We would rather not see your potty please
March 17, 2012 5:20 AM   Subscribe

Help me hide me neighbors toilet... and all the other trash the have on the side of their house. Looking for creative hedge ideas. We would like to plant a privacy hedge so we don't have to look out our windows and see our neighbor's junk. Our houses sit about 15ft apart on one side. It is only the front side yard we need to worry about as the back yard has a nice tall 8ft fence. Wish list inside.

We would like something that will not spill over on their property and make any work or issues for them. Upright growth preferred so as not to lose too much space. Minimal, if any, pruning preferred. I plan to plant some fragrant bushes next to our house, so I need a bit of room for gardening. Evergreen would be nice. They tend to have visitors at all hours, so a little sound absorption would be nice too. The plan is to plant along the stretch from the back fence down to the street (roughly 6 car lengths). The hedge would run along their driveway on our side of the property. Something tall, but not so tall it overtakes the house (single story home), so maybe 8-9ft at maturity.

I have been looking at evergreens online, but I'm a novice. The front yard faces north west and we are in growing zone 7.
posted by MayNicholas to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So much of it is going to depend on your climate. Your best bet is to go to a local plant nursery or lanscaper for the best suggestions.
posted by dawkins_7 at 5:28 AM on March 17, 2012

What about varigated Japanese laurel? Gets about 8' high or so. Does need some pruning, but pretty much everything does.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:41 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Where I live everyone uses arborvitae for that kind of hedge -- evergreen, comparatively narrow, drought tolerant, and fast-growing. But without knowing where you are, that's pretty much totally useless; I would echo the advice above to visit a couple of good nurseries and ask them what has high success rates. The bigger the plants you buy, the more it will cost, of course, but the smaller it is, the longer you will have to wait until it is providing some privacy screening. Check out the prices/sizes here, for an example of the budget calculation you will be facing.
posted by Forktine at 5:56 AM on March 17, 2012

Rose of Sharon sounds just about right depending on where you live.
posted by headnsouth at 6:08 AM on March 17, 2012

Arbor vitae, junipers, euonymus or holly will do the evergreen hiding task nicely. You will want to talk to the guys at your local nursery to get the varieties that will grow nicely upright. They may take some time to grow enough to block the neighbors - as mentioned by Forktine, time to full coverage and price are linked variables.

Have you also considered continuing the fence that is in back?

Good luck. I'm going to be doing something similar this year for my parents whose neighbor just built a new garage near the property line.
posted by sciencegeek at 7:24 AM on March 17, 2012

Depending on where you are, you could consider bamboo. Fargesia rufa, for example, grows to about 7ft and is relatively cold resistant. Fargesia robusta can grow to 9-12ft. You'll get lots of upright growth and ease of management and it won't spill.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:04 AM on March 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Thank you all for the suggestions! We did consider a fence but that seems too rude. Plus hopefully the landscaping would eventually help with property value- not that we are going anywhere in the next 10 years...
posted by MayNicholas at 10:16 AM on March 17, 2012

Don't necessarily disagree with bamboo, but sweet Jesus keep it under control or one day you won't be able to walk out your back door. At least in the south, it thrives and spreads, and it sends runners out several feet from where it stands and more shoots up. And then it rinses, lathers, repeats.

There may be varieties like the ones Muffin Man mentioned that may be more managable than others.

If you live in a city, have you talked to your municipal authorities about your neighbors trashy lot? Sounds like a health risk.
posted by randomkeystrike at 11:53 AM on March 17, 2012

A lot of people plant bamboo out in pots, as you do for, say, mint.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:04 PM on March 17, 2012

Check with your local building code for setback restrictions: for example, in my town, bushes in the front yard alongside property lines are required to be kept trimmed to a height not exceeding 30" (so it doesn't block the view of someone trying to back a car out of the driveway). If you've got those kind of codes in your city, you'll definitely want to plant something that either doesn't naturally exceed that height or doesn't mind being pruned. As someone who has a yard with an excessive number of boundary hedges to maintain, I vote for the option that doesn't have you out there every month giving your yard a shave.

On the bamboo: there's two kinds of bamboo: clumping and running. The growth of the clumping type are relatively easy to contain as they do not send out aggressive runners. The two species MuffinMan mentioned are clumping types (and the F. rufa is the favored food of Giant Pandas, you know, in case one drops by). The downside of clumping bamboo is they grow out in circle-shaped clumps rather than in a line so you'll want to plant several clumps along your property line to gain enough coverage to hide your neighbor's stuff + clean up of dead leaf material under mature clumps can be a PITA unless you use a blower as the stems grow in too tightly packed to get a rake through them.
posted by jamaro at 2:18 PM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

"We would like something that will not spill over on their property and make any work or issues for them"

This statement eliminates un-contained bamboo. Even the clumping kind spreads. That said, it's a great solution. We planted euonymus and bamboo (in planters) 5 years ago. The euonymus is about 5 feet tall now, filling in nicely. The bamboo is 15 feet tall, but not as thick.
posted by MrMoonPie at 3:27 PM on March 17, 2012

Help me hide me neighbors toilet...

The easiest solution is of course to stand a life-size cardboard cutout of Newt Gingrich in front of your window, facing directly into their bathroom.
posted by eddydamascene at 4:38 PM on March 17, 2012

Leyland Cypress

Grow fast and thick. Not too high.
posted by humboldt32 at 5:47 PM on March 17, 2012

The neighbours we're attached to recently had a small apartment building go up on their other side. As we're all affected, the developer met with us to work out a number of compromises. Since the balconies in the back overlook our yard as well, we were in agreement with our neighbours that Living Willow Fencing was the best idea for privacy, greening and aesthetics. It went in last summer, and we expect that this year it will really take off. The only problem is that until it's grown quite dense enough to block the view year-round, it's bare in winter. A woven lattice fence would be beautiful between two houses.

I have willow in our back yard that grew from pussy willow branches that sprouted in a vase one easter about six years ago. I need to cut it back quite a bit this year, but I might take some of it and root it, then do something sculptural with it.
posted by peagood at 7:50 PM on March 17, 2012

Arbor vitae is pretty standard, as they have good noise dampening quality and are a definate visual barrier.. Grows fast, looks good if left natural, but can stand haircuts, and can be planted close together for a quick hedge. You can later thin every other one out. They're rather unimaginative, but cheap, and they're evergreens.

You're worried about being rude with a nice fence?!!?? I would say anyone that leaves junk (and a toilet!) out for the world to see is not just rude, but a slob. Put up a nice fence and nuts to the neighbors.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:47 PM on March 17, 2012

Our neighbors are pretty trashy unfortunately. The living fence is pretty cool but looks like way more challenging than we are up for. Definitely no bamboo. I love the look but know how out of control it can get. Plus it could lose it's leaves in the winter. Anyone ever grown camellias? I saw a photo and love the flowers! The cypres is a good option. We may visit a nursery today and see what they say.
I know it is silly that we don't want to seem rude but no one in this neighborhood has fences in the front yard. It would be a pretty blatant 'we don't want to see you' move. At least planting something there seems less offensive in my mind since we are planting some trees in the front yard as well. But maybe that's just me.
posted by MayNicholas at 7:49 AM on March 18, 2012

We did consider a fence but that seems too rude.

Ruder than having toilets and other random crap in your yard?
posted by ian1977 at 1:22 PM on March 18, 2012

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