Author Topic: Privacy bushes?  (Read 1339 times)

AlanStache

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Privacy bushes?
« on: June 30, 2019, 03:17:05 PM »
I would like to block out the view of the neighbors on one side with some sort of tall vegetation.  Sitting on my deck I feel like they are always watching me, the house is rented and has never been kept up well.  The new fence helps but I could not go tall enough to really block that side.  Also as both houses have a crawl space I can see directly over the fence from my dinning room. 

Pictures below show the area.  Wood outlines on the grass show where 3'x4' raised planter boxes might work. 

My first thought was be to plant clumping bamboo along the fence but I worry that any bamboo will scare future buyers rearguards if it is properly contained or not.  I am not fixed to the idea of planter boxes, but I do like that they would raise things 1'-2' to get over the fence that much quicker.  I would like a plant that will quickly get to over 6' but wont get so big as to look huge and out of place.  I am in south east Virginia on the border of zones 7 and 8.  The area gets at most 6hr of mid day sun before the sun goes behind some big shade trees.  I have no problem with doing some hard work to get something setup but would prefer lower levels of ongoing maintenance.  The fence will get cleaned and stained in the next few weeks - it has been on the list of chores :-)

If you are not comfortable with the basic action of blocking the view of my neighbor, thank you for reading this far but I will ask you to not comment along those lines.   

https://ibb.co/X5X7b16
https://ibb.co/QbZFDGn

If someone can tell me how to directly put pictures into the post I would be grateful (I find imgur to addictive and have it blocked).
« Last Edit: June 30, 2019, 03:30:21 PM by AlanStache »

Frankies Girl

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2019, 03:47:21 PM »
Virginia? Crepe Myrtles. Come in both "tree" variety and shrub. Try to find a few larger sized of the dwarf/semi dwarf already 6+ foot in container to plant and they'll screen easily by the end of the year or next year and look great doing it. They'll grow SUPER fast and they don't mind being cut back (if there's overhead lines they may get near, the utility company may trim periodically). They bloom on new growth in spring and some secondary blooming in the summer. While they do drop leaves in fall/winter, their branches eventually may be woody/dense enough to provide a privacy screen even then.

The common varieties come in white, hot and light pink, and lavender. I have a tree variety that is a true red (Dynamite if you're interested). It is gorgeous, and I planted it as a tiny 1 foot scrubby little bush and literally did nothing for like 4 years and it's now 12 feet easily. Really can't go wrong with any of them - small shrubs and beautiful small trees (but make sure to check cultivar as they can get HUGE. Neighbor across the way has a lavender variety, and it's taller than his 2 story house and works as a full on shade tree. They have beautiful, smooth trunks too so they look amazing in winter.

Downsides are: they drop blooms/spent flower pods everywhere so not good near cars/water features like pools or fountains. They produce sucker branches from the root ball, so it can get THICK and MANY TRUNKED at the bottom (I just tend to take some hand clippers out and snip them off when doing regular yard work). Don't plant super near house foundations or waterlines, because they grow so fast they may interfere.

https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/databases/crapemyrtle/crape_myrtle_varieties_byheight.html
^ good source for the varieties so you can find one that would be the height/spread you're hoping for...
« Last Edit: June 30, 2019, 03:53:16 PM by Frankies Girl »

GuitarStv

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2019, 04:21:45 PM »
Sounds like it's a problem now.  Plants take a long time to grow (several years at least), and sometimes won't grow so you have to start from scratch again.  I'd build a 10 or so ft privacy lattice/trellis first, then train vines to grow up it.  Benefit of this is you get immediate privacy while waiting for the plants.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2019, 06:54:08 PM by GuitarStv »

startingsmall

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2019, 04:37:08 PM »
I'm in a similar situation, though I'm a bit southwest of you in North Carolina. Our neighbors on either side used to be people who took great care of their yards, leading to an almost park-like area between our houses. The house on our left sold to a couple that ripped up the trees in the backyard to make a parking pad for their auto trailer and RV. The house on the right sold to a guy who immediately put up a huge shed right on the property line. They're nice enough people, but it definitely detracted from our yard. Annoying for us, but also a factor when we go to sell in 3-5 years. 

Around here, everyone's solution seems to be Leyland Cypress because they grow quickly.... but they get SO BIG. We had several at our old house and they always made me nervous during storms, ice, etc. I guess it's possible to keep them trimmed, but that sounds like a huge battle.

In the reading I've done over the last couple of weeks, I've seen Arborvitae, Wax Myrtles, and various species of Holly or Viburnum mentioned as more better alternatives. I don't have any personal experience with any of those, though, and I'm not a particularly plant-savvy person. Personally, I'd like something that's bird-friendly and/or native, but I haven't yet decided on the best option.

