I love my house, but hate my backyard. Our yard is fairly small. Our house sits at the bottom of a hill, so the yard slopes upward as it goes away from the house. On top of that, the house directly behind us is a giant two story. These are great people, but many dogs and kids, and their deck looks right down on us. I'd like to use my patio more, but I legitimately need some privacy. Any ideas for trees? Arborvitae could make a nice screen, but there's no way they'd be tall enough. Pine trees are too large at the base to work for the small yard, so I've already accepted that I'd only have coverage/privacy in the summer. I'm okay with that. The coverage in the summer could block some sun to keep the house cool and let sun in to help warm the home in winter. Anyone have a similar situation or any ideas for some trees?
How about some alternate considerations to give you some privacy quicker?
From the description of your yard, it sounds as though it might be problematic to find trees with large enough canopies to create privacy yet not be too large for the yard. I would have suggested pines but apparently they're not suitable. Arborvitae are very, very slow growers, so it would be years before you had any shade, but they certainly wouldn't provide privacy from a 2 story house.
And the problem with trees is that unless you spend a lot and purchase a tree with a large canopy, you won't have any privacy protection or shade for years.
But a pergola or trellises could give you privacy much quicker than trees. If you grew a perennial flowering vine such as one of the clematis varieties, or even climbing roses, you'd have some coverage this year. Alternately, you could plant annual vines to get shade and coverage this year, and plant perennial vines such as roses or clematis this fall. The roses could also be good neighbor coverage; your neighbors would probably enjoy seeing the beauty of the climbers (I don't know anyone who doesn't like roses!).
Grapes and ivy would also provide thick coverage. And they'll create some measure of shade, especially the ivy as it's a thick grower.
Another to consider is the silver lace vine (polygonum aubertii) which is beautiful, but can be aggressive and spread. However if you keep it clipped back and plant it in container pots you can control it better.
Here's a link to some pergolas:
This one might be appropriate as it's almost a closed pergola, so you'd have coverage on all 4 sides of it.
http://www.finehomebuilding.co.../11896/cedar-pergolaThis message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
Privacy trees are mostly dense, moderately tall, and fast growing. They provide shades that prevent neighbors from viewing the yard, block an unsightly view, and assist in noise reduction.
Arborvitae are fairly fast growing, but given your snow country location I'd avoid them unless you want to wrap them in burlap every fall to prevent the snow from breaking them. Around here a lot of people use Leyland Cypress, but they have the same issues as Arborvitae.
I did a search "screening plants in snow country" and this is one of the first things that came up. Try searching with that term and see what you come up with. Try a garden center for local recommendations. And by garden center I don't mean the outdoor section of big blue or big orange or whatever color Meynards uses.
Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.
My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Hollies are absolutely beautiful plants with attractive glossy leaves and berries, with the added bonus that they make great wintertime wreaths.
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