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Help with driveway design

Posted by restoringahomestead 6a (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 21, 13 at 13:10

Hi,

So we've got LOTS of landscaping needs. But number one right now is this driveway. As you can see I bought 29 Austrian Pines at an auction back in April. Got 'em home and did EVERYTHING right in planting them right away and we have lost EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!! The picture you're seeing are the last remaining ones, the other 12 trees that I had planted there have already been pulled out.

I want to HIDE the neighborhood from my view. The field there is dead and the old guy that lives there isn't going to do anything with it. I don't think he'll even sell it me :-( and I want to hide the street and the house from our view. Yes, I want to live in my own little bubble :-).

The run of dirt on the left side of the drive is 6' wide and it runs 120'. I thought about buying Green Gaint arborvitae, but for the long of a run I probably can only afford the 2' size and I'd like to get rid of "the world" from view faster than that. The fence you see is 4' so I don't think a 6' wood fence is going to block it all out. Plus, the house sits on a little higher grade than the drive.

Don't mind working with layers. Maybe some SUPER fast growing shrub or something in the back, the "green giants" in front of that and them some lower color by the curbing.

Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

Thanks,
Rick


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help with driveway design

Rick,

The only suggestion I can think of is a 10' high concrete wall. You want to cut off the house, the field, the everything.

I cannot conceive of anything that will completely do what you want.

Jim


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RE: Help with driveway design

Jim,

REALLY???!?! That's too bad. I was looking forward to your input. You've had some good ideas on other posts I've read.

Is it that I'm asking for too much, or the space is just too narrow to work with or what exactly is it?

Thanks,
Rick


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RE: Help with driveway design

Jim,

REALLY???!?! That's too bad. I was looking forward to your input. You've had some good ideas on other posts I've read.

Is it that I'm asking for too much, or the space is just too narrow to work with or what exactly is it?

Thanks,
Rick


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RE: Help with driveway design

My favorite device for screening in narrow spaces is fence posts (usually wood) to which wires, ropes or chains have been spanned on which one will grow vines. It is the quickest way to screen a view short of buying fully mature, upright plants. Technically, it's not a fence so whether the local authorities would try to impose fence codes on you would be an untested question. But normally, one could use, more or less, the same parameters in designing it as what would be allowed with a fence, so there probably wouldn't be an issue. For example, if a 6' ht. privacy fence were allowed, the height is usually exclusive of ornamentation. If the fence swags upward, the swag would be part of the ornamentation as would decorative capitals on the posts. I like to run the lower wires (or whatever is being used) taught and swag the top wire for a traditional decorative effect, but one must take into account the type of vines that will be grown and provide a support that will work for them. For the quickest cover, start with annual vines. While they're growing and covering, add perennial or woody vines that will become permanent and provide ongoing screening. It's possible to achieve complete screening in 4 or 5 weeks using this method. Gourds are the absolute fastest, but become ugly, starting at the bottom, quite rapidly. Moon vine has been a great one to start with in my experience. I love using the Heavenly blue morning glories as long as nematodes are not a problem.

As a spanning material, rope does not hold up. Chain that is not too heavy can work well for the top span. Plastic coated clothesline wire also works well for all spans. (It can be attached quickly and cheaply to wood posts with hammered-in fence staples.) Obviously, depending on what one uses for span and for posts, it could look very nice or you might want it covered up as quickly as possible so fewer people see what it's made of. I have also made this with only a top span and from it run jute twine to the ground (spaced ever 8" or so) ... so it doesn't get any cheaper than that. The jute only needs to hold up until the fast growing annuals make it to the top and then it's existence is moot. Perennial vines can climb on top of the annuals. If chain is used for the top span and jute dropped down from it, the chain can hang on hooks from the post so it's possible to temporarily remove a vine panel, should the need arise.


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RE: Help with driveway design

Yardvaark,

YOU ARE A GENIUS!!!!! That idea is FANTASTIC!!! I was thinking of sunflowers next year, but that's only a tempory fix. But a combo of that plus the annual vines AND the preannual vines would be GREAT then allowing my to still have room for trees in front of that and then let them grow. OH MAN... The options, the options, the options!!!! Love that it gets around the zoning, which was an issue I didn't want to bring up but was in the back in my head the whole time.

This is great!

But... You know if anyone else has ideas... PLEASE feel free to toss it out to me :-)!!!

Oh... What would be good preannual vines to go with??? And is there anything that would be in the evergreen category??? Like Photinia would it work in this situation???

Thanks,
Rick


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RE: Help with driveway design

Yardvaark,

Would a Honeysuckle be a good preannual vine to work along there??? They grow fast I LOVE their scent and they have pretty flowers. Plus would be an excellent bee attractant in helping our veggie beds in the summer and also the fruit trees.

Rick


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RE: Help with driveway design

Rick,

Yardvaark, as usual, has a possible solution. I don't know if it will be tall enough to block out everything as you requested. You might want to look into whatever height restrictions there are in your community, just to be more knowledgeable about it.

