Need advice for inexpensive solution for front yard privacy

teapot7January 22, 2014

Hi All,

Our house is sitting towards the back of the lot, so backyard space is very limited. We want to use our front yard but as you can see from the picture, it has chain link fence and it is not very private. The width of the lot is about 50 feet.

We are thinking of putting privet along the side walk and maybe swap the chain link gate to something more private. Any ideas or suggestions? We are working on a small budget but would still want to make it look good enough for the neighborhood.


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My yard was similar but a bit larger. We replaced chain link with picket fence. Added mixed planting bed along fence, and island beds in lawn area. A solid wall along the front was not desired, just several layers of plantings of different heights which filter the view without blocking it completely. I enjoy the people walking by who comment on the garden. Our 'private' area is a patio on the side yard.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 1:06PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

most local building codes don't permit a front yard fence or hedge taller than 3'-6". I know in L.A, this is not enforced unless someone complains but it definately pays to be aware of it.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 3:29PM
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Nice front yard!

Our city require

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 12:23AM
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Thanks, I think if I had teapots house I would lose the gates entirely and add a 3-4 foot wide planting area along both sides of the driveway, and along the front fence. The remaining fence can be vine covered with something like a bignonia. If a small tree is planted at each side of the front to the driveway it will give some privacy.
Another option is to put a wood fence with gate across the middle of the driveway - and park just past the sidewalk. The back portion of the driveway could then become a private patio area

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 1:49PM
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Thank you for the suggestions!

Both are great options that would make my front yard look way better. However, either can provide the privacy that I am looking for. Wooden fence will be limited to 42 inches in height. This is the reason why I am keeping the chain link and hope that a row of privet will cover the chain link and maybe only change out the gate.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 11:22AM
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This post was edited by teapot7 on Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 12:07

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:06PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

If you can grow a Mexican Fan Palm, you can grow Citrus. Citrus can be hedged. It doesn't go dormant, and you can have a lot of nice fruit.

I pass a home daily with hedged citrus. It looks beautiful. Citrus trees can be purchased at the big box stores for not too much money. They do go on sale.

I don't think we care so much about privacy here, but I'm putting in a couple trees just to hide the neighbor's junk truck from my kitchen window. It has flat tires and is full of boxes... Very junky looking.

Our fence and gate is wrought iron. We are alternating dwarf citrus with roses, but we have about 200' of frontage, so it's a lot! These days, a gate is an important part of protection from random crime. A redwood gate might give you the privacy you want plus protection.

Good luck to you!


    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:31PM
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molewacker z9b Napa CA (No.SFBay)(9b Danville E(SF)Bay CA)

I have removed many redwoods (after they caused major $ damage) and replaced them with Citrus and Red Tipped Photinias. RTP's grow very quickly and will get to over 18 feet tall if you let them. They would give you easy to maintain privacy. On the other hand, Citrus is much more fun. [BTW: some of the best deals on Citrus can be found at Costco in the coming months...]
Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 9:53PM
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Thanks Guys!

One thing about citrus hedge is that I think it will be better as a hedge for the backyard. I always think evergreen would look more uniform and hence better for the front yard. Am I wrong?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 1:58AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Citrus is evergreen with the added benefit of fruit! Just so you know. Good luck to you!


    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 9:23AM
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farmerkevin(USDA 9)


Some grow 4"-6"+

I'm planting blueberries against a shed that can be seen from the street behind me. Just to help it blend in the landscape. They are only a year old or so and are kind of dense. They are already about 3' tall. I can't wait for them to be full grown.

It won't be perfect privacy, but filtered privacy.

Or you can plant Italian cypresses :D plant them 18" apart for a 60' tall solid wall ;)

Or blackberries. Thorny for protection and edible.

Pineapple or lime guava are edible and bushy type plants.

You can plant a passion fruit vine. They are incredibly prolific and grow pretty solid. They won't grow much taller then the fence though.

Maybe some prickly pear cactus. Those get tall.

For my front yard, I'm doing roses. I have a small unusable piece of property between my house and street. I planted roses out by the street and I'll let them grow wild. I have one yellow rose at the back of my house that is almost 8' tall and bushy. It's solid.

Pic is of the young roses. They are maybe 1-1.5 years old planted from 1 gallon containers. I planted them because there were jade trees there and looked odd. I had a fern volunteer that started taking over the jades. So out they came. It's slow growing but eventually the roses will grow in and provide privacy.

Sorry I can't be much more help. I removed all my non edibles in favor of only edibles. So I don't know much about other kinda of plants.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 3:40AM
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