Hoping you get some good ideas here that I can steal!!

AlanStache

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2019, 05:59:23 PM »
Thanks, FG, I have several Crepe Myrtles in the yard already.  Did not know they came in dwarf options and spending a bit more up front to get a larger tree is an ok option.  (Also being from the west I had been pronouncing it as "Crate Myrtles" :-)  I do like that they are a good place for my birds to hang out in (all wild, I only feed them).  Also that is a good option as I could plant them a bit away from the fence to allow me to maintain the fence; there are about 6 metric tones of vines on the other side of the fence that try to get on my side for the light. 

GS - I had thought about that but a 12' lattice is a bit more of an explicit FU - where I was hopping to be a bit more subtle in my FU.  And somehow I have never liked the look of climbing vines.  To messy?  Maybe I am to anal?

SS - Leyland Cypress is used here too but would be way to big and look very out of place once half mature. 

Frankies Girl

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2019, 06:25:57 PM »
Got a few more ideas, but I'm still suggesting trees because shrubs - while the can be used as screeners/dividers - tend to take up SO MUCH YARD and you also have to shape them or  trim them or you get crazy overgrown shrubbery. I hate that look. I hate spending hours out there basically shaving up things to look nice and neat.

I could suggest you take a look at oleanders... the are lovely when planted in a line and they'd definitely grow at least 12 foot height. But they also can be poisonous to animals or small kids that chew things (not sure how attractive/tasty they are to kids/animals, but still). But I had bad luck with oleanders myself and they're so fussy getting them established they just pissed me off. They are not supposed to be fussy at all, so it likely was me/bad luck/bad time to plant/sick plants.... they supposedly have a "easy/no fuss" reputation. But wouldn't hurt to ask a nursery pro in your area about them. The are DEFINITELY fast growers and tend to stay in their own lane growth wise (they'll get large, but they are not "shrubby" plants - long branches with thin smooth edge leaves up the lengths very upright habit).

So wanted to suggest also checking out dogwoods or redbud trees. They tend to not get HUGE (at least the cultivars I remember when I lived in that planting zone) but can get to around 20-30 foot so still respectable tree size.

We had a row of dogwoods in my front yard growing up that never topped over 20 foot and didn't spread hardly at all, but that may have been more from being neglected than their cultivar. (my father was NOT good about maintaining things). It looks like they don't do well in full sun, so likely that was part of the problem with ours, and based off your photos, likely not a great candidate for the area you'd want to use.

I remember redbuds being lovely with large heart-shaped leaves and the buds are so pretty, but the eastern redbud (my fave) might be too large for what you'd like tho. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/trees/redbud/caring-for-redbud-trees.htm

So maybe ask about ( talk to someone in a real tree nursery in your area to see better suggestions?):

DWARF VARIETY:
Cercis Canadensis 'JN2'
Rising Sun Redbud
Mature Height:   8-12 ft.
Mature Width:  6-8 ft.
Sunlight: Full Sun
Growth Rate: Moderate

REGULAR CULTIVAR:
Cercis canadensis
Eastern Redbud (this is what I grew up with)
Mature Height: 20-30 ft.
Mature Width: 10-15 ft.
Sunlight: Full-Partial
Growth Rate: Moderate



Bird-friendly maybe a Yaupon Holly? Hardy to zone 9, bonus is that it's an evergreen so no bare branches - leaves all year! It tends to need a little light pruning sometimes, berries are pretty and attract birds (and deer if you have that issue but with those fences, likely not). Large cultivars can get upwards of 30 foot tall. Dwarf variety as small as 3-4 foot (so would want to make sure you're getting a larger but not too large one !) I have had one called Pride of Houston - lovely but was used as a feature in a flower bed so can't totally confirm the screening capabilities but it grew FAST. I think planting 2-3 of this size a few feet apart would be a lovely screen if you didn't want a tree planting in the area.
https://www.thespruce.com/yaupon-holly-growing-profile-3269333
« Last Edit: July 01, 2019, 02:29:59 PM by Frankies Girl »

AlanStache

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2019, 11:49:37 AM »
FG - thanks much again!  Trees had not really been in my mind for there but might be the best option.

Yeah I think I would prefer trees over bushes.  The pics might not show it but yard is not that wide and I would rather not take up space with a buses.   And as you said trees tend to have lower time maintenance costs. 

Dogwoods do look nice too. 

There is a 'real' nursery not to far, I will have to study up a bit then go talk to people who should know about plants. 

GizmoTX

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2019, 02:19:43 PM »
We're planning to plant clumping bamboo along a side fence for privacy. They get tall quickly. Putting them in a planter should help with any tendency for spreading.