In your original post you mentioned that a 6' fence would not take care of your problem. Thus, to me, it meant you wanted something taller (particularly from where the phonto was taken) in order to not see the neighbor's house.

I believe that those Austrian Pines ultimately would have been too broad at the base. And it would have taken several years for them to begin to hide the view.

Sorry I couldn't be more positive!

Jim


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RE: Help with driveway design

Jim,

Yes, I agree with you on the Austrian pines. But that's what was at the auction and they were NICE, at the time, and I ended up getting each of them for $25 each!!!! I just couldn't pass it up and I was SOOOOOO desperate to get something in there to help us out privacy-wise.

You are also WAY correct with the 6' not COMPLETELY solving the problem. But the way Yardvaark has set it up these vines can reach MUCH higher than that and I can cheat here and there in order to help them along their merry little way and then eventually have trees, may Green Gaint Arborvitae, that reach the higher heights to finish off the job!!!

It's all good, it's just that this was my first design question and I wanted make sure you were just stumped and not that I was asking absurdities, which I tend to do :-).

I think that's the reason I don't get along with neighbors so well :-).

Thanks,
Rick


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RE: Help with driveway design

I agree with Jim that the Austrians would have been too broad. They probably would have overwhelmed the area eventually.

Glad you like my idea, Rick, but I can't guaranty that it will get you around zoning. While it's technically not a fence, gov't reps. may insist that it follow all the same restrictions. Much of that sort of thing depends on what neighbors think of your creation. Complaints draw attention. If you make it beautiful and receive only praise, then you can probably get away with making it a little higher than a fence. PROBABLY. But be prepared to adjust to compliance.

There are different honeysuckles. I also don't know where you are so don't know what will work well for you. Some honeysuckles tend to cling to upward portions of their support and don't maintain much growth at lower levels. There are lots of vines to choose from. Take a look at Bignonia 'Tangerine Beauty' or some of the non-hybrid clematis. Some of those are pretty tough.


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RE: Help with driveway design

The neighbor's an open field. Hahaha and I'll take a pic and show you what our house that we're rehabbing looks like right now and the stuff in the driveway. Any body else will probably be MORE than happy to see the eye sore disappear behind a wall of green :-)

Let me try this one on you. What if I built a 2' high planter down the drive and then built a six foot high "pole fence" on top of it?

Both QUITE legal in the zoning rules.

Thanks,
Rick


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RE: Help with driveway design

Don't know where you are, but many of the Arborvitae in east central Illinois are quickly browning and ending up dead. I am not sure what is happening, but many of the rural people who have used them as wind-breaks are ending up with holes due to die-off. It could be that even establish plants got taken with the heat/drought that we endured last summer. I have recently seen some Mature maple trees that got through it all last year, but are showing the delayed stress this year.

Jim


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RE: Help with driveway design

We are in the Boise, Idaho area.


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RE: Help with driveway design

The planter idea, if just to get more height, might be a double edged sword. If it's nice enough, it would add a fair amount of cost but could come to be something unwanted in the future. It might be better to try a section of taller "pole & swag trellis" (I guess we could call it for now) of the kind that the top chain hangs on hooks with twine hanging from the chain, is detachable, so could be altered (lower the hooks) easily if need be.


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RE: Help with driveway design

Yardvaark,

YUP, as soon as I wrote that last night I was thinking along the same lines you just wrote about. You're 100% correct on the chain and manuver-ability of the chain. COMPLETLEY missed what you were saying and getting at the first time you wrote. Sorry... Was so blown away (excited) about the possibilities and how cheaply and easily that solves so MANY problems along there that I missed the subtley's of your message.

My wife pointed out to me, and you can kinda see them in the photo up against the wire fencing that,s already there, we have Morning Glory weed spiraling up that fence and would we have a battle on our hands with the weed climbing up the vines we put in and choking them out?

Also, is this something I can get started on and plant the preannual vines in the fall, or should I wait to plant in the spring.

Thanks,
Rick


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RE: Help with driveway design

I should clarify, when I said, "technically, it's not a fence," I was thinking about the swagged chain version from which twine drops down. A person can walk right through that. I think I would categorize it as an arbor. The version I illustrated probably, technically, is a fence, as it presents a barrier that one could not pass through.

Rick, you could plant perennial vines any time the ground is prepared, not frozen and when you can supply regular water. Fall is a great time because satisfying the water obligation is easier.


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RE: Help with driveway design

Maybe the entire fence does not need to be the same height in order to do its job. If you were to walk the drive and think carefully about the view as you went along, you might find that a few strategically placed tall and dense elements could be interspersed with fence panels, lacier plantings, or even narrow gaps admitting selected views.

I think you mentioned that your house is up high? You might need to contemplate the view while someone else holds a measuring pole in order to really get a feel for how tall the screen must be in order to block the view.

What if you find that it will require a 20 foot tall screen to fully mask the most annoying part of the view? The part most often-seen from your favorite seating areas?

Just some thoughts...


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RE: Help with driveway design

Wow! Sammie,

Good thoughts and ideas there. I will do that.

Thanks,
Rick


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