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        I am thinking of installing a natural fence border with a white vinyl fence border. My idea is to install an eight foot section of vinyl fencing, leaving a 5-6foot gap and installing the next fence section. In between the two sections I'm thinking of planting a natural border, forsynthias, arborvitae a, etc.... Price wise the plants and the fencing are about the same. I'm just wondering if it would look weird or unbalanced? The backyard would allow for four fence sections with four spaces to be filled with a natural border. Any ideas? Would it look good or would it look to busy?
        Posts: 31 | Registered: Jan 31, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        Travis, perhaps a first question to ask yourself is what is your goal: is it landscaping enhancement, partial blocking of neighbor's yards, or something else?

        If you install on a border, i.e., a property line, you should check with your local community to determine what regulations it might have. E.g., in my community, fences on property lines can't be installed without the prior written approval of the adjoining property owner. If that owner refuses to sign, he/she can be liable for 1/2 of the cost of the fence.

        I'm not sure what position a local code enforcement or building inspection department might take on a fence alternating with landscaping - may not be an issue but perhaps it might.

        Forsythias will of course require pruning to avoid exceeding a 5 - 6 foot gap. Pyramidal arborvitae will grow taller, eventually reaching significant heights (mine are about 15' tall now), and this might create an aesthetic imbalance over the years, or it may actually look quite nice - hard to tell except by mentally envisioning the arrangement.

        Do you plan to landscape in front of the vinyl fence sections, and if so, wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the fence?

        I think if you do create this alternating scheme, you might want to include plants that will compliment but not obscure or overshadow the adjoining fence sections.

        This might include plants that are more or less linear rather than ones which grow in multiple directions, such as forsythia. Shrubbery would likely do so, unless you prune regularly.

        It sounds as if you don't plan to include flowers or perennials but something relatively tall and flowering such as foxglove or hollyhocks might compliment the vinyl as they probably won't grow over 5 - 6 feet, depending on your soil.

        Alternately, if you want less of a cottage garden scheme, you could use some of the many hybrid sunflowers, which now are available in quite a range of colors beyond the standard golds.
        Posts: 1725 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Thank you. I never thought of possibly running a small garden in front of the fence that is a great idea. It would definitely pull the whole together and not look as segregated. The purpose of the border is privacy. We can't go into the backyard without literally the entire neighborhood kids coming over. We simply want to be able to enjoy our backyard with our girls and not having to have ten other kids in the back all the time.
        We have a breeze off the water in the summer time so the gaps in the fence would allow the wind to blow in that's why we thought of them. Willing to maintain the plants. Ideas on different colored butterfly bushes? They grow quickly. And are easily pruned. Arborvitaes seem to take to long. Perhaps some of that tall grass. I've seen that in the eight foot height and it grows thick.
        Posts: 31 | Registered: Jan 31, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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        I surrounded a pool with a horizontal slatted wood fence by staggering each section about 2 feet back from the front section, it also overlapped the front section on each end by about a foot and a half.The fences purpose was for privicy rather than security as the entire yard was surrounded by a chain link fence per code. In between the spaces created by staggering the sections, I planted various flowering bushs. Looked pretty good and kept the neighbors from peeking when we skinny dipped

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: nona,
        Posts: 2499 | Location: florida | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
        posted Hide Post
        Travis, I fully understand your desire for privacy. Sounds like your fence will be a "good neighbor" fence. (I have a similar problem with neighbors, but it's with the unsupervised children and unwanted garbage!)

        I assume when you refer to water that you mean an inland lake, not the ocean. If the latter, what could grow successfully would not necessarily be the same as plants which can tolerate an inland lake wind.

        I think ornamental grasses would look spectacular in the areas affected by the summer winds. You'll have a "dancing" wall of grass. Imagine how lovely and entertaining it will be.

        There's an excellent article on the various types of grasses, growing zones for each, height, flowering time, etc., in an Herb Quarterly issue from 2011, but unfortunately their articles aren't indexed for the more recent issues. I did some searching but couldn't find that specific article.

