Return to the Landscape Design Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Help with privacy

Posted by david_cary NC (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 10, 10 at 12:49

So the neighbors are putting in a pool. Our house is new (1 year old) and we had started planting some privacy evergreens as our privacy is pretty important to us. The back is private and so is the other side.

The HOA requires screening when a pool is installed but it is pretty vague. I've approached the neighbors and the HOA. I don't want to make enemies but am pushing them a bit. I need a plan for the probability that they won't plant anything more and that the HOA is powerless to force them to. This is the view from our deck. We have a daylight basement. We also have roughly the same view from our kitchen sink and the kitchen table.


The Green giants (there is one off to the right of the picture) are about 10 feet tall and a year in the ground. The cryptomeria are more like 8 feet tall and just a few months in the ground. I am more open to moving them. The rocks are drainage area leading to underground pipes - nothing substantial will grow there. I realize the river birch will get huge but in NC, the pool might be used close to year round with heating. The Italian cypresses are probably going to be moved but that part of the view is not really the issue.

Their plants next to the pool are knockouts and eunonymous.

- move Cyrptos forward and plant larger GG's in their place?
- build 12 foot (or higher) fireplace/kitchen area over the wet area with planters on top
- Remove ligustrums and plant more GG's

I'm considering paying for the neighbors to put something evergreen on the hill but I'm not sure if they would go for even that. Any help or words of encouragement appreciated.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help with privacy


RE: Help with privacy

Give the landscapes time to mature.

If you want instant privacy from your kitchen, pull the blinds. From your deck, install a trellis that goes above your eye level on the railing. Grow vines on it.

If you want the neighbors to do something, go talk to them about something that will increase privacy on both sides. For all you know they are over on another forum asking about how to keep the neighbor's from peeping when they skinnydip.

RE: Help with privacy

Next time they are in the pool just go outside at the same time and have your own party.

They may not like being in the spotlight either, but who knows?

RE: Help with privacy

Isabella - trust me - it's in the mind. I'm thinking a bunch of bare chested middle aged men drinking beer. But - I have 2 problems with that - the first is that I don't want to be obvious about it and the second is that they don't seem to be privacy driven people. They have a master bedroom window on our side with plantation shutters that are never closed. It is high up but still.

I guess I would love to see some really tall privacy options. I envision maybe a kitchen/brick oven with a green roof. Something that would grow up there with not a ton of soil and wouldn't get knocked over in wind. Bamboo maybe?

RE: Help with privacy

You could consider a Davidia. Or something else with a broad, tall canopy. You could put it about where your centre and right Cryptomerias are. Conifers all have the opposite of the shape you need; their mass is low down. You need mass up top. There are even trees that are densely enough branched that they provide some privacy in winter.

There is only one tree that I know of that is evergreen with a broad canopy, and that's called a Cinnamomum. Not sure if it's hardy for you. Or a Bay leaf tree, come to think of it.

Ideally they would put a few such trees in their yard, but then, for the future, the owner of your home is always dependent on the owner of that home for the privacy screen. Put it on your side, maintain it from hanging over the fence too much if they complain, and just let it grow, grow, grow.

You could put another where your Thuja is to the right.

You can also just leave your conifers if they're already established; they'll do the job in time, together with the birch - as LazyGardens has suggested. I mean, you really only need another 6 feet on those Cryptomerias and there will already be some relief. Nothing I'm suggesting will do the job any faster.

So really, if you just sit tight and let your stuff grow, you might find you don't have a problem soon. The conifers will broaden enough to intermingle.

Oh, and ignore Ideasshare. Landscaping made in China, with typical quality.


RE: Help with privacy

Yeah - I ignored that - I figured it was some drug induced vision...

I had a landscaper over yesterday and he suggested much the same thing. He suggested a sycamore or maple. The sycamore he favored for its large leaves - easier to rake. You can't see it in the picture but travertine patio would be below a deciduous tree in front of the cryptomerias. I worry a little about staining (although sealing should help) from leaves.

In front of the Thuja is the only access to the back yard for machinery. We would like our own pool some day and even the riding lawnmowers wouldn't be able to get back there if we planted something in front of the Thuja's. The truth is that we better get the pool in before the Thuja's mature. I've only hired the lawn out once when I was unexpectedly out of town but apparently they charge more if they can't use their riding mower. I guess that is a minor consideration in the long run.

I'll check out your tree suggestions.

We are 7b.

RE: Help with privacy

I wouldn't do the sycamore--our neighbor put one beside us and it is always shedding branches. The leaves are a pain--thick and don't decay well. Its branches come over the brick wall and I have to lop them off every so often because as they grow they lay on the wall and rub when the wind blows. ugggg, I hate that tree.

RE: Help with privacy

Frankie - thanks for the sycamore advice. Now I am between a bosque elm or a maple. Anyone chime in on the differences? I know maples well - we have 3 planted plus a few old existing ones.

RE: Help with privacy

We screened off a parking area off the end of our driveway with ceanothus impressus 'victoria' (California lilac, although it is nothing to do with lilacs!). It grew 12' tall in 3 years, is dense enough you cannot see through it at eye level; it's evergreen, and in June is covered in beautiful blue flowers that attract bees (on a quiet afternoon you can hear them a-buzzing). They also attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Originally planted for practical reasons, these have become a favourite in the garden.

We had a harsh winter (for us) two years ago and one or two of them sustained some damage but have fully recovered. You can trim them up neatly, let them do their thing, or a combination of both (what we chose).

Someone else also suggested davidii - we have those along a fence to screen off an unsightly next door neighbour and they work very well, although they're not evergreen. Very low maintenance, pretty blooms in the summer and we have the variety that grows 15' tall - and very quickly. The one we have is Buddleia davidii 'Black Knight' (deep purple). Fertilizer spikes in the spring make a difference in the size & quantity of blooms.

Here is a link that might be useful: an article about Ceanothus Impressus from my local paper

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Landscape Design Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here