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Advice on Landscaping/Fence(s)

Posted by dieterhansi Northern NJ (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 10, 13 at 19:49

Hello all. Planning to do some work planting and perhaps on a privacy fence next year and would appreciate any and all feedback.

We live in Northern NJ.

The first photo is the view from our kitchen porch. Clearly we don't have much privacy; this is a new problem as we only redid our kitchen a few years back; prior to that we didn't look out back at all.

I suppose that we could put plantings/trees along the entire back fence, but I think it might be better to plant three trees; one in the right corner of the pool area (or behind the fence, ill get to that), one in the center of the pool, and one on the left side of the pool.

If we do go for trees, I think we would want something that grows to 15-20 feet, and would prefer coniferous (you can see we've got no privacy now). Any thoughts about that would be appreciated, including the possibility that its not practical or recommended.

Our neighbors (also friends) put up new fence last year. As it happens our property line extends 4 feet or so beyond our current pool fence-- i don't know why. Basically, the second photo shows the 'no-man's land' between the current fences; this property belongs to us. When we replace our current pool fence, we could move it back, but would want to consider the aesthetics of our neighbors. if we put up a pool fence right against theirs (5 feet minimum) I don't think it would look nice for them. Again, any thoughts or advice appreciated.

Next is a photo of our side yard from the back porch. We planted schip laurels several years ago and they have not grown very well, despite our best efforts. Any advice on replacing/additional planting appreciated.

Last is a photo from the sidewalk (you can see we live on a corner). You can see that we don't have much privacy. This is a particular issue when we are using the pool. My idea is not that we necessarily want a thick hedge all the way to the corner of our street, but that we could strategically place a few shrubs or small trees to increase the privacy.

Much appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

Photo of "No Man's Land"

Here is the photo of the gap between the current pool fences.

Side Yard From Back Porch

Photo of side yard from Back Porch. You can see varying heights among the schip laurels and a general lack of privacy. The laurels are at least five years old.

Photo of side/back yard from the street

Not much privacy.

RE: Advice on Landscaping/Fence(s)

It looks almost as if the neighbor's house beyond the pool is peeking over the back fence, so it would be good to have some screening that was 15' height. I can't really see how "3 trees" are going to solve this problem for you. You wouldn't want tree foliage encroaching or overhanging the pool deck area, so a hedge of something tall & narrow -- in lieu of your existing fence -- would be one way to create a green screen. 'Skyrocket' juniper comes to mind as the TYPE of plant you might use, but you'd need to check to see what grows in that manner in your area.

Before you place a fence closer to the property line, check local fence regulations and to see that the "no man's land" is not a utility easement, especially with buried cables. If you create a screen with a tall, narrow hedge, you would not need the fence.

Many plants do not grow well without sufficient light. The schips seem to be under tall AND understory trees. The combined shade effect could make the area too dim to grow them well. Also, determine if their supplemental water supply is adequate ... if they need that due to dry summers. If the problem is too little light, you might need to remove an understory tree, remove lower limbs from the larger trees, or a combination of both. You might investigate replacing the ships with a different plant that accepts the low light conditions. (I would look around to see what's growing well and looking good in the same conditions in other people's yards, in order to determine a plant that works without problems.) If a vine could do the job, you could grow it on steel cable or chain (porch swing chain is strong enough) run between decorative posts.

RE: Advice on Landscaping/Fence(s)

This seems to be a common problem, especially here in the West where we have an abundance of swimming pools and the houses are set very close to one another.

I like to address the privacy issue by using contrasting layers of foliage if space is available vs. a uniform hedge which can reinforce the perimeter depth of a suburban property line.

It looks like you have the space to incorporate some layering.

By placing some modestly sized growing coniferous trees at the background then building up the midground with some smaller deciduous trees and understory plantings you can create a sense of depth while introducing privacy.

A couple of evergreen trees to consider might be : Picea, Abies koreana, Crytomeria and Sciadopitys ( the last one is a personal favorite)

Some deciduous trees that would fit the bill : Cornus and Acer.

Build up the midground with Lilacs, philadelphus, weigela, hydrangeas and round out the foreground with summer time flowering perennials and a pop of annuals.

Attached is a pool project on the west coast that faced the same issues as you. We used a layered effect of planting to provide privacy and de-emphasize the suburban lot.

From Pool and Garden Project - The Napa Valley

RE: Advice on Landscaping/Fence(s)

The problem with the deep layered, deviant, is that they have only 3' of planting depth ... unless a utility easement must be kept clear. Then they have 0'.

RE: Advice on Landscaping/Fence(s)

excellent feedback from both of you, thank you.

You are right, Yardvark, three trees will not give us total privacy. I am a bit fearful of creating a long line of shrubs of similar height (see our schips, which look terrible). I was thinking one tree on the right (to obscure the view of the red house) one in the middle (for our neighbors), and one to the left.

However looking at the pics posted by deviant I am thinking i should not worry too much.

I am 99% sure that there is no utility right of way. My thought had been that we would need to replace our current fence (where the no-man's land is) but a look at the local regs says that 4' is high enough... i am pretty sure our neighbors new fence is that high. This suggests that we would not have to replace that segment of fence at all. However we would need to do a lot of plantings to get sufficient privacy (we may even want to start next year with plantings, then remove the existing fence later after they start to grow in.)

I think we woulld then have about 10-12' total between the property line and the pool and the property line/our neighbors new fence. We could also get more space for landscaping by avoiding putting a 'paved' path all the way around the pool (as in deviant's photos--that pool landscaping looks great, by the way). Do you think 10-12 feet is enought to incorporate layering?

Yardvark, re the schips, I think you are right about the light. Some of them are growing reasonably well, so I dont think that it is a water issue (though it is possible). For each of last 2 years we had a local tree service fertilize them. This helped a little bit but not nearly enough given the cost. Some more pruning may be called for. The vine suggestion sounds good too.

RE: Advice on Landscaping/Fence(s)

If deer are not a problem, Hemlocks, Yews, Junipers work well and get quite dense. They are easy to control. We layered shrubs and trees along our property line rather than confine it to just the pool/patio. I kept a feeling of space but also gave privacy.

We lived in a suburb outside NYC and deer were a problem. We eventually had to replace some shrubs with more deer-resistant plantings.

Regarding the fence, don't forget vines work well if interplanted with shrubs. Depending on your sun exposure, Honeysuckle, climbing roses, Wisteria all provide privacy and will climb the fence.


RE: Advice on Landscaping/Fence(s)

Do you think 10-12 feet is enough to incorporate layering?
Yes. That is plenty space for a layered effect.
I've worked in situations where that amount of space would have been considered 'expansive'.
As an example in the project pix below we had less than 5 feet to the pools edge. 3 feet of walking space and 2 feet of planting space.

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