        I did find some articles on ornamental grass here:

        Fine Gardening is a very good magazine for design ideas and articles on specific plants for gardens. Garden catalogues are also good for identifying which grasses grow best in specific zones.

        Thompson & Morgan, one of the best sources of seeds, does have some seeds for ornamental grasses, but they're not always just for one specific variety but rather for a mixture, which might actually work just as well for you. And they're quite reasonably priced.

        Some of the smaller grasses could actually be planted in front of the fence sections.

        I don't really have any color suggestions for butterfly bushes (buddleia) - I think that would depend on what colors you like. I'm partial to pastels (lilac, pink, ivory, etc.) but some folks like bright colors like red and gold.

        There's a nice selection of butterfly bushes here, so you can get an idea of the color range. You could also anchor each open section with a different colored bush, surrounded by plants of complimentary colors.

        Given that buddleia attract butterflies, a project for you and your daughters might be to design a butterfly garden, centered around the buddleia and including other plants the butterflies like. That's one way that gardeners bring their children into the planting and designing process.

        If you want to be playful and a good neighbor as well, you could even plant something like raspberry bushes on the neighbors' sides to give them a nice treat. The t***** canes will prevent any enthusiastic intruders but also give the family some fresh fruit. Your neighbors may end up loving you! If you haven't had freshly picked organic raspberries, you're in for a treat.

        Another playful possibility is elephant ears (colocasia). They're mammoth and only a few would easily fill up the open spaces between the fencing. (retail prices for VanBourgondien) (wholesale prices and a much better buy)

        Fine Gardening publishes special issues in the spring on container gardening, outdoor design, etc. You could get some ideas from there, but be prepared to swoon. Their outdoor rooms are any gardeners' fantasy and delight.

        Beds and Borders:

        Outdoor Ideas:

        I'm sure there is a Design issue as well; perhaps it's not yet available.

        Hope this helps. Your project is exciting; I'm wishing it were springtime after looking up these references for you!

        Nona, YOU skinny dip in your pool? I never would have suspected it of you. I'm shocked! (And by the way, it's much more fun at night when the water is cooler!)
        Posts: 1725 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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        It is the ocean. Don't know if this changes anything. I like the idea of the grasses as well. I have looked up on line and have found many different tall full screening grasses. I think those with some accent colors in a bed in front of the fence would look Devine. Plus the grasses come back every year . And my oldest loves digging and looking for worms. When the neighborhood boys come in unwanted I have lily chase them with the worms. It's great. I might alternate between butterfly bushes where we need the extra screening. And the grass where it's not as crucial. Or perhaps forsythias...
        We are far enough from the water that we don't have to worry about salt. Just ope the grass and other plants will take. Thanks again, if we go ahead with this project ill be sure to post some pics.
        Posts: 31 | Registered: Jan 31, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of GardenSprite
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        Travis, it's my understanding that some plants aren't able to tolerate salt water. That was my concern about the ocean, but if you're not that close, it might not be an issue. I really don't have any experience in oceanside gardening, but you could probably check with a local agricultural extension service to determine if any proposed plants aren't salt-water tolerant.

        Do you drink coffee? If so, have Lily scatter the grounds where she would like to dig for worms, which apparently enjoy the coffee grounds and "recycle" them. This is also a method for allowing the worms to help enrich and soil and "aerate" it.

        If you're in a climate that gets fierce winters (as we do in Michigan), you can mulch your plants heavily the first few winters to protect them. Or you can create a burlap screen which also protects them.

        Sounds like you have a great plan. I'll be anxious to see your photos as you create your beds.

        And I'm chuckling at seeing boys run away from a girl frightening them with worms!
        Posts: 1725 | Registered: Oct 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post

        Ive a idea for you. Why not a country style fence?

        Look: My country style fence

        My dream, my garden !
        Posts: 5 | Registered: Jan 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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