2:00AM
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Love the idea of the grasses, arbo. The sweet autumn clematis would be nice, but doesn't provide winter cover-does it?
Thanks for the compliments! LOVE my yard. Hosta is Whirlwind and yes, a water feature is under the plywood.
Things are much different back there, now. I will start a new thread, as not to hijack this one and post more pics.
Good luck kss. I was so happy when that ugly fence was finally covered!!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 9:12AM
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to me it looks like your problem is the winter view, in the summer the forsythia will be green, and fill out the fence line,
so i would look for somethings that will stay green all winter that would also give you a blank 'canvas' to grow things in front of without the view of the neighbors plants. theres lots of upright evergreen plants that wont need trimming

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 8:30PM
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Thanks for your suggestions, a lot to absorb, but keep them coming! I have a problem. She has a non-attractive variety of holly hocks next to the fence on her side. Because they have runners, they appear on my side of the fence and I dig them up and remove them. Also, she has invasive plants that go through the fence and over the fence that I have to cut. This changes my initial question to "is there anything I can do prevent these runners from coming over to my yard"? I am guessing that these would interfere with new plants. I am leaning towards not planting anything this year due to time issues. I don't want to weed this area all summer -if I put mulch over plastic in this area, would the hollyhocks come up and then I end up with a mess?

P.S. I am not friendly with this neighbor-she is an unhappy person and will not talk to me because my tree fell in her yard this past winter due to a storm.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 9:29PM
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Karen, can you post a picture or two of the area?


    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 10:45PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Pics would be good. With your updated problem description I am thinking you really need the lattice with vines growing up. Sounds like the less you see of your neighbor the better it is going to be for both of you.

I had a problem with the look of the chain link and ivy coming from the neighbor and I did do the plastic and bricks on top of the plastic and it worked. Couple boxes of of dollar store garbage bags did the trick. She eventually ripped out the ivy when it did not have my property to infringe on and started to take over her yard.

scorpgirl, has a good pic development that could really make you happy to look in that direction. I do not think you could get a better incentive to get busy making your life happy.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 9:14AM
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buttercupia(zone4 IA)

how about a row of fineline buckthorn/

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 1:52AM
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Hi there! I just came across this discussion because I have a similar problem with an unsightly fence -- and more - next door. In my case, I need something tall and broadleaf to block a view that the douglas firs we planted will eventually block... in about five or six years! I'm thinking of using a hardy Southern Magnolia. If you are right about the abutter having the right to plant a vine on a neighbor's chain link fence, I may consider a Major Wheeler honeysuckle which stays evergreen in zone 6.

I wanted to mention, since the subject of invasive plants has been raised, that in the case of Burning Bush or other invasive plants, what makes them invasive is not necessarily that they will sprout up elsewhere on your own property. Many aggressive plants that are also native will do that but they are not considered invasive. What happens with invasive plants, e.g. non-native escapees, is they sprout up in nearby woodlands and roadsides where no one is around to weed them and so they reproduce without any natural controls on them. I have three haggard looking winged eunonymous shrubs growing in my wooded backyard along with escaped Japanese honeysuckle, wineberry, Oriental Bittersweet and mulitiflora rose. There are a couple of Japanese barberry and a Japanese holly back there too. In recent months, I've also been fighting an English Ivy invasion. These invasions are all the result of seeds that either traveled by wind or bird poop into our yard from neighbors' houses in the past twenty years. I intend to weed them all out, but I'm dealing with the worst first: the honeysuckle. Japanese honeysuckle happens to be allelopathic and actively prevents other plants from growing with it. It will also grow in deep shade! By the way, what grows from seed is not the beautiful cultivated variety of the plants I mentioned, it's the weedier looking species variety! If you ever take a walk around the Six Mile Run Reservoir area in NJ in the fall, you'll see pale pink winged euonymous shrubs growing all over the place in the woods, displacing native plants. We can't always see the harm we are doing by planting invasive plants in our gardens. But others get to see it, and the natural environment suffers. Just thought I'd bring it up. I live in a part of NJ that suffers greatly from invasives and it's so hard to keep fighting the good fight. I just found out the arctic kiwi vines I planted last fall are invasive in NJ so now I have to rip them out. How I hate to take the life of a plant : (

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 10:15AM
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terrene(5b MA)

I would 2nd the Arborvitae 'Emerald Green' - I have a row of them separating the view from my kitchen window and the next door neighbor's porch and back yard where they are quite active. They make an excellent, tall narrow privacy screen. In my experience, they don't grow particularly fast though.

I am developing mixed borders, roughly 15-20 feet wide along both borderlines of my yard. They are a mix of evergreen and deciduous plants, mostly native shrubs and small trees, but a few are large trees too.

I would be happiest if I didn't see or hear the neighbors at all! I fantasize about a big fence down both sides. That's just not going to happen, so this is the best option until I can move to a more remote location.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 12:52PM
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