Please don't plant oleander, sago palm, or any other plants that are lethal to dogs. Future buyers will just have to rip them out but they may not know they're poisonous until it's too late. I've heard too many horror stories, including the brother of our pup.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2019, 02:28:03 PM »
We're planning to plant clumping bamboo along a side fence for privacy. They get tall quickly. Putting them in a planter should help with any tendency for spreading.

Please don't plant oleander, sago palm, or any other plants that are lethal to dogs. Future buyers will just have to rip them out but they may not know they're poisonous until it's too late. I've heard too many horror stories, including the brother of our pup.

I'd mentioned oleander as a maybe and did say it was poisonous, but yes, definitely no Sago palms at all. Those are highly toxic they're also annoying as fuck if you like gardening and get in the beds to plant things - due to their sword like leaves (they HURT if you bump into them). And for some reason all the dogs in my area gravitate to them and try to eat the stupid seeds/pods they drop. I don't have them, but I see people ALL THE TIME on social media offering them for free if someone would come dig them out as they just discovered they were poisonous.

I'd be pissed if I had to take on bamboo. That stuff is as terrible and invasive as kudzu. Don't plant that crap either, please. There are much better options.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2019, 02:31:28 PM by Frankies Girl »

spartana

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2019, 01:20:22 PM »
Both I and my former neighbor planted Italian Cypress trees in a row along our shared block wall fence line. They grew fast, needed little if any watering or care, and while not bushy did provide a lot of shade and privacy. This was in SoCal. In the long run they proved important because after I sold my house it was razed and currently a very large 4000 plus sf 2 story house and tall 800 st ADU are being built within 5 feet of the fence. Plus the 35 foot high big house has some kind of 10 foot tall tower (sunroom? Sky light? Bell tower? Gun turret?) being built on top the roof. The cypress trees, now very tall, block some of that house's view to my neighbors house.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2019, 01:22:24 PM by spartana »

Dicey

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2019, 07:35:55 PM »
Not sure how toxic Oleanders are. DH had a massive wall of them along his back fence. He also had two dogs and they never showed any interest in it.

I'm with FG and everyone else who gives bamboo a hard thumbs dowm.

How long do you plan to be in the house?

Another idea is to set a few tall posts close to the fence line. String a row or three of steel cable through the top of each post, starting about 6"-12" above the top of your fence (pre-drill the holes before setting the posts). Then grab a bunch of vines from his side and twine them over the steel cables. With time, train them up and over your cables, then back over to his side. Then you get a stripe of green vegetation that shields your view, but is not actually in your yard.

This one is especially diabolical and I'm pleased I thought of it. If you're not seeing my word picture, ping me and I'll draw it out for you.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2019, 01:19:59 AM by Dicey »

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2019, 08:57:49 PM »
Crepe Myrtles.

Read my mind.  Plus you gave all the necessary info. 

Plus the blossoms smell amazing.

Dicey

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2019, 12:19:12 AM »

(Also being from the west I had been pronouncing it as "Crate Myrtles" :-) 

I'm West Coast born and raised and I've never heard of "Crate" Myrtles. I was also shocked to be told a couple of years ago that the correct spelling is "Crape", not "Crepe"". I always thought of it like crepe paper, until I was stridently told I was wrong. Huh. A little google-fu reveals that both spellings are correct, but the "a" version is more common in the south. Whatever. I like them.

dragoncar

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2019, 12:41:31 AM »
We're planning to plant clumping bamboo along a side fence for privacy. They get tall quickly. Putting them in a planter should help with any tendency for spreading.

Please don't plant oleander, sago palm, or any other plants that are lethal to dogs. Future buyers will just have to rip them out but they may not know they're poisonous until it's too late. I've heard too many horror stories, including the brother of our pup.

Yeah my dog doesn't eat the oleander.  Neither do the deer.  SMRT. 

Vegetation really depends on your exact location.  I'd drive around the neighborhood and plant whatever looks like it's doing really well in your climate/soil.

For me, though, oleander is a bad-ass hedge.  In my location it gets big.  If you prevent it from getting wide, it goes tall (20+ ft).  Flowers are beautiful.

But yeah, it's no fun to trim unless you are wearing protection.

dragoncar

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2019, 12:43:36 AM »
Crepe Myrtles.

Read my mind.  Plus you gave all the necessary info. 

Plus the blossoms smell amazing.

Yo, these are deciduous round my parts.  I guess in the south things don't shed their leaves?

I do enjoy them during the summer.



How long do you plan to be in the house?


This is an important consideration.  IMO, the best option is to plant in stages/layers.  Get some bamboo or cypress in there to block the view stat.  But also plant some slower-growing evergreens in front.  I personally did this with a neighbor... planted italian cypress to block the view quickly, and some incense cedar (very slow growing) to fill in the gaps over the next few decades.  But it didn't turn out well for me since the cypress aren't happy and the deer really enjoyed eating them.  The cedar are doing really great but need another 10 years before they block the view.  I've also got a bunch of lanky pines that will need to come down in the next decade, so I was hoping to get something else established as undergrowth before I handled that.  But in the end, I probably won't get to enjoy the cedars because we are likely to move.

I've got neighbors up the wazoo (7 technically adjoining a property line), but a combination of redwoods, oleander, and deciduous trees (apple, plum, cherry, mimosa, oak) make them invisible unless they light up a cigar or break out the boom box.  The pines are f*ing useless except to give the squirrels something to throw at me

This be california, so I'm sure you've got even better options for ridiculous shrubbery
« Last Edit: July 06, 2019, 12:52:07 AM by dragoncar »

Trifele

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2019, 05:15:07 AM »
OP I am just a little south of you in NC, zone 7a.  If I needed a privacy hedge and Leland Cypress was out of the question, I would go with holly.  It's beautiful, evergreen, and easy care.   

There are loads of different species of holly -- some more tree-like, some more bush like.  It's mostly dioecious (separate males and females) so if you want berries for the birds and squirrels you can get both males and females, and if you don't want any berries you can get just males. 

I had a row of 'China Boy' male hollies that were super beautiful.  They got to about 8 feet tall, were very lush and maintenance free.  If that's not tall enough for you, your nursery can probably suggest another variety.  I have several other hollies (m + f) that are closer to 20' tall.  Not sure what variety they are, but we get a big crop of berries every year.  The birds and squirrels love them.

https://www.thespruce.com/eighteen-species-holly-trees-and-shrubs-3269647


big_owl

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2019, 06:36:58 AM »
Please don't get crape myrtle. They're non-native and provide little value for wildlife. Plus they'd be a pretty poor screen in the winter and with only 6hrs sunlight you won't get a ton of blooms anyway. I agree that hollies are the logical choice. You can get different cultivars that grow at different rates to different heights and like said you can get male/female plants.  The berries provide a ton of value to wildlife and also during the winter the evergreen habit provides shelter.  Plus they'll act as a screen all year long and grow very well in sun or shade.   Hollies should do great in SE VA. 

AlanStache

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2019, 09:52:28 AM »
This weekend got busy and I will be on travel all the coming week so I did not want to plat anything that might need to get watered during the week. 

I dont know how long I will be in the house.  It is not my forever home, but the alternatives are not necessarily worth the expense of moving/buying/selling.  Am pushing 40 and dont know what I want to do in my life... :-)  I dont think I want to do a multi staged approach as I cant commit to being here and I think it might take to much space away from the fence.  But I am trying to act like I will be in the home for many years rather than wake up in 5 years and wish I had done something 'way back when'.

Not sure I have mentioned this but on the neighbors side they have climbing ivy that comes onto my side and pokes through the fence.  The care taker mows it a few times a year and what gets through the fence I spray RoundUp on.  If I were to plant Holly (or any other bush) along the fence how might I prevent the ivy from taking over?  I think bushes overrun with vines looks bad. 

spartana

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2019, 08:14:36 PM »
Throw some tall lattice-trellises on your side of the fence and twine some of his ivy on to them. The trellis will block a lot of the view even by themselves. ETA you can find the white or brown vinyl trellises on Craigslist pretty cheap (even free - I got a bunch of 4 x 8 ones free) and frame them with wood and attach them to your fence. Or cut the to a desired height..lots of times and ideas on google. Plus no maintenance or watering. If you want ants on your side you can.use some in pots and build an espillader (sp?) on the trellises. Cheap and easy
« Last Edit: July 07, 2019, 08:46:42 PM by spartana »

coffeefueled

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2019, 09:45:04 AM »
I wouldn't do bamboo. It spreads really badly and can cost a lot to rip up if it gets into neighboring yards (since you have to get the entire root system).

I agree with others that a trellis with ivy is your easiest solution. You could plant a different evergreen vine if you don't like ivy, like honeysuckle, some types of clematis, or winter jasmine.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Privacy bushes?
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2019, 12:29:38 PM »
Arbor Vitae for the win! Evergreen, so year-round green wall.

We used to have large pine trees in the back and I could not even see the neighbors house. Then some disease caused the neighbor to cut down the pines. I was so unhappy, but he planted arborvitae and we again have a green privacy screen. The trees after about 3-4 years are almost 20 feet tall. He did plant 6-8 foot arborvitae, so if you plant smaller, it may take time to grow to full size.

There is a 2 story house behind those arborvitaes. The roofline should be similar to the roof line you see of his neighbor on the right.

« Last Edit: July 08, 2019, 12:34:37 PM by CowboyAndIndian »